By Alex McMahon
As the business end of the season nears, the MLS is as entertaining as ever
The MLS has been thrilling from the opening weekend and gameweek 23 was no different, with a number of high-scoring fixtures and changes at the top of the conferences as teams fight for a playoff spot. In last week’s edition, we discussed Steven Gerrard’s incredible debut for LA Galaxy and considered Sporting Kansas City’s chances of challenging for the MLS Cup. This week, we took a look at Andrea Pirlo’s debut in New York City’s thrilling clash with Orlando City, while we see if Steven Gerrard’s LA Galaxy could continue their excellent league form against the Houston Dynamo. Once again, the MLS provided some classic encounters, controversial moments and fantastic goals!
New York City hit five past Kaka’s Orlando City
Andrea Pirlo made his debut for New York City as the hosts earned a 5-3 victory in an end-to-end game. David Villa, New York City’s talisman for the majority of the season, scored a goal in both halves while Javier Calle, Tommy McNamara and Mix Diskerud also netted for the home side. Italy legend Pirlo was brought on in the 56th minute and helped to control proceedings in a frantic second half that saw seven goals. New York City are improving quickly and, with Frank Lampard due to return from injury in the near future, could end the season on a high. With a couple more signings ahead of next year, New York City could compete for silverware.
Seattle Sounders slip up again as Montreal Impact claim all three points
Seattle suffered their sixth loss in seven MLS games at the hand of Montreal Impact on Saturday. Laurent Ciman netted an 88th minute winner for the Canadian side who move up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference after the victory. Seattle, meanwhile, have dropped down the division and are now fifth and fighting for a playoff spot at the end of the regular campaign. The Sounders will be thankful for the return of Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Marco Pappa in the coming weeks and will remain quietly confident of their chances this season. Seattle are 21/20 to get back to winning ways against Vancouver Whitecaps in their next match.
Gerrard is powerless as Houston Dynamo ease to victory
LA Galaxy slipped to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Houston Dynamo on Saturday. Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane were helpless as the hosts raised their game and cruised to victory. Will Bruin continued his hot streak and opened the scoring after just nine minutes before Brad Davis – who had assisted the opening goal of the game – doubled Houston’s advantage moments after 27 minutes. Despite Galaxy’s best efforts, Dynamo were in full control of the match and took the sting out of the game before Leonel Miranda secured all three points for the hosts with a curling effort that nestled into the top corner of the goal. Galaxy’s defeat handed the initiative to FC Dallas at the top of the Western Conference but Gerrard’s side will be confident of going far in the postseason.
DC United come from two goals down to earn a crucial win
The Washington side, who had lost their previous three MLS matches, came from 2-0 down to earn a thrilling 3-2 victory and maintain their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference. DC United were behind after just 21 seconds as C.J. Sapong took advantage of some shoddy defending to give the visitors a shock lead. Three minutes later, Philadelphia were two up and in dreamland as Sebastian Le Toux’s long pass evaded everybody and nestled into the corner of the goal. DC United missed a penalty midway through the first half before Alvaro Saborio reduced the deficit. In the second half, United were much improved and goals from Nick DeLeon and Fabian Espindola – who missed the earlier penalty – secured the victory. The win sent out a huge statement to the rest of the MLS and DC United will be full of confidence heading into the business end of the season.
Do you think DC United can lift the MLS Cup this season? Can Andrea Pirlo inspire New York City to end the season on a high? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!