Another multi-match week in MLS and it delivered the most stunning result of the season thus far. The 1-0 loss by LAFC on the road to then-winless Vancouver Whitecaps was the talk of the American soccer world, well, at least for a day.
The biggest news came out the following day, when MLS announced plans to expand to 30 teams over the next few years. The MLS Board of Governors meetings were in Los Angeles, and the owners decided to move forward with the expansion to 30 teams. The previous plan was to stop at 28, decided in December of 2015. This news is major for markets hoping to gain entry into the top league in the United States, especially St. Louis and Sacramento.
With MLS set to be at 27 teams by the end of 2021, Sacramento and St. Louis would seem to be favorites to be awarded an expansion bid. That would leave one spot left, with a few markets looking to make it.
Touching back on the previously unbeaten LAFC, Bob Bradley decided on some squad rotation, and it did not pay off. Even though the Whitecaps were winless on the season, they came into this match with only one of their four losses by more than one goal. The Whitecaps have been in every match this season and finally took advantage, snagging the three points. Both clubs were back in action on the weekend and the results were much different.
Vancouver fell 1-0 on the road to Orlando City, while LAFC throttled the Seattle Sounders 4-1, in a matchup of the two top teams in the Western Conference. Carlos Vela was not ready to relinquish his firm grip on the MVP race after his performance the match before. Vela and Mark-Anthony Kaye were major factors in the demolition of the Sounders. Vela scored a brace, bringing his season total to 10, while Kaye assisted on three goals.
The most entertaining match of the week took place north of the border. Toronto FC and Minnesota United took part in a seven-goal thriller, with stars Alejandro Pozuelo and Darwin Quintero taking center stage. Those two combined for four of the seven total goals. The match was back and forth all night, where there were four lead changes, but it was a homegrown forward for Toronto FC, Jordan Hamilton, that wore the hero’s cape on the night. After coming on in the 73rd minute, Hamilton did some serious damage in a matter of six minutes, scoring two goals in a two-minute span.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored once again to bring his season total to seven, passing Diego Rossi for second in the league. Ibrahimovic said he was out to break the goal scoring record this season, but Vela will have a lot to say about that before the season is over with.
The stunning results were plenty this weekend, with Portland and New York City FC capturing their first wins on the season, knocking off two of the top teams in the East, Columbus and DC United respectively. The San Jose Quakes took Sporting Kansas City behind the woodshed, sending Sporting back home with a 4-1 loss. The Portland Timbers went on the road and capitalized on its chances, escaping Columbus with a 3-1 win and a valuable three points. The win could be just what Portland needed, removing the pressure for the MLS Cup runners-up to get their first win.
DC United remained at the top of the Eastern Conference, despite losing at home to a previously winless NYCFC. Scoring has been a major problem for the conference leaders recently. Aside from a three-goal outburst last week in Colorado, DC United failed to score a goal in three of its last four matches. Goals from Alexandru Mitrita and Heber were all that NYCFC needed to secure their first win on the season.
The San Jose Quakes spent the first part of the 2019 season getting trounced every match. It has since turned that around. The Quakes have won two out of their last three matches, by a total combined score of 7-1. As previously mentioned, the Quakes took care of business against Sporting Kansas City. Danny Hoesen got the Quakes going early just six minutes in and added another six minutes later. San Jose didn’t stop after the half, scoring two goals in 15 minutes, destroying any hope of a Sporting comeback. Felipe Gutierrez did get a consolation goal for the visitors, from the penalty spot in the 66th minute.
The Generation Adidas Cup wrapped up this past weekend, and it was the Seattle Sounders U-17 team that captured the championship. The Generation Adidas Cup features some of the top academy sides from all around the world. The top performances can be found here.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire – 7 p.m.
Columbus Crew SC vs. DC United – 7:30 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact – 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota United vs. LA Galaxy – 8 p.m.
Seattle Sounders vs. San Jose Quakes – 10:30 p.m.
New York City FC vs. Orlando City – 1 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers – 3 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. San Jose Quakes – 3:30 p.m.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Philadelphia Union – 5 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Colorado Rapids – 6 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. FC Cincinnati – 7 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew SC – 8:30 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution – 8:30 p.m.
Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire – 12:30 p.m.
Minnesota United vs. DC United – 1:30 p.m. (FS1)
Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles FC – 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake – 8 p.m.
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when it heads east to take on the New York Red Bulls.