It was another week in the books in Major League Soccer and another goal for Brian Fernandez. Fernandez set an MLS record with his goal, as it marked the fifth consecutive league match that he has scored in. Since his arrival, Fernandez has been on a terror, seemingly scoring at will and helping the Portland Timbers gather valuable points. As you know, Portland started off its season on the road for a stretch of 12 matches due to the renovation of Providence Park. The run of home matches, coupled with the arrival of Fernandez, has seen Portland rise up the standings in the Western Conference. The Timbers sit in the ninth spot, just four points out of a playoff spot.
Had Fernandez arrived sooner, you would have to think his play would have earned him a spot on the MLS All-Star team to face La Liga’s Atletico Madrid. The All-Star roster was revealed with the usual suspects being selected. The match will take place at 8 p.m. on July 31 on FS1.
Roster: █████ 100%
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 24, 2019
The slate in week 17 was heavy with midweek matches, with six taking place. The craziest of those matches took place north of the border in Toronto. Toronto FC withstood a crazy ending to knock off Atlanta United, 3-2, in one of the wildest endings you will see. The Five Stripes overcame a first minute goal by Toronto to storm back and take the lead through Pity Martinez and Julian Gressel. The first 30 minutes of the match were back and forth and saw the teams deadlocked at 2-2. That was until second-half stoppage time when Alejandro Pozuelo buried a penalty kick in the 94th minute. The craziness ensued after that when VAR determined Nick DeLeon handled the ball in the box. With the game on the line, Martinez stepped up to the penalty spot and promptly launched the ball over the bar, ending the match in defeat for Atlanta United.
Hell is most certainly real in the state of Ohio. As has been the case many weeks, both the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati suffered defeat, being outscored by a combined 9-1, with most of those goals coming from the 7-1 massacre in FC Cincinnati’s loss at Minnesota United. As it stands right now, both Ohio clubs hold the bottom spots in the standings.
There were two surprising results during the week. The first one saw the hot Colorado Rapids knock off the best team in the league, Los Angeles FC, 1-0 at home. The Rapids took advantage of a shorthanded LAFC squad, stunning the league leaders, handing them only their second loss of the season. On the other side of the league, the Philadelphia Union have been the class of the Eastern Conference. The East leaders went on the road and took it on the chin. The Union struck early through a goal from Fafa Picault. After Maxi Moralez equalized from the spot for New York City FC, the Union took the lead back just seven minutes later. After the half, NYCFC opened the floodgates, scoring three goals and blowing the match open. Moralez scored another from the spot, and Valentin Castellanos added two more to give NYCFC a crucial three points.
Wayne Rooney scored one of the goals of the year, when he blasted one from beyond midfield, beating the Orlando City keeper, sending Audi Field into a frenzy. The rest of the match was uneventful, but the Rooney strike in the 10th minute was worth the price of admission.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 27, 2019
The Gold Cup has seen a few stunning results as well. Haiti knocked off Costa Rica to win Group B. Haiti went on to knock off Canada, 3-2, in a thrilling quarterfinal match. Mexico, who was tested in its final Group A match against Martinique, were once again tested. This time, Costa Rica went toe to toe with El Tri, taking the match to penalties before falling 5-4 in the shootout. The victory for Mexico set up a Semifinal matchup against the upstart Haitians.
The United States has a bullseye on it from fans and media alike. Gregg Berhalter and his team struggled mightily in the leadup to the tournament and have dished out a mixed bag of results in this tournament. With the group on the line, the United States knocked off Panama, 1-0. Its next match against Curacao in the quarterfinal was incredibly uneventful, but the USMNT took advantage of its talent to knock off Curacao and escape with a 1-0 win. Jamaica took care of Panama to set up a semifinal matchup with the United States.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
New York City FC vs. Seattle Sounders – 7 p.m.
Orlando City SC vs. Philadelphia Union – 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United – 8 p.m.
Minnesota United vs. San Jose Quakes – 8 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles FC – 8:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls – 9 p.m.
Jamaica vs. United States – 9:30 p.m. (CONCACAF Gold Cup)
Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew SC – 10 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. D.C. United – 9 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution – 9 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs. Toronto FC – 10:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC – 7 p.m.
FC Cincinnati vs. Houston Dynamo – 7:30 p.m.
Columbus Crew SC vs. Seattle Sounders – 7:30 p.m.
Montreal Impact vs. Minnesota United – 7:30 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire – 8:30 p.m.
D.C. United vs. Toronto FC – 8 p.m.
San Jose Quakes vs. Real Salt Lake – 10:30 p.m.
LAFC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 10:30 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. New York Red Bulls – 2 p.m. (Fox)
NYCFC vs. Portland Timbers – 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Mexico vs. United States/Jamaica – 9 p.m. (CONCACAF Gold Cup)
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when it hosts the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.