Week 19 in MLS saw some of its clubs competing in cup competition. Both the Canadian Championship and U.S. Open Cup are in full swing. The Canadian MLS sides were on the road to start their two-leg quarterfinal affair. The Montreal Impact were in a battle against York9 FC and needed an extra time penalty to gain a draw before they head to Stade Saputo for the second leg. The other Canadian MLS side, Vancouver Whitecaps, were held to a 0-0 draw on the road in Calgary, to Calvary FC. Both matches were back and forth but neither MLS side gained an advantage.
In the U.S. Open Cup, we saw the elimination of lower division sides. Saint Louis FC and New Mexico United were the final two lower division sides remaining in the competition. Atlanta United and Minnesota United easily dispatched the two USL sides by a combined 8-1 score. In other Open Cup action, Orlando City moved on, after knocking off New York City FC on penalties. The top team in MLS, Los Angeles FC, was knocked out of the Open Cup. The Portland Timbers took care of LAFC, 1-0 at Banc of California Stadium.
LAFC bounced back just a few days later, knocking off the Houston Dynamo, 3-1 in front of over 17,000 at BBVA Stadium in Houston. The loss was the first home loss of the season for the Dynamo. After falling behind in the third minute, LAFC roared back to win its fifth out of six MLS matches. With the win, LAFC continues its historic pace and have opened up an 11 point lead over the second-place Seattle Sounders. Things are fantastic in SoCal currently, because just like LAFC is running away with the Supporters Shield, Carlos Vela is running away with the Golden Boot.
On the other side of town, the LA Galaxy suffered a tough loss at home in the California Classico. The San Jose Quakes, who have played much better down the stretch, notched a sweep over their California rivals, outscoring them 6-1 in those two meetings. Another rivalry match saw Toronto FC knock off its Canadian rivals Montreal Impact 2-0 through goals from Alejandro Pozuelo and Jozy Altidore.
One of the most surprising results was East leaders Philadelphia Union getting pummeled on the road at Real Salt Lake. Venezuelan international Jefferson Savarino continues to show why he is one of best young players in MLS, scoring two goals and assisting on a third. Savarino, who has seen some interest from West Ham and Newcastle, will continue to draw interest from European clubs as the season moves forward.
Atlanta United, winless in their last three MLS matches, were dealt another blow when Brek Shea tore his ACL during Sunday’s loss at Seattle. Even with the loss, the Five Stripes are just six points out of first place. Shea had made 19 appearances for Atlanta United this season after signing as a free agent in December. Shea will now spend the rest of the season rehabbing, attempting a comeback.
Off the field, the Chicago Fire and the Village of Bridgeview came to an agreement on amending the stadium lease. The amended lease will now allow the Fire to play home matches outside of Bridgeview.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
Atlanta United vs. Houston Dynamo – 7 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 7 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls – 8 p.m.
Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew SC – 8 p.m.
FC Cincinnati vs. D.C. United – 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City SC – 10 p.m. (ESPN)
LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles FC – 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Columbus Crew SC vs. Montreal Impact – 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire – 7:30 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo – 7:30 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas – 8:30 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. New York City FC – 9 p.m.
Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United – 10 p.m.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Quakes – 10 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. D.C. United – 4 p.m. (ESPN)
FC Cincinnati vs. New England Revolution – 6 p.m.
Orlando City SC vs. New York Red Bulls – 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers – 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when it heads west to face D.C. United and the New England Revolution in a double game week for the orange and blues.