All-Star week is upon us. As the MLS All-Stars get set to face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, the players and clubs had to navigate week 21 of the league schedule. Four MLS clubs also had to navigate the Leagues Cup as well. The MLS clubs had a different approach to the Leagues Cup as opposes to the four Liga MX clubs. MLS clubs went young and mostly inexperienced in their respective matchups. The LA Galaxy were the only club to knock off a Liga MX side. Club Tijuana fell to the Galaxy 3-1 in penalties after a 2-2 draw. After a 1-1 draw, Club America knocked off the Houston Dynamo 6-5 in penalties. The other two matchups saw Cruz Azul knocking off the Chicago Fire and Tigres taking care of Real Salt Lake.
Canadian Championship play saw the Montreal Impact get past York9 by a score of 1-0 in their second leg match. The Impact moved on with an aggregate score of 3-2. The other match saw an upset, seeing Calvary FC move on after a 2-1 aggregate victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The match of the week saw Los Angeles FC battle the defending MLS Cup champions, Atlanta United. After Mo Adams scored in his Atlanta United debut just two minutes into the match, the floodgates opened. LAFC scored four times, through four different goal scorers, in a 12-minute span in the first half. Josef Martinez got one back just before the end of the half to cut the deficit to 4-2 at the break. Six minutes into the second half, Atlanta United got one more back, making it 4-3. LAFC held onto the lead and the win, gathering a massive three points over the defending champions. LAFC still sits atop the Western Conference, 11 points ahead of the Seattle Sounders. Atlanta United was unable to take advantage of its early lead in that match, failing to grab the valuable three points that would have put them in a tie for first place in the East.
The New England Revolution stayed hot, knocking off Orlando City and extending its unbeaten streak to 11 games. Gustavo Bou got the Revs rolling early, scoring in the third minute. The second half saw the Revs add three more before Orlando City could get on the board. With the victory and the current unbeaten run of form under Bruce Arena, the Revolution have climbed from the bottom of the East to the seventh spot, a point ahead of Toronto FC for the final playoff spot.
The Columbus Crew have seemed to find a new gear and are unbeaten in their last three. The Crew stunned the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, handing the Red Bulls their first home loss in MLS play since May 8. Pedro Santos scored the game-winning goal, his second goal of the match, in the 84th minute for the Crew, giving them just their second road win of the season. The victory puts Columbus just nine points behind the Revolution for the final playoff spot and just 10 points behind the Red Bulls.
The Portland Timbers sent a message to the rest of the league with a 4-0 victory over the LA Galaxy at Providence Park. In a heated match that saw nine cards, three of those being straight red cards, the Timbers used the dominant performance to enter the playoff zone in the West. The Timbers got two goals in a four-minute span before the half and put the match away, scoring twice in seven minutes to send the Galaxy packing. Portland has 11 of its final 13 matches at Providence Park and that run could give the Timbers a serious chance to host a playoff match.
The San Jose Quakes continued their roll, knocking off the Colorado Rapids 3-1, putting them only a point back of second place in the West. The Quakes have won 8 of 11 and are playing with a swagger and confidence under Matias Almeyda.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
MLS All-Stars vs. Atletico Madrid – 8 p.m. (MLS All-Star Game) (FS1)
Atlanta United vs. LA Galaxy – 5 p.m. (Fox)
New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC – 6 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. Los Angeles FC – 7:30 p.m.
Orlando City vs. FC Dallas – 7:30 p.m.
FC Cincinnati vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 8 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire – 9 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. Montreal Impact – 9 p.m.
Real Salt Lake vs. New York City FC – 10 p.m.
San Jose Quakes vs. Columbus Crew – 10 p.m.
Minnesota United vs. Portland Timbers – 4 p.m. (ESPN)
D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union – 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City – 10 p.m. (FS1)
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when the Orange and Blue head back to Nippert Stadium to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.