Week 22 of MLS was a chance to showcase the best of MLS against one of the best clubs in Europe. Atletico Madrid was the opponent in this edition of the MLS All-Star game that took place in Orlando, Florida. Atletico has rolled through its preseason in preparation for its La Liga season, and the MLS All-Stars were just another victim. Atletico flexed its talent and muscle to take control of the match and knock off the All-Stars 3-0. Marcos Llorente, Joao Felix and Diego Costa scored the goals for Atletico. As part of the All-Star festivities, the MLS Homegrown team knocked off the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20 team in penalties.
MLS clubs were back in action on Saturday. The matchup of the week saw the defending MLS Cup champions, Atlanta United, pummel the LA Galaxy in front of an MLS single-game record of 72,548 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Galaxy were without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, due to yellow-card suspension and his presence was sorely missed as the Galaxy were unable to get anything going positively against Atlanta United.
The other big game of the weekend took place in Foxboro, Massachusettes, where Los Angeles FC ended the New England Revolution’s 11 match unbeaten run. It took just eight minutes for the best team in the league to hand the Revolution a dose of reality, through Diego Rossi. Rossi, who was just inside of the box, lofted a beautiful chip over the head of goalkeeper Matt Turner, giving the Supporters Shield leaders an early lead. The Revolution were unable to get anything going against LAFC, and once Latif Blessing added a crucial insurance goal in the 72nd minute, any chance of a comeback was dashed. Even with the loss, the Revolution still sit in the final playoff spot in the East.
The New York Red Bulls maintained pace with the conference leaders, as they were able to shut out Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls turned it on in the second half, scoring twice to gather a valuable three points. The loss keeps Toronto FC just a point behind Montreal and New England for the final playoff spot. Led by Marco Fabian, the Philadelphia Union throttled a 10-man D.C. United squad to keep the top of the Eastern Conference cluttered. With the win, the Union moved back to the top of the conference while the Red Bulls, Atlanta United and D.C. United are all within three points of each other.
Minnesota United took advantage of a late, stoppage-time penalty to knock off the Portland Timbers. A handball call went to video review, giving Minnesota United a chance to convert from the spot. Ethan Finley stepped up and converted from the spot, giving the Loons a massive three points and helping them climb to second in the West. These two teams face off again this week in the U.S. Open Cup.
In a match that featured nine goals, Kei Kamara scored for both his Colorado Rapids and his opponent, the Montreal Impact. Kamara got the scoring going early, as he was tagged with an own goal in the 18th minute. Kamara roared back, netting a hat trick and leading the Rapids to a big 6-3 win. The match seemed over at the half, as the Rapids held a 4-1 lead at the break. The Impact scored twice in 21 minutes to get within a goal, but the Rapids put an end to the comeback with a quick response and a final tally in the 90th minute. Even though the Rapids are sitting in the basement of the Western Conference, the victory assured they are only 10 points out of a playoff spot.
Seemingly without playoff hopes, Sporting Kansas City revived those hopes with a huge 3-2 victory on the road against the Seattle Sounders. Felipe Gutierrez scored twice in the first half, helping Sporting bag a huge three points. Jordan Morris made it interesting for the hosts, scoring twice, but it was not enough to keep the Sounders in second place.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
Orlando City vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m. (U.S. Open Cup)
Ottawa Fury vs. Toronto FC – 7:30 p.m. (Canadian Championship)
Montreal Impact vs. Calvary FC – 7:30 p.m. (Canadian Championship)
Minnesota United vs. Portland Timbers – 8 p.m. (U.S. Open Cup)
New York City FC vs. Houston Dynamo – 7 p.m.
Seattle Sounders vs. New England Revolution – 4 p.m.
Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati – 7:30 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Orlando City – 7:30 p.m.
FC Dallas. Minnesota United – 8 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake – 8:30 p.m.
Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact – 9 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Quakes – 9 p.m.
Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 11 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. New York City FC – 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo – 6 p.m.
D.C. United vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Los Angeles FC vs. New York Red Bulls – 10 p.m. (FS1)
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when the Orange and Blue head North to face the Columbus Crew on Saturday in the first MLS Hell is Real derby.