Another bonkers week in MLS treated us to stunning goals, crazy games and a host of red cards.
In a league already known for its regular goal-fests and total parity, there was a 4-4 draw, some unlikely wins and a first for Frank de Boer as he struggles to get MLS Cup holders Atlanta United ticking in defence of their title.
We also saw first and third clash for the second time this week as Seattle Sounders hosted Carlos Vela’s LAFC, while Wayne Rooney’s DC United looked to continue their strong start to the season at Minnesota United’s new Allianz Field stadium.
At Squawka, we’ve put together six of the biggest moments from this week’s MLS clashes.
1. Vela brings the fire
Seattle Sounders and LAFC faced off for the second time in a week on Sunday, in another battle between third and first in MLS.
And the showcase fixture of the weekend didn’t disappoint, with Seattle racing into a first-minute lead courtesy of Jordan Morris, only to be pegged back just three minutes later by none other than Carlos Vela.
LAFC have been a like a buzzsaw this season and at the forefront has been Vela, whose strike on Sunday takes him to a ridiculous 11 goals and five assists in just 10 MLS games so far this term. Despite only managing a draw against what eventually became the nine men of Seattle, LAFC remain top of the Supporters’ Shield standings following their wonderful start to the 2019 season.
At the start of the season, Bob Bradley called upon the 30-year-old to channel his inner-Messi and while it would be ridiculous to compare him or any other player on the planet right now to Barca’s god of football, Vela has certainly lit up MLS with his ferocious end product.
2. Goals, goals, goals
US fans love nothing more than to watch two teams slugging it out in search of goals, totally disregarding the finer points of defending. Four, five and six-goal thrillers are a pleasantly common occurrence.
However, Sporting Kansas City’s clash with Brad Friedel’s New England Revolution on Sunday took things to a whole new level, with the two sides playing out a hum-dinger 4-4 draw.
A goal from SKC’s Krisztian Nemeth was sandwiched between two Juan Fernando Caicedo strikes for the Revs, while Juan Agudelo made it 3-1 to the visitors shortly before half-time.
Things were only just getting started, however, as three second-half goals from SKC, another from the Revs and two red cards for Friedel’s side saw the game finish with eight goals and just 20 players left on the pitch.
4-4 final in KC. Wildly entertaining game for the neutral that somehow ended up being a brutal result for both teams. #SKCvNE
— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) April 28, 2019
SKC are now six without a win, while the Revs remain rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Regardless, both sides played their part in what will undoubtedly go down as one of the games of the season.
3. Nani strikes again
Despite often struggling in MLS, Orlando City fans have seen some huge names pass through their ranks, with Brazilian pair Kaka and Julio Baptista among the favourites.
The latest hero in that long list is former Manchester United and Valencia forward Nani. And so far, it’s fair to say the Portuguese has hit the ground running.
Orlando have ground their way to sixth in the Eastern Conference, despite finishing bottom last season, with Nani instrumental, bagging five goals in his last four games and throwing out his trademark backflips for fun.
His latest strike put the Lions 1-0 up against New York City FC on Saturday, before the Bronx side hit back in the second half.
With Nani in this kind of form, though, Orlando fans may just feel they will have an outside chance at the playoffs this season.
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4. De Boer finally delivers a home win for the champions
Last season, Atlanta United were almost unstoppable en-route to MLS Cup success in just their second season.
Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez struck up a wonderful partnership as the Five Stripes destroyed everything in their path and the former’s subsequent move to Newcastle United shows just how much this league has become a breeding ground for South American talent in recent years.
This season, though, Atlanta have faltered terribly under the guidance of former Ajax, Inter and Crystal Palace boss, Frank de Boer. The Dutchman has struggled to live up to the legacy left by former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino and prior to Saturday evening, found his side rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
However, in Colorado Rapids, they faced a side still searching for their first win of the season and despite some Tim Howard heroics in goal and stubborn defending from the visitors, Atlanta finally delivered their first home win of the season courtesy of a second-half goal from Julian Gressel.
The win is hardly seen as a kick-start to their stuttering season, given the opposition, but lifts them off the foot of the Eastern Conference and will give them some much-needed confidence heading into May.
There aren’t many better sights in football than a volley thundered into the back of the net. Especially when it comes from your centre-back.
Last season’s MLS Cup runners-up Portland Timbers have been absolutely terrible this season but earned an impressive 2-1 win away at high-flying Toronto FC on Saturday, kick-started by Bill Tuiloma’s rocket in the 22nd minute.
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) April 27, 2019
Having gone behind just two minutes earlier to a Jonathan Osorio goal, the Timbers hit back in emphatic style with Tuiloma smashing home a Diego Valeri corner to set Giovanni Savarese’s men on their way to a much-needed and unexpected win – Jeremy Ebobisse sealed the result in the 70th minute.
6. Rooney cannot stop Wonderwall
At long last, Minnesota United finally moved into their new home at Allianz Field earlier this month but to this point, had only been able to play out 3-3 and 0-0 draws against NYCFC and LA Galaxy, respectively.
Given his form since joining DC United, one of the last faces the Loons supporters would have wanted to see come to their new ground would have been Wayne Rooney as they looked to christen this impressive stadium.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 28, 2019
But despite VAR harshly ruling out a Donovan Pines goal – assisted by Rooney – for what was meant to be a ‘foul’ on Vito Mannone, Minnesota were not to be denied this time and sealed their first Allianz Field victory with a late Angelo Rodriguez goal.
The Loons fans broke into a long-awaited chorus of Wonderwall at the full-time whistle and will be buoyed by their side sitting sixth and among the playoff places.