2021 MLS Season

East Fork United

Junior Team Regular
Mar 2, 2020
An abbreviated MLS schedule this weekend saw 18 of the 27 teams in action. A few streaks, be they good or bad, continued, while another one ended. When the international break for World Cup Qualifiers ends, it will be back to business as usual next weekend, with 2 games on Friday, 10 on Saturday, and 1 on Sunday.

Nashville 3-1 New York City
Nashville SC remained the only undefeated team at home this season, with a comprehensive win over NYCFC. Hani Mukhtar scored a brace with goals in the 30th and 68th minutes, and the home side received a gift of an own goal in the 32nd minute to propel them to victory. Valentin Castellanos, who's been on a tear for City lately, ruined Nashville's chance at a clean sheet with his goal in the 90th minute. On the year, Nashville are 8-6-0 at home, but the team front-loaded a lot of home games. I'm guessing this is because Nashville shares Nissan Stadium with the Tennessee Titans NFL team. The NFL season kicks off this week on the 9th and runs till the end of December before the playoffs begin. Nashville SC's last game is at home on November 7th. Between now and then, the team will only play at home twice! Last week, the team notched its first road victory, so it will be interesting to see if it can keep challenging for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. Nashville is slated to move into its new 30,000 seat soccer specific stadium sometime in 2022.

Philadelphia 0-1 New England
Both sides were missing components to their recent success due to call-ups for World Cup Qualifying action or injuries. The only goal of the night was logged by Matt Polster in the 33rd minute. New England played the final 30+ minutes with 10 men after Arnor Traustason received a red card in the 59th minute. As the game progressed, it got more and more chippy with a lot of pushing and shoving between players in front of the New England goal, as the Union tried to score an equalizer which never came. The bad feelings spilled over into the tunnel leading back to the dressing rooms with some finger-pointing and shouting among the players, according to Philly fans who were at the game. Bad karma coming from the league office over this? We'll know by mid-week. Meanwhile, the Revolution continue to set the pace for the best record in MLS (16-4-4).

Houston 0-2 Portland
Trips to Texas have been a painful experience for Timbers fans this year. Their team has lost 3 times in the Lone Star State (twice to Austin and once to Dallas) by a combined score of 11-3. An earlier trip to Houston saw the team earn a 2-2 draw. But with the Dynamo slumping and in a major funk right now, could things be different for Portland, who seemed to get its mojo back with last week's satisfying win at Seattle? The answer turned out to be 'yes'. Yimmi Chara scored in the 15th minute, followed by a Felipe Mora PK in the 20th minute, and that's all the Timbers needed to collect all 3 points. Houston continues to stagger down the stretch, and the team record of winless games has now reached 16 in a row. Will coach Tab Ramos be able to see out the rest of the season?

Los Angeles FC 4-0 Sporting Kansas City
The talk amongst MLS fans is that LAFC has some good players on its roster as it pertains to scoring goals, but the team does not like to play defense, and sometimes, it really shows! Well, that perception was shattered Friday night (if only for a game), as the home side pounded the 2nd best team in the Western Conference. Mamadou Fall scored in the 18th and 61st minutes to pace LAFC to a much-needed win, while Cristian Arango added a goal in the 71st. Eduard Atuesta got into the act as well, with an 87th minute penalty kick. The win did not move LAFC into a playoff position, but it keeps them in the conversation for now. Sporting suffers its worst defeat of the year, and heads back home to lick its wounds.

Vancouver 2-1 Austin
Not only is it great to see the Whitecaps playing actual home games again, it's been a complete reversal of fortunes for the team that 3 months ago was in the basement of the Western Conference. For the 3rd game in a row, the Whitecaps found themselves trailing 1-0 at halftime following a 45th minute goal from Austin's Sebastian Driussi. And, for the 3rd game in a row, Vancouver rallied to pull out another 2-1 win. Erik Godoy tied the contest with his 70th minute goal, and Deiber Caicedo got the game-winner in the 83rd. Like LAFC, the Whitecaps are still below the playoff cut line, but they could very much be a factor to see who makes it and who does not as the season winds down. That's 5 wins and 5 draws in the last 10 games for Vancouver, who will look to build on that team-record streak next weekend.

Orlando 3-2 Columbus
This game turned out to be a thriller after Orlando had built a 2-0 halftime lead and seemed like it was cruising to an easy win. Ah, but the defending MLS Cup champions proved to be tough nuts to crack in the second half, as the team took advantage of an own goal by Orlando in the 52nd minute. Just two minutes later, Miguel Berry, hero in last week's come-from-behind win against Cincinnati, scored to level the game. The 2 Crew goals offset a 26th minute strike from Daryl Dike and a 29th minute goal from Silvester Van Der Water. The game stayed level for 15 minutes when Junior Urso scored the winning goal for the home team, to boost the Lions into 2nd place in the East.

Cincinnati 0-1 Inter Miami
Another good home crowd, another night of agony for FC Cincinnati. The team remains the only one in MLS without a home win (4 losses and 5 draws). This particular game seemed destined for a scoreless draw until Miami's Brek Shea knocked in the winner...in the 90th minute! If it weren't for Toronto FC's woefulness, Cincinnati would clearly be the worst team in the league, and that's got to be frustrating for a team with excellent fan support who moved up to MLS from the United Soccer League a few years ago. Nashville did the same thing, but that team has found much more success in MLS. I guess it shows the disparities when it comes to judging talent, acquiring the right players, getting the right coach and coaching staff, and utilizing the talent on hand to play the system and style that will bring success. Injuries to key players can be a factor too, but that's not been Cincinnati's bugaboo this year. As for Inter Miami, they've possibly turned a corner. The team is not in playoff contention yet, but it's getting closer, as it trails 7th place DC United by 4 points. Are the players and head coach Phil Neville finally on the same page? Looks like it.

Real Salt Lake 3-2 Dallas
FC Dallas scored first and last in this one, but it was RSL getting timely goals in between that kept the team in the last playoff position in the West. Franco Jara put Dallas on top in the 19th minute, but Justen Glad equalized for Salt Lake in the 42nd. Jonathan Menendez scored in the 54th minute to give RSL a lead it would not relinquish, and Albert Rusnak sealed the deal in the 72nd. Jesus Ferreira scored for Dallas in the 80th minute, but the team could not find the tying goal down the stretch.

San Jose 0-1 Colorado
You could say there were two heroes for the Rapids in this game. Dominique Badji scored in the 89th minute for the game's only goal, but it was head coach Robin Fraser who decided to sub Badji into the contest in the 87th minute! How often do you see a player get subbed into a game, then pay immediate dividends once he gets into the action? Apparently, the week off didn't help the Earthquakes that much. Their 10-game unbeaten streak is now over, and on top of that, they are 4 points out of playoff position and lie 10th in the 13-team Western Conference. For Colorado, once considered an afterthought in MLS circles, despite being one of the original 9 clubs still playing in the league, the team could be a real threat for the MLS Cup this year. The Rapids trail Seattle by just a point and have a game in hand on the Sounders.


1. New England Revolution 52 pts.
2. Orlando City SC 38 (10 wins)
3. Nashville SC 38 (9 wins)
4. New York City FC 34
5. Philadelphia Union 32
6. CF Montreal 31
7. DC United 30
8. Columbus Crew 27 (7 wins)
9. Atlanta United 27 (6 wins)


1. Seattle Sounders 42 pts.
2. Colorado Rapids 41
3. Sporting Kansas City 40
4. Los Angeles Galaxy 36
5. Minnesota United 31
6. Portland Timbers 30 (9 wins)
7. Real Salt Lake 30 (8 wins)
8. Vancouver Whitecaps 29
9. Lost Angeles FC 27

East Fork United

Junior Team Regular
Mar 2, 2020
This weekly update will be a bit more brief than usual. My 45th high school class reunion was Saturday, and I wasn't able to watch any games that evening, and there were 10 of them! Philadelphia Union were the idle team, and streaks, be they good or bad, ended for 4 teams.

Atlanta United 3-0 Orlando City
AUFC broke Orlando's 7-game unbeaten streak with a sound thrashing. George Campbell opened Atlanta's account in the 25th minute. An Orlando own goal added to the home team's lead in the 38th. Ezequiel Barco put the game to bed with his 72nd minute goal. Atlanta are on the uptick themselves, now having won 5 of their last 6 games.

Vancouver 0-1 Portland
The only goal of this contest was an own goal in the 66th minute when a Whitecaps defender tried to clear a Portland shot off the line, but knocked it into the back of the net instead. Vancouver frantically tried to get the equalizer in the final 15 minutes of play plus stoppage time...but, no dice! The Timbers fell the Whitecaps and end Vancouver's team record 10-game unbeaten run. In the process, Portland, which was languishing in 9th place in the Western Conference 3 weeks ago, have now vaulted up to 5th place.

Colorado 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy
Normally, a draw can be seen as a satisfactory result in soccer. In this instance, the draw was disappointing as both teams failed to maintain or improve their positions in the Western Conference. After a scoreless first half, Michael Barrios gave the Rapids the lead with his 66th minute goal. The Galaxy came back and tied the game thanks to an 80th minute goal from Samuel Grandsir. Colorado dropped from 2nd to 3rd place in the West when the dust from the weekend games settled. L.A. stayed in 4th.

Seattle 1-0 Minnesota United
Joao Paulo knocked in the only goal in this one in the 22nd minute. The Sounders maintain their grip on first place in the West, although Kansas City and Colorado are nipping at their heels. First choice keeper, Stefan Frei, returned between the sticks for Seattle, after being out with an injury since May to log the shutout.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 DC United
The Red Bulls can't be considered one of those teams that are 'fighting for their playoff lives', when wins at home come at a premium. A draw is better than a loss, for sure, but this team needs wins. New York scored first in the 5th minute on a goal by Dru Yearwood. Ola Kamara leveled the score on a 44th minute penalty kick.

New England 2-1 New York City
City got on the scoreboard first with an 11th minute goal from Santiago Rodriguez. The lead lasted all of 10 minutes, as Emmanuel Boateng knotted things up for the Revolution, and things stayed that way until the second half. In the 53rd minute, Alfredo Morales picked up his 2nd yellow card and was dismissed from the game, and New England made New York pay for the disadvantage. Tajon Buchanan, who is off to Brugge when New England's season is over, got the game-winner in the 65th minute. The Revs add to their impressive points haul in the Eastern Conference, while NYCFC stay in 4th place.

Cincinnati 2-0 Toronto
It took 10 games and nearly 4 months, but Cincinnati FC finally won its first home game of the 2021 campaign--the last MLS team to do so. Brenner got the Orange and Blue on the scoreboard in the 39th minute, and Haris Medunjanin added a strike in the 66th minute to send the fans home in ecstasy. This result only seemed to cement Toronto's status as the worst team in the East this year, and potentially, the worst in the league, although as we'll see, a Western Conference team is clearly in the running for the dreaded Wooden Spoon this year too!

Miami 1-0 Columbus
Cincinnati fans would tell you the only thing better than an FCC win is a Columbus Crew loss--and both things happened Saturday in a matter of minutes! Gonzalo Higuain scored the only goal of the game early (the 16th minute), then Miami played enough defense to keep the Crew at bay. Things are looking rather bleak for the defending MLS Cup champions. They are 4 points out of the last playoff position in the East with 10 games left to play. Inter Miami, on the other hand, have steadily improved its standing. The Flamingos are just 2 points away from the final playoff spot in the East, and the team has a game in hand over its closest competition in the standings (Philadelphia, DC, Montreal, Atlanta). Miami is just 2 points ahead of Columbus, but have 2 games in hand on the Crew.

Montreal 0-1 Nashville
Not only is the race for this year's MLS Cup playoffs getting more and more interesting, but I suspect the balloting for Coach of the Year will be tight too. Gary Smith, at the helm of Nashville SC, has gotten his team in position to be a force in this year's post-season. Nashville had trouble winning on the road earlier this year, but had plenty of draws on its away ledger. Now, the team have logged their second straight road win, as Walker Zimmerman scored on a header off a free kick in the 66th minute for the game's only tally. Montreal could have used a result here, as Atlanta and Miami are breathing down their necks now.

Kansas City 2-0 Chicago
After getting its first away win in almost 2 years in its previous outing, it was back to business as usual for the Chicago Fire, who conceded goals from Sporting KC in the 4th and 6th minutes from Jose Mauri and Johnny Russell, respectively. Kansas City supplant Colorado for 2nd place in the West. The Fire are tied on points with the Red Bulls in the East, as both teams continue to struggle in the standings.

Dallas 1-1 San Jose
Just like the Rapids-Galaxy game played earlier in the day, this result was not a particularly satisfying one for both teams who are trying to get into playoff contention. San Jose scored first on a 6th minute goal by Oswaldo Alanis, and the lead held up till halftime for the Earthquakes. FC Dallas tied the contest in the 50th minute on a Ricardo Pepi strike. Pepi, an 18-year old sensation for the U.S. Men's team (he had a goal and an assist in his team debut in a World Cup Qualifier in Honduras), may not be long for playing in MLS if he keeps up this great run of form. Earlier this season, he became the youngest player in MLS history to score a hat-trick. After this game, San Jose sit 3 points out of the playoffs with 11 games left to play. Dallas is 4 points back of 7th place, with 10 games to go.

Houston 3-0 Austin
It was a long time coming, but the Dynamo finally broke its horrendous string of 16 winless games, and it came against a rival club who happens to be challenging for Wooden Spoon status in this year's MLS season. Oddly enough, the visiting team had the bulk of possession (66-34%), but Houston made the most of its opportunities, outshooting Austin 16-15, with a 7-2 advantage for shots on target. Griffin Dorsey got things rolling early for the Dynamo with a 1st minute goal. Fafa Picault added another in the 24th minute, and closed out the scoring with a second goal in the 64th.

Los Angeles FC 3-2 Salt Lake City
The fun thing about MLS (or any pro league in any sport in North America, for that matter) is seeing teams jockey for position as the season winds down, so they can hopefully make a push for getting into the playoffs and seeing if there's some post-season magic that can carry them to a title. Things are really getting bunched up in the West after this result. LAFC opened quickly with a goal from Cristian Arango in the 1st minute. Damir Kreilach tied the game for Real Salt Lake in the 28th. Back came Arango with another goal in the 30th, as LAFC reclaimed the lead and took it into halftime. Anderson Julio answered for RSL in the 48th minute, and the game was tied again. The final goal of the evening came in the 59th minute; not from an exceptional strike, but a Salt Lake own goal! LAFC are tied on points for the last playoff place in the West with RSL, who only lead the Californians on goal differential.

I don't know why some teams find it hard to report their attendance for these games. I get most of the figures off the MLS website game summaries. If nothing's listed, I consult other on-line sources, especially newspaper accounts of the games to see if the attendance gets mentioned. The Vancouver Sun, which reported attendance for the Whitecaps in its previous home game, did not this time, which is odd, because Portland is a Cascadia region rival. The Montreal Gazette proved to be a fruitless search for me too, although, the brief highlights I saw seemed to show a nice turnout at Saputo Stadium for the game against Nashville. I don't know what restrictions are in place to prevent the possible spread of COVID 19 in Quebec. Initially, attendance was capped at 25-30% capacity. British Columbia have capped the Whitecaps attendance at BC Place at 13,000.


1. New England Revolution 55 pts.
2. Nashville SC 41
3. Orlando City SC 38
4. New York City FC 34
5. Philadelphia Union 32
6. DC United 31 (9 wins)
7. CF Montreal 31 (8 wins)
8. Atlanta United 30
9. Inter Miami 29


1. Seattle Sounders 45 pts.
2. Sporting Kansas City 43
3. Colorado Rapids 42
4. Los Angeles Galaxy 37
5. Portland Timbers 33
6. Minnesota United 31
7. Real Salt Lake 30 (8 wins, +4 GD)
8. Los Angeles FC 30 (8 wins, +2 GD)
9. Vancouver Whitecaps 29
10. San Jose Earthquakes 27
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East Fork United

Junior Team Regular
Mar 2, 2020
11 midweek games dotted the MLS schedule this week, with 3 on Tuesday and 8 on Wednesday. Plenty of drama and tension on display as the league enters the last 2 months of the regular season and contenders for this year's title continue to make a push for the playoffs. Overall, this batch of games were some of the most exciting of the season, but unfortunately, most midweek games don't draw fans in attendance as well as the ones played on the weekend.

Columbus Crew 2-1 New York Red Bulls
New York jumped out to the early lead thanks to a goal from Patryk Klimala in the 25th minute. Columbus, trying to get back into playoff contention, did not score its first goal until a Darlington Nagbe strike in the 74th. Then in the 88th, Miguel Berry got the game-winning goal after a scramble in the Red Bulls box. The home fans breathed a sigh of relief and went into a frenzy at the same time.

New York City FC 3-3 FC Dallas
On the surface, this draw didn't really help Dallas in its quest for make the Western Conference playoffs. It thwarted NYC's chance to move up the Eastern Conference standings too. Both teams though, were probably happy not to take a loss in this rock 'em, sock 'em affair played at Red Bull Arena. Jader Obrian scored first for the visitors in the 4th minute. The lead lasted just over a quarter of an hour, as Maxi Morales equalized for City in the 20th, and the teams went into the halftime locker room at 1-1. The second half fireworks began with a 57th minute goal from Jesus Medina to give NYC its first lead, but it only lasted 6 minutes as Jesus Ferreira got on the scoresheet for Dallas. Talles Magno reclaimed the lead for New York in the 68th, then just 5 minutes after that, Obrian scored his brace to allow teams to split the points.
ATTENDANCE: Not Listed (judging from the few shots of fans in the stands, I'd estimate it to be less than 4,000. City haven't drawn much higher than that, if ever, this season when they play away from Yankee Stadium)

Toronto FC 0-1 Inter Miami
Toronto's lost season of woes was on display for all in attendance at BMO Field Tuesday night. Kemar Lawrence was disqualified from the game in the 37th minute when he drew a red card following a foul. Despite being a man down, TFC looked the more dangerous side, particularly in the second half. Unlike most of its games this year, Toronto's defense was up to snuff, and they put pressure on Miami's goal too. With 2 minutes to go, Toronto's Jacob Shaffelberger launched a shot from the left side that seemed to beat keeper Nick Marsman. The TFC players and fans behind the goal went into celebration mode, but after a VAR review, the potential lead goal was disallowed. MLS does not have goal line technology instituted for its matches, and every camera angle shown of Shaffelberger's shot seemed to indicate the entire ball was over the line, but the proof was not conclusive, because Marsman's body had contorted so much as to conceal the ball and just exactly how much of it hit or crossed the line could not be determined. So, the best Toronto could do it seemed, was to get a point, but Inter Miami had other ideas. Christian Makoun drew a foul in the box during the 4th minute of stoppage time, then stepped up and converted the penalty. For Toronto, it was the team's 6th consecutive loss. For Miami, it was the team's 6th straight game without a loss.

Atlanta United 4-0 FC Cincinnati
Atlanta won its 6th game in its last 7 attempts with a resounding win over Cincinnati. Luiz Araujo got things going for the surging 5 Stripes with a 5th minute goal. Josef Martinez scored the first of his two goals in the 40th minute. Martinez got his brace in the 55th. Ezequiel Barco, winner of last week's "MLS Goal of the Week", capped the scoring with a strike in the 86th minute. The win allowed Atlanta to move into playoff position for the first time this season. Gonzalo Pineda appears to be just what the doctor ordered for this team, which was in the doldrums in June before Gabriele Heinze was relieved of his head coaching duties.

DC United 3-0 Chicago Fire
After showing signs of life with decent performances in the last half of August, the Fire have returned to their losing ways which put them behind their Eastern rivals very early in the 2021 season. United on the other hand, have improved steadily as the season has progressed. This particular contest was done and dusted by halftime, and one man and one man only did all the damage, as Ola Kamara scored a hat trick in 45 minutes! Kamara scored in the 9th, 35th, and 44th minutes; the last goal coming from the penalty spot. DC heads in the right direction in the East, while Chicago staggers toward the bottom of the pile.

Orlando City SC 2-4 CF Montreal
Montreal picked up a surprising road win and maintained its playoff position after the final whistle blew as Orlando ended the contest with 9 men. Matthieu Choiniere put Montreal on top with an 18th minute goal. Things started to go badly for the home team as Nani picked up a second yellow card in just the 35th minute. Romell Quioto took advantage of the situation and scored in the 37th to pad the visitors' lead. Orlando settled down and got on the scoreboard with a 40th minute strike from Robin Jansson. The home side knotted the score in the 63rd minute after a goal from Ruan, but Lassi Lappaleinen restored Montreal's lead in the 73rd minute. Sunusi Ibrahim closed the door on another potential Orlando comeback, with a goal in the 80th. Three minutes later, Andres Perea drew a red card of his own.

Sporting Kansas City 4-0 Minnesota United
Not only did Kansas City lay a royal beating on MNUFC, but the loss, coupled with other results, knocked the Loons out of playoff position in the West. Khiry Shelton got things going for Sporting with a 14th minute goal. That was followed by another from Daniel Salloi in the 36th. Johnny Russell scored a PK in the 45th minute, as Kansas City took a healthy lead into the halftime locker room. Cameron Duke closed out the scoring for the home side in the 52nd minute. The result undoubtedly took the sting out of Sporting's recent 4-0 loss at LAFC. The win moved SKC into first place in the Western Conference, although the club have played 2 more games than Seattle and Colorado, the teams most likely to catch them by season's end.

Austin FC 1-2 Los Angeles FC
An early Austin goal (4th minute) was taken off the board following a VAR review, and the game was deadlocked at halftime. The first goal came via the penalty spot in the 59th minute from L.A.'s Cristian Arango. Diego Fagundez equalized for Austin in the 67th. After that, both teams went back and forth trying to find a potential winning goal, which came in the 81st minute from Danny Musovski. Austin tried to find an equalizer, but the LA defense was stout and hung on for the victory. With the road win and Minnesota's heavy loss, LAFC moved into playoff position for the first time since May.

Portland Timbers 2-2 Colorado Rapids
This exciting game didn't seem that way on the scoreboard at halftime, as both teams were held to a nil-nil draw. Bill Tuiloma was disqualified in the 42nd minute after picking up his second yellow card of the half, so the Timbers were at a disadvantage. Jonathan Lewis scored first for Colorado in the 64th minute, but Felipe Mora answered for Portland in the 67th. The Rapids thought they had the points in the bag as Michael Barrios scored in the 87th minute, but Sebastian Blanco scored in the first minute of stoppage time to garner a point for the home team.

Los Angeles Galaxy 1-1 Houston Dynamo
The Dynamo, getting its first win in its last outing since May 12 jumped out to the early lead in the 13th minute on a nice goal from Fafa Picault. Chicharito, coming off an injury, got the equalizing goal in the 61st minute, but nothing from either side over the remaining 30 minutes. Houston is playing for next year. Los Angeles is still holding the last home-field advantage for the Western Conference playoffs, but the Galaxy have a zero Goal Difference, having scored and surrendered 37 goals on the season.

San Jose Earthquakes 3-4 Real Salt Lake
This game was arguably the best of the bunch for midweek action. Scoring in the topsy-turvy affair began in the 26th minute by San Jose's Javier Lopez, but Rubio Rubin countered that with a goal for Salt Lake in first half stoppage time. Albert Rusnak put RSL in the lead for the first time with his 49th minute strike, but Lopez tied the game shortly thereafter, as he scored his brace in the 50th. The crowd went crazy again as Lopez earned a hat trick with the lead goal for the Quakes in the 65th. But, back came Real Salt Lake, who tied the game again in the 71st on a goal from Justin Meram. Ten minutes later, the guy who opened RSL's account, Rubio Rubin, got the winning goal in the 81st...whew! RSL stay in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. San Jose suffers a potentially debilitating loss.

In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union fell out of playoff position for the first time this season. The team was hosting the second leg of the 2021 CONCACAF Champion's League semifinal match Wednesday night, which it lost to Mexico's Club America, 2-0 (4-0 on aggregate). The team was the only MLS entrant in the semifinal round. It will be interesting to see which buttons coach Jim Curtin can punch to get this team on track as the regular season winds down.

13 games are scheduled for this weekend in MLS. 1 is on Friday, 8 on Saturday, and 4 Sunday, with Chicago having the bye.


1. New England Revolution 55 pts.
2. Nashville SC 41
3. Orlando City SC 38
4. New York City FC 35
5. DC United 34 (10 wins)
6. CF Montreal 34 (9 wins)
7. Atlanta United 33
8. Inter Miami 32 (9 wins)
9. Philadelphia Union 32 (8 wins)
10. Columbus Crew 30


1. Sporting Kansas City 46 pts.
2. Seattle Sounders 45
3. Colorado Rapids 43
4. Los Angeles Galaxy 38
5. Portland Timbers 34
6. Real Salt Lake 33 (9 wins, +5 GD)
7. Los Angeles FC 33 (9wins, +3 GD)
8. Minnesota United 31

MLS announced the playoff schedule last week. The regular season ends on November 7, just prior to the international break. Playoffs begin on November 20 with first round contests. Each match will be single-elimination, with the top team in each conference receiving a first round bye. Higher seeds get to host playoff contests, with the conference finals being held on December 4 and 5. MLS Cup will be hosted on December 11 by the highest remaining seeded team with the most regular season points total. Currently, the New England Revolution have home field advantage throughout the playoffs, if they were to begin today. But winning the Supporter's Shield (most regular season points) does not translate into playoff success. In 25 seasons of MLS, the Supporter's Shield winner have gone on to win MLS Cup just 8 times!

East Fork United

Junior Team Regular
Mar 2, 2020
In the Bizarro World known as Major League Soccer, 3 of the 13 home teams lost matches this weekend. Two of them (Cincinnati and Austin) would rate as no surprise as both teams are terrible. The other team that lost did so in spectacular fashion. A 6th coach lost their job during this season due to a poor run of results, and the author of this post scored an own-goal himself, by saying Chicago had a bye this weekend. In fact, it was Sporting Kansas City that had the weekend off, and as it turns out, SKC had a better weekend than the Fire, who continue their solid efforts to charge down to the bottom of the Eastern Conference table!

Miami 0-4 New York Red Bulls
This was the strangest result of the weekend, and it happened to be the first game that kicked off the 13-game schedule on Friday night. Inter Miami worked hard to get into this year's playoff race, while the Red Bulls seemed to work equally hard to miss the playoffs this year. Instead, despite a 53-47% possession advantage, the Red Bulls outshot Inter 27-2! Patryk Klimala got New York going with his 18th minute strike. Omir Fernandez added to the lead with his 31st minute goal. Nicolas Figal was ordered off the pitch for Miami in the 38th minute after accumulating his second yellow card of the half. Fabio added goals for the Red Bulls in the 65th and 89th minutes to complete the rout and send one of Miami's best crowds of the season home wondering why they chose to watch this game instead of some other form of entertainment.

Atlanta United 3-2 DC United
Atlanta, which moved into a playoff position with its most recent win for the first time this season, did what Miami could not; build on its position by winning at home. Miami's loss knocked them out of the playoff zone, while Atlanta moved up a place from 7th to 6th. Ezequiel Barco got AUFC on the board first in the 18th minute, and the slim lead held up till halftime. Josef Martinez scored in the 64th to pad the lead a bit, but DC's Felipe Martins scored in the 75th minute to make things interesting. George Bello's goal in the 87th minute ended up putting the game to bed for Atlanta, as Edison Flores's strike in the 94th minute made the final score closer. The loss, along with Philadelphia's win on Sunday, sent DC United out of the playoff zone with 9 games left to play.

New England 1-1 Columbus
Not that they would want to do it, but it seems as if New England have enough points to earn the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs (with 8 games left on their schedule), so the team could afford a loss. That's not the case for Columbus, who also have 8 games remaining on their docket. The Crew need all the points they can get, and earning draws just won't cut it. This game was scoreless in the first half. Gyasi Zardes, coming off an injury, gave Columbus the lead in the 58th minute, but it wouldn't last long. Adam Buksa equalized for the Revolution in the 64th minute to draw his team level. Eloy Room, the Columbus keeper, sustained a non-contact leg injury late in the second half, but Crew manager Caleb Porter had used all his substitutions by then. Room was able to keep the New England attack at bay to help his team hang onto the draw, despite being outshot by a horrendous 33-6 margin!

Cincinnati 1-2 New York City
Cincinnati's modest 1-game home winning streak ended as the hosts were reduced to 9 men by the final whistle. Brenner scored early for Cincinnati in the 4th minute, and though it took some time, City were able to equalize in the 37th minute through Keaton Parks. A 60th minute PK from Valentin Castellanos put NYC in the lead before the game descended into chippy play from both sides, with FCC paying the price with two players dismissed late on with straight red cards (Alvaro Barreal in the 85th and Isaac Atanga in the 90th).

Toronto 2-1 Nashville
TFC may have thought it was given a raw deal when the referee and VAR denied a potential game-winning goal Wednesday against Miami, but the Reds collected themselves and were able to beat one of the hotter teams in MLS. Jacob Shaffelberg, whose shot against Miami was ruled to be stopped on the goal line, made no doubt in the 18th minute, as his shot hit the back of the net, having beaten keeper Joe Willis. The Toronto lead stayed that way until CJ Sapong scored off a nice Nashville build-up in the 73rd minute. Just 6 minutes later though, Omar Gonzalez knocked in a goal off a corner kick to restore the lead for the home side, and Toronto hung on for the win.

Austin 3-4 San Jose
If the result in Miami was the strangest one from the weekend, this game would be up there for 2nd place. Austin FC, still trying to get used to success sustainability, blew a 3-1 lead over the Earthquakes, who are desperately trying to stay relevant in the Western Conference playoff chase. Sebastian Driussi got things going for the home team in the 6th minute. Marcos Lopez tied the game for San Jose in the 17th. Goals from Jon Gallagher in the 35th and Alex Ring in the 45th had Austin fans feeling good about their chances to snag all 3 points. Early in the second half, Cristian Espinoza got the Quakes back to within a goal in the 49th minute, then a 58th minute PK from Eduardo Lopez evened the score. A mere 5 minutes later, Eduardo struck again with what proved to be the game winner. In the 65th minute, Alex Ring was dismissed from the field after picking up a second yellow card. Austin played somewhat better than San Jose after the sending off, but the team never could find the equalizer, sending the capacity crowd home disappointed once again.

Minnesota 3-0 Los Angeles Galaxy
For the first time in franchise history, the Loons beat the Galaxy, as the team got back into the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase. Emanuel Reynoso scored in the 4th and 20th minutes to put LA on its heels. Ethan Finlay closed out the scoring in the 66th minute. Minnesota is now 7th in the West, and while the Galaxy are still in 4th place, which is good for a home game in the first round, but the lead over 5th placed Portland is tenuous.

Houston 3-2 Dallas
Two teams heading in different directions. The Dynamo won their 2nd home game in a row and 3rd game without a loss, while Dallas is stuck being winless in its last 3. Griffin Dorsey's goal in the 5th minute and Fafa Picault's goal in the 20th gave Houston a 2-0 halftime lead. The final Dynamo goal came on a 59th minute PK from Darwin Quintero. It was too little, too late for the visitors, who got goals from Jader Obrian in the 86th and 94th minutes. An 83rd minute goal from Jesus Ferreira for Dallas was disallowed on an offside call. The day after the contest, FC Dallas fired head coach Luchi Gonzalez, the 6th coaching casualty in MLS this year. Gonzalez had been the head coach since 2018 and was the club's successful youth academy director prior to that. Marco Ferruzzi will serve as the interim coach, but there's no word when a permanent coach will be hired. Dallas have just 8 games remaining on the 2021 season.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Seattle
The Sounders failed to take advantage of Kansas City's bye week, as this loss keeps the team in second place in the West, just a point behind the leaders. The only goal of the night came early in the second half on a 48th minute strike from Damir Kreilach. RSL stay in 6th place in the West.

Montreal 2-0 Chicago
If Luchi Gonzalez can get the axe in Dallas, you have to wonder how long Raphael Wicky can last in Chicago (or Jap Staam in Cincinnati, Tab Ramos in Houston, Josh Wolff in Austin). The Fire have been all wet lately. Not only have they dropped three straight, but they have been held scoreless in all 3. Romell Quioto scored the opener for Montreal in the 60th minute, and the team got a gift off a Chicago own-goal in the 80th. The Quebecers stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race and are just a point out of hosting a first round contest.
ATTENDANCE: Not Listed :(

Philadelphia 3-1 Orlando
Philadelphia shook off the disappointment of its loss in the CONCACAF Champions League semi-final earlier in the week, by not only winning this game, but moving back into playoff contention. Kai Wagner's 37th minute strike was good enough to give the Union the halftime lead, but Orlando's Ruan tied things up in the 57th minute. Polish international Kacper Przybylko scored the game-winner in the 61st minute, then added some insurance with an 89th minute penalty kick. Orlando remain in one of the home-field advantage places for playoff consideration, but the lead is like the Galaxy's in the West...tenuous.

Portland 2-1 Los Angeles FC
Both teams entered this game in playoff positions, and a draw would have suited both. But, the reason we play games is to try and win them, which is what Portland was able to do. Dairon Asprilla staked the Timbers to an early 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. Cristian Arango knotted the score for LA in the 27th minute on a penalty kick following a Portland hand ball in the box. George Forchive closed out the scoring with his 68th minute effort. The loss for LAFC sent them down to 8th place in the West; not good enough to get into the playoffs, but they have 9 games left to try and correct that.

Colorado 1-1 Vancouver
The Rapids, like Seattle, failed to capitalize on Sporting KC's bye week. Colorado could have tied Kansas City for the Western Conference lead with a win, but it wasn't to be. The Rapids did get on the scoreboard first off a Danny Wilson strike in the 28th minute. Brian White got the tying goal for the Whitecaps in the 41st, as the teams played to a second half stalemate. Surprising thing about this game was the paltry attendance. For a team that hasn't had a lot of success over the past decade and has a nice opportunity to finish first in its conference, you'd think the fans in the Denver area would be more excited about the Rapids.


1. New England 56 pts.
2. Nashville 41
3. New York City FC 38 (11 wins)
4. Orlando 38 (10 wins)
5. Montreal 37
6. Atlanta 36
7. Philadelphia 35
8. DC United 34
9. Miami 32
Defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus are in 10th place on 31 points but only have 8 games left to play. Everyone ahead of them (except New England) have 9 or 10 games left.


1. Kansas City 46 pts.
2. Seattle 45
3. Colorado 44
4. Los Angeles Galaxy 38
5. Portland 37
6. Real Salt Lake 36
7. Minnesota 34
8. Los Angeles FC 33

There are just 3 midweek games in MLS competition this week. However, Montreal and Toronto are involved in the Canadian Championships (called the Voyageurs Cup). The winner earns a berth in next year's CONCACAF Champions League competition. Montreal play at the Halifax Wanderers. Toronto hosts York United. Seattle will be playing against Liga Mex side Leon in Las Vegas for the Leagues Cup which is an in-season competition featuring top teams from MLS and Liga Mex.

Next weekend will see a full slate of 13 games (10 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday). Inter Miami gets the bye. I don't know why I try to keep track of which team isn't playing on weekday or weekend matches. Probably my OCD kicking in! Next year, I probably won't be so concerned about it, as Charlotte will join the MLS parade of teams which will boost membership up to an even 28 clubs.

In 2 years however, St. Louis will join the party and up the membership total to 29. The shell of St. Louis' new stadium is completed.

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been rumblings coming out of Las Vegas that the city has the inside track on becoming the 30th MLS franchise. If this is so, the league office in New York isn't saying anything about it. MLS officials were probably bummed out and a bit aggrieved about the Sacramento situation, where the team was announced as 'a go' only to have its lead investor pull the rug out from under everyone. Rumors about him say he may be interested in getting an MLS franchise placed in San Diego, but I haven't read much about that effort lately, even if it were true. The guy complained about construction costs being too high in Sacramento after economies were hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. I can't imagine construction costs for a new stadium in San Diego being much different from another city in the same state, so, who knows what the real reason was behind the decision to ditch Sacramento. Officially, MLS top brass say they want Sacramento to get its act together and find another big investor or a conglomerate of such so they can give the city another chance. But, those opportunities are fleeting by the day as other places like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Diego make a push to land an MLS team.
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East Fork United

Junior Team Regular
Mar 2, 2020
There were just 3 midweek games in MLS this week. Believe it or not, I didn't watch any of them because there were more interesting things to watch on television at the time! I know, it's probably sacrilegious to admit that here, but viewing options have certainly increased since the time when I was a kid. Anyway, here's what went down Wednesday night.

Miami 1-5 Nashville
A couple of weeks ago, Miami was surging up the Eastern Conference standings. Now the team is sinking like a stone after taking a tremendous beating from one of the better teams in the league. Hani Mukhtar put the visitors on top with a 6th minute goal, and Walker Zimmerman added another for Nashville in the 38th to boost the lead to 2-0 at halftime. Mukhtar scored a brace in the 48th minute before Gonzalo Higuain gave the home fans something to cheer about in the 64th minute. Randle Leal quieted the crowd in the 70th minute to leave no doubt who was the better side on this night. Alistar Johnson put an exclamation point on the game with a goal in what amounted to the 96th minute. Nashville remains solidly in 2nd place in the East. Miami is still 9th, but the team is reeling, having lost its last 2 contests (both at home) by a combined 9-1 score!

Chicago 2-3 New England
You could praise the Fire for playing a competitive match against the best team in MLS, or be wary of New England's success, because the team struggled against one of the poorer teams in the league. Henry Kessler got the Revolution on the board first with his 11th minute strike, but it was offset by Carlos Teran's goal for Chicago in the 40th. A couple of rapid fire goals happened in the 2nd half, beginning with Teal Bunbury netting one for New England in the 62nd minute, but the Revs' celebration ended as quickly as it started as Gaston Giminez got the Fire right back into the thick of things in the 63rd! The game stayed that way until the first minute of stoppage time when Carles Gil slotted home the winner for the visitors after a nice build-up of play.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 New York City
The Hudson River derby was a one-sided affair early on in favor of City, who took the lead in the 31st minute on a goal from Valentin Castellanos. Things changed in the 73rd minute when Keaton Parks was sent off for a hard challenge from behind on the Red Bulls' Dru Yearwood. City were able to absorb pressure from the Red Bulls until stoppage time, which was really wild, regardless of which team you were supporting. First, there were 8 minutes of time added in the second half. During that time, there were a couple of injuries, so that meant the game kept going. In the 100th minute, Maxime Chanot was called for a handball in the Red Bulls's box. Because it was his second yellow card, Chanot was dismissed and Patryk Klimala stepped up to the spot and got the game-tying goal in the 102nd minute of play---the latest goal scored in MLS regular season history! Despite the disappointing draw, NYCFC move up to 3rd place in the East, while the Red Bulls stay well-back of the playoff contenders. City will get a chance to avenge this result Saturday, as the teams hook up again, but this time at Yankee Stadium.

In the Leagues Cup finale, Seattle broke a scoreless tie at halftime with an early goal in the second half, only to see Leon knock in 3 after that. The Sounders scored a consolation goal late on, as the game finished 3-2 in favor of the Mexican side.

With CONCACAF's blessing, the Leagues Cup will be expanded in 2023 and involve all 47 clubs in MLS and Liga Mex. The tournament is expected to be held from late July to mid or late August, and the reaction from MLS fans has been tepid to hostile about it. MLS will be taking a break for a month for this event, and it's not known exactly how the format will run or where the games will be played. It was suggested at the 'big announcement' earlier this week that it will be a World Cup-style set up. Whether that means group stages of 3, 4, 6, or even 8 teams per group is unknown at this time. A lot of fans of MLS aren't crazy about this tournament because it means no league games during the middle to end portion of the season (it would be pre-season play for the 18 teams in Liga Mex). Also, the Mexican clubs usually draw pretty well when they play in the United States. Many, many fans of Mexican heritage who are United States citizens still carry loyalties to their former clubs south of the border. So, this tournament is seen as a money-grab while exhausting the talent on the rosters of all the teams, especially the MLS sides. However, some fans here see it as an opportunity for MLS teams to step up their play against international pros from CONCACAF. No MLS team has ever qualified for the Club World Cup competition. For Leagues Cup competition, including Wednesday night's win in Las Vegas for Leon, Liga Mex teams are ahead of MLS teams, 10-3.

In the Canadian Championships, Montreal rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Halifax Wanderers, 3-1. Toronto blanked York United, 4-0. Coming up in semi-final action later this season, CF Montreal (defending Voyageurs Cup champs) will face Forge FC, while Toronto FC will face Pacific FC. Forge FC (out of Hamilton, Ontario) and Pacific FC (from Victoria, British Columbia) are members of the Canadian Premier League, which began play in 2019. It was Pacific FC's 4-3 win over Vancouver last month that ultimately cost Mark dos Santos his job at the helm of the Whitecaps.

I'll update the standings on Monday after the weekend games.

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