90+1’ – Storylines
Easter Weekend fell upon the league this week and teams got the memo. In honor of the holiday, 11 teams found more eggs (zero goals) than families on an easter egg hunt.
With that being said, it was an interesting week for the league.
One game had a team win by three or more goals, as New York Football Club (NYCFC) decided to embarrass doubters by crushing Real Salt Lake 6-0 on Sunday, April 18. The league’s 2021 leading scorer Valentin Castellanos netted four goals, the most in team history.
On Saturday, April 17 Toronto FC scored two unanswered goals, as they took out the league’s final unbeaten team in the Philadelphia Union 2-1. Despite the loss, the Union kept a two-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Flipping to the Western Conference, leaders Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) answered back from a loss with a convincing 3-1 defeat over Sporting KC, thanks to a strike by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. However, all eyes laid on the team behind them.
Austin FC turned a 2-0 deficit at halftime into a 3-2 win within a ten-minute span, as Ruben Gabrielsen blasted the final blow in the 90th minute.
90+3’ – Week 7 Highs and Lows
High: Fans of Defense
As I mentioned earlier, 11 teams were held scoreless. Seven of those teams are in playoff positions, and four games ended 0-0.
Boring right? Well, not exactly.
Displaying zero does not mean poor offense. FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes stopped six shots against one of the East’s best in the New York Red Bulls.
Goalkeepers Pedro Gallese of Orlando City and Gaga Slonina of the Chicago Fire recorded their fifth clean sheets. Goalkeepers are not to be messed with in this league.
Low: Ola Kamara
D.C. United’s Ola Kamara scored two goals this week. Both were in the first half. Did I make a typo? Why is this a low?
Twelve minutes after that second goal, Kamara received a red card. D.C. would have to go the second half with only ten men, where they held up until three late goals by Austin FC ruined the night.
Kamara’s goals are now overshadowed by a red card that aided in the collapse to a club in its second year.
Oh, and now D.C. United is in last place in their conference. Things are not fun in the nation’s capital.
High: Race for the Golden Boot
Five players ended the week with five goals, tied for the league’s best. If that is not intense enough, 11 players sit one goal away from the top, which includes defending champion Castellanos’ four goals in one week.
Players from all over the league are in on being the top goal scorer, with the league’s worst team in the San Jose Earthquakes having their striker Jeremy Ebobisse be one of those five players at the top.
Low: Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake (RSL) was one of the final four teams remaining in the MLS Playoffs last season. If they made the final, they would have played NYCFC.
After Sunday, thankfully they did not. Six goals allowed. Zero put on the board for RSL on Easter afternoon. An ugly week that needs to be discarded for next week’s Western Conference Final rematch.
90+5’ – A Look Ahead into Week 8
Orlando City SC v New York Red Bulls
The second-best in the East hosts the third best. Orlando City SC has shut out their opponents in back-to-back games. The New York Red Bulls have won all three away games this season. A New York win would swap these two in the standings. A loss would be brutal for the Red Bulls’ position.
Prediction – Draw: 1-1
Minnesota United v Chicago Fire
After seven games, the Chicago Fire has scored five goals, the least in the MLS. After seven games, the Fire allowed two goals, the least in the MLS. Thank 17-year-old phenom Gaga Slonina for keeping this team afloat. They head to Minnesota United’s gorgeous stadium, as the Loons have lost only two of the first seven matches.
Prediction – Minnesota United: 1-0
DC United v New England Revolution
Both teams have won one of the last five games played. Both teams have had dramatic falls from last year’s standings. The New England Revolution have finally recorded a second win to break a nasty streak after their record-setting 2021 campaign. DC United has plummeted to the last spot in the East, after barely missing out of the playoffs last season. Sometimes, two mediocre teams make for fun games?
Prediction – New England Revolution: 3-1
Full-Time – The Rest of the Slate
Dallas v Houston
Philadelphia v Montréal
Austin v Vancouver
Kansas City v Columbus
Colorado v Charlotte
Portland v Salt Lake
San Jose v Seattle
LA Galaxy v Nashville
Miami v Atlanta
Cincinnati v LAFC
NYCFC v Toronto
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