Roura: MLS Extra Time

Extra Time Column logo. - Graphic / Alex Roura

90+1’ – Storylines

Wow. Already two months have flown by in this MLS Season. As teams hit the quarter mark of the year, it is obvious that the league is at its pinnacle in history.

From hat-tricks, comebacks, defense, score-fests, this week had it all.

Cristian Espinoza took home MLS Player of the Week honors after a three-goal, one assist performance to guide the San Jose Earthquakes to their first win in the 2022 campaign. An ugly year for the Quakes finally has some light with a brilliant performance by their winger.

After sacking their manager a few days ago, DC United fans were treated to a thrilling 3-2 victory over the New England Revolution, as new acquisition Taxi Fountas notched a pair of goals and an assist on top, snapping a skid of four straight losses.

Over a third of the teams were held to zero goals this week, proving that defenses in this league are not to be messed with. While some teams had stellar goalkeeping, teams like the NY Red Bulls and Charlotte FC refused to give up a shot on goal, giving their keepers the day off.

If defense is not your thing, NYCFC vs. Toronto was the game for you. Simply put, the defense was as nonexistent as your chances of getting the perfect parking spot on campus without waking up at 6 a.m. Nine goals over 16 shots on target for both teams. Toronto, despite losing, had four goals over five shots placed on goal. Talk about quality over quantity. 

90+3’ – Week 8 Highs and Lows

High: Comebacks

Who doesn’t love a come from behind victory? Six of ten wins this weekend had the winning side trailing. FC Dallas took until the 87th minute to put up two goals in a six-minute span to defeat Texas rivals Houston Dynamo. The San Jose Earthquakes notched their win with an Espinoza penalty kick in the fourth minute of stoppage during the 4-3 win.

It is also worth mentioning the teams that decided to not stage a comeback (NYRB, Minnesota, LA Galaxy, Austin) all won by shutouts. 

Low: MLS Power Rankings

The Seattle Sounders had a 2-3-1 record entering this week. They sat in 11th place in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, teams like LAFC, Philadelphia, Dallas and Austin only had one defeat. 

Despite all of that, the power rankers placed Seattle in first place. Although it is cool that they are in the finals for a North American tournament, this does not mean they get to be ahead of everyone in the MLS Power Rankings. 

If that is not enough to prove they should not be there, they lost again this week, against the previously mentioned Earthquakes.

High: New York Road Bulls

The New York Red Bulls cannot lose. That is, on the road. They became the first team in 24 years to win their first four road matches to open a season. The win over Orlando gave them a share of second in the conference.

They still have not won a game at home, but this week they play Chicago away. Phew.

Low: Columbus Crew Fans

Winning the MLS Cup two years ago seems like a century ago. Now, the Crew sits in the bottom three in their conference with only two points over their last five games– the worst in the league.

Even worse, the Crew dealt veteran, beloved forward Gyasi Zardes to the Colorado Rapids. Perhaps football is the way to go this year for Ohio residents.

90+5’ – A Look Ahead into Week 9:

Nashville SC v Philadelphia Union

At last, Nashville SC will get to play in their new stadium after eight games on the road. GEODIS Park is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the USA. As a welcoming treat, Nashville gets to invite the best in the East to its first match. 

Prediction – Union: 2-0

Austin FC v Houston Dynamo

The second consecutive in-state match for the Dynamo vs. the second-placed team in its second year. Austin FC, one fun club to watch this year, will look to keep up with LAFC at the top of the table.

Prediction – Austin FC: 2-1

Toronto FC v FC Cincinnati

Not only do these teams play on Saturday, April 30, but they will also match up again on Wednesday. May 4! After failing to gather a point for the first time in four matches, Toronto FC is poised to rebound against a team that has not found its footing in the league since joining.

Saturday Prediction – Toronto FC: 3-1

Wednesday Prediction – Toronto FC: 2-0

Full-Time – The Rest of the Slate:

Salt Lake v LA Galaxy

Montreal v Atlanta

Columbus v DC

New England v Miami

Orlando v Charlotte

NY Red Bulls v Chicago

Kansas City v Dallas

Colorado v Portland

NYCFC v San Jose

LAFC v Minnesota

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.