Week Ten arrived in Major League Soccer and it was another week with gripping entertainment in both conferences as Toronto FC toppled two of the league's premier teams, the Philadelphia Union finally got their win and the San Jose Earthquakes put in a fantastic performance at home.
Toronto FC pick up big wins against Orlando City and the Sounders
With a midweek matchup against Orlando City and then an away trip to face Seattle Sounders, many would have expected the toll of those two matches to show in some way for Toronto FC. It didn't. They followed up their impressive 2-1 win over Orlando City with a 1-0 win against the Sounders and pushed themselves firmly back into the conversation of the MLS' top teams. On Wednesday night, Sebastian Giovinco was the star as he scored both of Toronto's goals against Orlando and then on Sunday, it was Jozy Altidore's turn to step to the fore as he dispatched a 23rd-minute penalty to give Toronto the away win.
Head coach Greg Vanney has managed his team well in a period where they will be playing a lot of matches in a short amount of time and his stars are rising to the occasion as well. He rested a lot of key players against the Sounders and it worked out well for him. If they continue on this form which sees them sitting on top of the Eastern conference after four straight wins, who would back against Toronto from making another playoff run this year, especially if Giovinco and Altidore are consistent in front of goal again this year.
Philadelphia win, finally
After nine matches, the Union finally picked up their first three points of the season as they saw out an impressive 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. Pre-match predictions thought that the Red Bulls had enough in them to at least get a draw but Philadelphia had other plans. The home fans had to wait until the latter stages of the second half but it was worth the wait when CJ Sapong broke the deadlock in the 74th minute not long after being denied the opening goal by Luis Robles a few minutes earlier. His effort deflected off a defender and away from Robles to give the Union a 1-0 lead. Sapong was on hand to add the second in the 81st minute after nodding home Chris Pontius' pull back from close range. Sapong then completed his hat-trick when he converted from the spot in the 85th minute after Damien Perrinelle had been adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. It was a fantastic night for Sapong who rose to the occasion and gave Philadelphia their first win since August of last year.
The Red Bulls will wonder what could have been when in the 19th minute, Andre Blake made a great stop on his line to deny Kemar Lawrence from giving New York the lead. In the end, the Red Bulls were struck down by Sapong and company, and now have five consecutive home losses on their record which leaves them in fifth place in the Eastern conference.
Wondolowski, the Earthquakes brush aside Portland
Before this weekend, Portland Timbers was the pick of the teams in the Western conference and headed into their match at the Avaya Stadium full of confidence. Unfortunately for them, the Earthquakes are one of the strongest home teams in the MLS and proved that by dispatching Portland with a 3-0 win. Chris Wondolowski, as he always does, led the way for the Earthquakes. After a bit of pinball in the box, Wondolowski sent an effort goalwards that Jahmir Hyka pounced on from close range to give the Earthquakes the lead in the seventh minute. The home side did not let up and continued to pepper Portland's goal with shots as they looked to extend their lead. They did just that in the 31st minute when Wondolwski scored his first with a curling effort that nestled into the far corner and put the Earthquakes up by two goals. The Earthquakes captain then beat the offside trap in the 55th minute to latch onto Florian Jungwirth 's pass and neatly finish past a diving Jeff Atinella to wrap things up for San Jose.
This win pushes San Jose into fifth and Wondolowski is helping the team push up the table with his four goals and five assists so far this season. Portland was a depleted force coming into this match but full credit has to go the Earthquakes who started the match fast and did not let up until they were in the final minutes of the second half. The Timbers have now dropped to third in the West and will look to bounce back from this loss once they regain the services of the likes of the injured Diego Valeri in the coming weeks.
Minnesota shock Sporting KC
After their loss last week, many thought that Minnesota United FC would not have enough in them to bounce back against a Sporting Kansas City side that is on the rise. They were all wrong as the home side found a 2-0 win against the visitors and added another big result to a weekend full of surprising results. Miguel Ibarra got down to the byline in the 22nd minute and pulled the ball back for an onrushing Abu Danladi to finish strongly with a one-time finish and give Minnesota the lead. Ibarra was not done and in the 39th minute, got forward again on the left to great effect. His cross found Christian Ramirez unmarked at the far post and the target man powered home his header from close range. From then on, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was called on to make several important saves as Sporting KC looked to find a way back into the match. Ultimately, Minnesota did enough to pick up an unlikely win against Sporting KC this weekend.
For Sporting KC, this game showed their over-reliance on Dom Dwyer who was in great form to grab a brace against the New York Red Bulls in midweek MLS action. Minnesota had a plan to mark Dwyer out of the game and it worked for the most part as the striker was unable to get as many looks on goal as he would like. No one else in Sporting colors was able to step up and take over the goalscoring mantle from Dwyer and that is something head coach Peter Vermes must look to address in the coming weeks. The win pushed Minnesota up to seventh in the West and after the rough start they had, the table will be a welcome sight this week for those in the Minnesota locker room.
Houston's attack blows away Orlando City
After struggling in front of goal against Toronto FC midweek, Orlando City was no match for the Houston Dynamo who stormed to a 4-0 win over the visitors. Romell Quioto could have put Houston ahead in the 12th minute but he sent his penalty well wide. The move that led up to the penalty was a warning sign for Orlando that the Houston offense was going to cause them trouble and they were unable to resolve that issue. Alberth Elis gave the Dynamo the lead in the 23rd minute when after a few stepovers, he fired low towards the near post. Orlando's goalkeeper, Joe Bendick should have saved the effort but instead, he let the ball sneak underneath him and gave Houston the lead. In the second half, as Orlando chased the game, Houston was deadly on the break and found their second goal in the 51st minute when Alex played a great ball from out wide to Mauro Manotas who was wide open and watched his shot squirm underneath Bendick to put Houston up by two. Manotas helped himself to his second of the night in the 65th minute when again the Dynamo caught Orlando on the counter and Quioto found Manotas in space inside the penalty area who finished well. Manotas then turned provider in the 75th minute when he set Quioto away on the break. Quioto made up for his penalty miss with a sumptuous chip over Bendick from just outside the box for Houston's fourth and final goal of the game.
It was a great night for the Dynamo who had been struggling as of late and were without the services of Eric Torres. Their potent attack came to the fore and ripped Orlando's heavy-legged defense in the second half with ease. Orlando themselves will look back on this two-match road losses as some to forget. Cyle Larin had a torrid time in front of goal against Toronto and against Houston, Bendik had a game to forget. Orlando will be back home next weekend where they have been a formidable team and will hope to bounce back there as well.
FC Dallas top the West after win against Real Salt Lake
FC Dallas are still the only undefeated team in the MLS and a 3-0 win over a faltering Real Salt Lake helped them keep that run going. A third-minute penalty by Maxi Urruti set Dallas off after he sent Max Van Oekel the wrong way. Dallas then had to weather some RSL pressure until the 67th minute when Matt Hedges headed home from Kellyn Acosta's corner kick. Urruti then finished things off in injury time with an audacious finish. The striker chipped Van Oekel after facing the goalkeeper one-on-one then stabbed the ball home with his studs to complete a nice night away for FC Dallas.
Urruti has been in stunning form so far this season for Dallas, having now scored six goals in seven matches and picked up an assist on the way. After a slow start to his Dallas career last year, Urruti seems to have found his rhythm and is now one of the more effective strikers in the league so far this season. Dallas now sits on top of the Western conference with this win while an injury-hit Real Salt Lake slide down into tenth place.
Atlanta United FC has hit their first stumbling block of the season after defeat last week and this time around, New York City FC added to their woes with a 3-1 win. David Villa scored the opener in the 17th minute but Carlos Carmona leveled things up in the 39th minute. Rodney Wallace and Maxi Moralez scored in the 60th and 61st minutes to push NYCFC ahead and give them all three points.
Columbus Crew SC came back from their consecutive losses to win against the New England Revolution by two goals to nil. Ola Kamara got the first goal of the day in the 13th minute and Argetine talisman Federico Higuaín scored the second and final in the 53rd minute. It was a solid win for the home side who were looking to right the ship again after recent performances.
The LA Galaxy came back from two-nil down to end the match in a two-all draw against the Chicago Fire. David Accam scored a 13th minute penalty to give the Fire the lead and Nemanja Nikolić added a second three minutes later. The half-time break was exactly what the home side needed and the Galaxy found a way through to tie the game thanks to goals by Daniel Steres and Giovinco Dos Santos in the 56th and 65th minutes.
Brek Shea found the winning goal for Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the 84th minute against the Colorado Rapids to give the Whitecaps a vital road win, their second in as many matches. The Rapids continue to struggle and seemingly do not have any answers at this stage of the season to their poor form.
D.C. United could not carry forward their good form from last week's win over Atlanta and succumbed to a 13th minute goal by Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla which gave the Montreal Impact the win. It was a fine effort by the teenager as he dribbled past a few defenders before firing low into the corner of the net.