By: Danny Shin
Week 6 of the 2016 MLS season came to an ugly end in Los Angeles on Sunday. After a lot of controversy regarding the referees last week, not a single red card was handed out over the weekend.
But one should have been given, and I’ll get to that in a bit. But first, a recap of the rest of the Week 6 matches:
Philadelphia Union 2-1 Orlando City SC
Philadelphia scored early and late in a dramatic win, handing Orlando their first loss of the season. CJ Sapong opened the scoring with a goal in the second minute, but Orlando erased the lead just before halftime through Adrian Winter. A set piece was the difference, as Tranquillo Barnetta’s free kick gave the Union a 2-1 lead in the 90th minute.
If this first month of the season has been any indication, this Union squad will be a much tougher team than in the recent past.
Montreal Impact 2-0 Columbus Crew SC
After six weeks, only one team remains winless in MLS. Who would have thought that it would be the reigning Eastern Conference champions? The Crew suffered their third loss of the season on Saturday and were thoroughly outplayed in the second half. Hassoun Camara scored on a corner kick early in the second half and Kyle Bekker doubled Montreal’s lead in the 88th minute. The bottom line for Columbus: they must do better than two shots on target.
New England Revolution 1-1 Toronto FC
A perfect cross from Je-Vaughn Watson lead to a Kelyn Rowe header in the 18th minute to put New England up 1-0. Toronto equalized in the 58th minute off a Sebastian Giovinco deflected shot. The cold New England crowd was very upset with the officiating throughout the match, especially late when Lee Nguyen thought he had a game-winner. Unfortunately, it came off a cross that had gone over the line before re-entering play.
Through five road games, Toronto should be absolutely thrilled to have five points. On the other hand, New England is still trying to get things together.
DC United 4-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
DC United picked up their first win of the season in dominating fashion over Vancouver. DC had scored just three goals in their first five matches, and they matched that total in just 52 minutes. Fabian Espindola and Alavaro Saborio each scored two goals. While the Whitecaps were missing their three designated players, the loss is still inexcusable.
New York Red Bulls 0-2 Sporting KC
Even though the Red Bulls had 15 shots in the first half alone, they still found themselves down a goal at halftime. The hosts were less potent coming out of the halftime, and Dom Dwyer out-muscled Chris Duvall on a long throw to double SKC’s lead in the 60th minute. A penalty four minutes later gave New York a chance to cut the lead in half, but Bradley Wright-Phillips was denied by Tim Melia.
Along with Columbus, the Red Bulls have had a disappointing season thus far. In five games, they have been shut out four times. To put that into perspective, they were shut out just three times across all competitions in 2015.
FC Dallas 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes
FC Dallas’ defense fell asleep in the fourth minute, as they failed to pick up Alberto Quintero. The Panamian midfielder directed a Quincy Amarikwa pass into the top right corner to give the Earthquakes an early 1-0 lead. Amarikwa also set up Chris Wondolowski’s 55th minute goal and that would be enough to give San Jose a huge point on the road against one of the top teams in the West.
Real Salt Lake 1-0 Colorado Rapids
RSL won the possession battle, but actually had fewer shots than their Rocky Mountain rivals. The breakthrough came in the 72nd minute, when Axel Sjoberg headed the ball past Zac MacMath and Joao Plata had en easy finish in front of net.
Very quietly, Real Salt Lake is the lone unbeaten team in MLS and trail SKC by one point atop the Western Conference.
Houston Dynamo 1-1 Seattle Sounders
A stoppage time goal from Chad Marshall in the second half earned a point for Seattle. Houston broke through in the 35th minute on a Giles Barnes volley. Seattle, on the other hand, produced two shots on goal through the first 45 minutes, both of which came on free kicks. Instead of pressing up the field in the second half, Houston dropped back and invited more and more pressure from the visitors.
This is the third time this season in which Houston has taken a lead and failed to hang on and win. The late draw might just give Seattle the spark they need after a slow start to the season.
New York City FC 0-0 Chicago Fire
The Fire appeared to open the scoring in the 60th minute on a header from Johnathan Campbell. However, the goal was called back for offside. Looking at the replay, it was clear that Campbell was not offside, but Johan Koppelhoff, who was in a offside position, blocked the linesman’s view of the ball. Both teams had chances to score, but Chicago couldn’t find the back of the net and Matt Lampson made eight saves at the other end to deny NYCFC.
Through five games, both teams are 1-1-3. New York has yet to win at Yankee Stadium this season, while the Fire tied the MLS record for most away games without a win at 27.
LA Galaxy 1-1 Portland Timbers
Finally, we get to the controversy.
This was a physical, back-and-forth game. Fanendo Adi put Portland ahead 1-0 in the 52nd minute on a beautiful curling shot. LA equalized in the 82nd minute on an own goal. Nat Borchers attempted to clear a Sebatian Lleget cross in the box, but instead redirected the ball into his own net. But the biggest talking point of the match was Darlington Nagbe’s injury following a malicious challenge from Nigel de Jong. Click the link below to view the challenge:
It should have been a straight red card, but de Jong only received a yellow and Nagbe had to be taken off on a stretcher. Expect MLS to hand down a multiple-game suspension for de Jong for such a vicious tackle.