MLS

Atlanta United blown away 6-1 by the Columbus Crew, Morris' four-goal haul lifts Seattle

By Sports Desk March 26, 2023

Atlanta United lost their position atop the MLS' Eastern Conference standings after a surprise 6-1 hammering at the hands of the Columbus Crew on Saturday.

Atlanta boasted three wins and a draw from their first four matches of the season – and had won their past two by a combined margin of 8-1 – but they were no match for an inspired Columbus outfit in front of their home fans.

Crew forward Christian Ramirez bagged a brace in the second half, while Alexandru Matan was credited with three assists in Columbus' second win of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Seattle Sounders striker Jordan Morris raced out into the Golden Boot lead with a four-goal haul in his side's 4-1 away win against Sporting Kansas City.

The 28-year-old American more than doubled his three goals from the opening four matches, opening up a two-goal lead on rest of the competition.

With Atlanta going down, it was the New England Revolution capitalising and taking over as the Eastern Conference leaders, overcoming a first-half strike from Christian Benteke to defeat D.C. United 2-1.

The loss left D.C. near the bottom of the standings with four points from five matches, where they are joined by Charlotte after their 1-1 home draw against New York Red Bulls.

Cincinnati are the only undefeated team in the East through five matches, securing their third win with a 1-0 triumph over Nashville, to go with two draws as they sit one point behind New England.

A 92nd-minute winner gave the Chicago Fire a 3-2 victory away from home against Inter Miami – their first win of the season – while two goals in the first 10 minutes were enough for Orlando City to prevail 2-1 against the Philadelphia Union.

LA Galaxy remain winless after battling out a 0-0 draw against the Portland Timbers, while it was more dramatic for the Vancouver Whitecaps as they needed a 98th minute equaliser to snatch a point in their 1-1 tie with Minnesota.

Austin FC let a golden opportunity to climb the Western Conference slip away as they dropped points in a 1-1 home draw against the cellar-dwelling Colorado Rapids, who doubled their points tally for the season with the result.

A 55th-minute penalty from Amine Bassi was enough to give the Houston Dynamo a 1-0 win against New York City, while expansion side St. Louis City continued their perfect start to their first season with a convincing 4-0 drubbing of Real Salt Lake, leaving them the only side with the maximum 15 points from five matches.

In the late window, Los Angeles FC benefitted from a first-half red card to defeat FC Dallas 2-1, while Toronto FC battled out a scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

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  • New England Revolution v New York City FC: Porter committed to Revs' fight New England Revolution v New York City FC: Porter committed to Revs' fight

    Caleb Porter has praised the New England Revolution’s fighting spirit as they aim to turn their luck around against New York City FC on Saturday.

    New England currently sit bottom of the Eastern Conference with seven points after winning just two of their opening 12 matches in the league.

    After losing back-to-back games, the pressure is increasing on Porter, though he does not shy away from the hard work needed to move them up the table.

    "This team is united," Porter said. "They're fighting. We're all committed to this club and this season.

    "This team is on board. They're fighting. They're not happy with the results, but the locker room is together. The key is to win the next game.

    "The other thing is, I'm not going anywhere; I'm committed to this club. I know where we're going to get to. I'm not backing down. I'm not wavering. I'm not flinching."

    NYCFC sit in third, eight points behind leaders Inter Miami, after losing just one of their last nine MLS matches.

    They made it three wins on the bounce with a win over local rivals Red Bulls last weekend, but Nick Cushing is reluctant to get too excited about their current run.

    "We've won some football games, that's all we've won," he said.

    "We're in a solid position in the league, but in four weeks’ time, I could be saying 'we haven't won that' or 'we should've won that'.

    "It's about taking every game as it comes and just keep winning football games. We enjoy our wins, but we focus on the next games. Now, I want to win [against New England]."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New England Revolution – Carles Gil

    Gil has been directly involved in New England’s last two goals scored at home, scoring their most recent and assisting the other.

    Overall, he is the club’s top scorer this season with four goals, twice as many as their next most prolific players, Tomas Chancalay and Giacomo Vrioni. 

    NYCFC – Santiago Rodriguez

    Rodriguez assisted one of NYCFC’s two goals in their win over the Red Bulls last Saturday. The Uruguayan (five goals, four assists) has been involved in half of the 18 goals NYCFC have scored this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION – NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION WIN

    Dating back to the end of last season, New England have lost 14 of their last 18 MLS matches (three wins, one draw incl. playoffs), including losing nine of 12 to start this season (two wins, one draw). The Revs’ seven points are their fewest after 12 matches of a season in club history.

    NYCFC recorded a 2-0 home win over New England on April 13. However, they have never defeated the Revs twice in a single regular season before.

    NYCFC have won six of their last seven matches (one defeat) including each of the last three in a row. They have won consecutive games away from home but won just one of their previous 24 on the road in all competitions (nine draws, 14 defeats).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New England Revolution – 41.2%

    Draw – 30.3%

    NYCFC – 28.5%

  • Philadelphia Union secure goalkeeper Andre Blake with contract extension Philadelphia Union secure goalkeeper Andre Blake with contract extension

     Philadelphia Union have officially announced the signing of a contract extension with their star goalkeeper, Andre Blake. The new deal keeps Blake with the club through 2026, with an option for 2027, further cementing his legacy as a cornerstone of the team's success.

    Blake, 33, stands out as the only player to have won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award three times. Additionally, he is a four-time MLS All-Star and a three-time MLS Best XI selection, accolades that underscore his exceptional talent and consistency.

    "Since joining the team, Andre has been a foundational piece to the club’s achievements," Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. "He has shown himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in North America, and along with his proven sporting value, has taken on a leadership role both on and off the field. His guidance will play an important role in the further development of our young players and the team’s success. We’re happy to have reached an agreement to keep him here in Philadelphia."

    Since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Blake has been a stalwart in goal for the Union, amassing 73 clean sheets in 236 matches. His stellar performances have been instrumental, particularly during the club’s 2020 campaign when they clinched the Supporters' Shield.

    Blake's influence extends beyond club soccer. As an integral part of the Jamaican national team, he has earned 75 caps and often serves as the team's captain. His leadership and skill have helped the Reggae Boyz reach two Concacaf Gold Cup finals.

    With Blake’s extension, Philadelphia Union fortify a veteran-heavy core as they aim for a seventh consecutive appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. His presence in goal not only enhances the team's defensive solidity but also provides a role model for younger players coming through the ranks.

    Blake’s commitment to the Union and his continued excellence between the posts signal a bright future for both the player and the club. As Philadelphia Union continue their pursuit of further silverware, having a player of Blake’s caliber and experience will undoubtedly be a significant advantage.

     

     

     

  • LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo: Vanney hoping home run can build momentum LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo: Vanney hoping home run can build momentum

    Greg Vanney is aiming to build some momentum for the LA Galaxy as they look to end a run of four draws against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

    The Galaxy are on a five-match winless run in MLS, with another goalless draw against Charlotte last weekend seeing them drop to fourth in the Western Conference.

    After a run of four away games in their previous five outings, LA are now due to play four of their next five at Dignity Health Sports Park, which is also where they got their last win.

    "This is a big phase for us to really build some momentum in all ways, being in front of our fans and being at home for this next stretch," said Vanney, as quoted in The Galactic Tribune.

    "Obviously, we've got to go on the road once more, but hopefully build on the momentum and get some points."

    Houston Dynamo have won just one of their last six MLS matches and dropped more points in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas last Saturday as they sit eighth in the West.

    Ben Olsen is upbeat about the Dynamo’s recent performances, though he admits they need to learn lessons from their recent results.

    "The reality is the performances aren't necessarily resembling the points that we're getting," he said.

    "We're actually in a nice rhythm of consistency. I know it's hard to say that when we're not maximising points, but the way we're going about the games is pretty good, and it's pretty consistent.

    "We'll keep working at it. That's all you can do. What else are you going to do, quit?"

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    LA Galaxy – Joseph Paintsil

    Paintsil has contributed to at least one goal in four straight home matches (two goals, three assists), including recording an assist in the last three.

    Only one Galaxy player in the last decade has recorded an assist in four straight home matches: Douglas Costa between June and August 2023.

    Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

    Amine Bassi scored his first goal of the season in Houston’s 1-1 draw with Dallas last weekend, becoming the ninth different Dynamo player to find the back of the net.

    However, only one player has netted more than a single goal for them this campaign, with Aliyu netting four.

    MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

    The Galaxy’s 0-0 draw with Charlotte on Saturday was their fourth consecutive draw and they’ve shared the points a joint-league high seven times this year. LA have drawn five consecutive regular-season matches only once before, doing so in May 2009.

    The Dynamo have lost only one of their last six away matches against the Galaxy dating back to 2017 (two wins, three draws). Houston have kept clean sheets in each of their last two visits, and the only team to keep three straight clean sheets at the Galaxy in MLS play is the Columbus Crew, who did so between 2004 and 2006.

    However, the Dynamo have alternated between wins and losses on the road this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Austin in their last away match. Houston have won four away matches in a single regular season just once since 2014, winning four times away from home in 2022, including at the Galaxy.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    LA Galaxy – 42.4%

    Draw – 25.6%

    Houston Dynamo – 32%

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