MLS

Both conferences tighten up in MLS as FC Dallas defeat LA Galaxy

By Sports Desk May 15, 2022

FC Dallas placed themselves in the race for top spot in the Western Conference, defeating Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 in the MLS on Saturday.

Three goals in the opening 23 minutes, including a brace from Jesus Ferreira, set the Toros up for a critical three points after slip-ups from both Austin FC and Los Angeles FC.

Douglas Costa's well-taken free-kick in the 67th minute proved to be mere consolation, as the Galaxy failed to break Dallas down and force their way back into the contest.

Dallas now sit second in the West, a point off LAFC, who conceded two penalties in the opening 30 minutes to lose 2-0 to Colorado Rapids.

With the win, the Toros were able to go past Galaxy and Austin, who let slip a 1-0 lead at half-time following Daniel Pereira's red card to lose 2-1 to Real Salt Lake.

There were goals galore elsewhere in the West, with Portland Timbers giving Sporting KC a 7-2 trouncing while Houston Dynamo defeated Nashville SC 2-0. The Vancouver Whitecaps and SJ Earthquakes played out a 3-3 draw.

Elsewhere, Philadelphia Union's 1-1 draw with New York RB has made for up a three-way tie atop the Eastern Conference.

Daniel Gazdag put the Union ahead after some neat combination with Sergio Santos at the top of the penalty area in the 47th minute, but Luquinhas managed to restore parity with his goal in the 66th minute.

They are joined at the top of the East following respective wins for CF Montreal and Orlando City over Charlotte and Toronto FC.

New York City were able to make up ground with their 2-0 win over Columbus Crew and Cincinnati beat Chicago Fire 2-1, while Inter Miami and DC United played out a 2-2 draw. 

 

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    Chris Armas has full faith in the depth of his Colorado Rapids squad as he ponders potential changes ahead of Saturday's clash with CF Montreal in MLS.

    The Rapids are enjoying an impressive campaign and currently sit fifth in the Western Conference standings, nine points adrift of leaders Real Salt Lake.

    They thrashed St. Louis City 3-0 on the road on Wednesday after overcoming Austin FC last weekend, and at the end of a busy week, Armas will likely make some changes.

    "We'll take a hard look and think about fresh legs and then tactically what makes the most sense, but I have a lot of confidence in our roster," Armas said.

    "I have a lot of confidence in the depth, confidence in players' abilities to suffer and increase the comfort zones to suffer and to endure a little bit more physically. 

    "It's a difficult part of any coach's job. Only 11 guys can start and you only use a finite amount to divvy out. We'll take a close look, but again, I have a lot of confidence. 

    "We have really strong internal competition that's driving the team forward and then I can take the tough decisions, but that's my job."

    Montreal, meanwhile, sit 12th in the Eastern Conference after being pegged back in a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls last time out.

    Midfielder Bryce Duke believes adjusting to the altitude in Denver will be a major test for them next time out, saying: "Getting here two days before the game helps us with our preparation. 

    "It gives us an extra day of practice in these conditions. Our staff is working on a gameplan to help us acclimate to the altitude."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Colorado Rapids – Djordje Mihailovic 

    Mihailovic secured the first hat-trick of his career against St. Louis City on Wednesday, becoming the third Rapids player with a treble in a road game in any MLS competition and the first to do so since 2009, joining Conor Casey (twice) and Jeff Cunningham.

    CF Montreal – Sunusi Ibrahim 

    Ibrahim scored the opening goal in Montreal's draw against the Red Bulls on Wednesday, his 12th goal in MLS play, all before turning 22 years old. 

    That is double the number of regular-season goals scored by any other player before turning 22 in Montreal's MLS history (six by Orji Okwonkwo).

    MATCH PREDICTION: COLORADO RAPIDS WIN

    This will be the first meeting between the Rapids and Montreal since a 6-3 home win for Colorado in August 2019. Those six goals are the most Colorado have ever scored in a match.

    While it may not be as convincing as that win, Colorado are fancied for another victory here.

    They have won each of their last two games to nil. The last time the Rapids had consecutive shutout victories was in March 2022, and the last time they won three straight with shutouts was in August 2007.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Colorado Rapids – 45.3%

    CF Montreal – 27.8%

    Draw – 26.9%

  • Los Angeles FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cherundolo aiming to live up to high expectations Los Angeles FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cherundolo aiming to live up to high expectations

    Steve Cherundolo is expecting to get back to winning ways back at home against the struggling San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

    LAFC's six-match winning streak in MLS ended in midweek, though Kei Kamara ensured they did not leave Austin FC empty-handed, salvaging a 1-1 draw.

    Sitting second in the Western Conference, LAFC are flying high, though their last defeat, on May 5, did come against San Jose.

    After two road matches on the bounce, Cherundolo is happy to be heading back to BMO Stadium.

    "With a little more composure and connecting on a few more passes, you can get the three points," said Cherundolo.

    "I still think we're in a good way, and we didn't get three points [against Austin] but we'll take it and carry this home to try and win on Saturday.

    "San Jose have the ability to score goals, which they've shown, but also concede. It's going to be a tough task, but we're at home and our expectations are always great at home."

    The Earthquakes sit bottom of the table, having won just three of their matches all season.

    They have failed to win any of their last six, including a 2-1 defeat to Portland Timbers in midweek, and Luchi Gonzalez urged his team to keep up their fight.

    "It's going to hurt because we had the game [against Portland] in our hands until we didn't," Gonzalez said. "It's about control.

    "We control the next moment, and we're never going to give up. I'm not going to ever give up. These guys won't give up. We're going to learn and keep trying to figure this out. That's what we can control."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Los Angeles FC – Kei Kamara

    Kamara scored his first goal of the season in the 90th minute of LAFC's 1-1 draw with Austin FC on Wednesday. It was the 150th goal of his MLS career (regular season and playoffs), the third player to reach that mark after Chris Wondolowski (173) and Landon Donovan (150).

    San Jose Earthquakes – Paul Marie

    Marie scored his second goal of the season with an outside-the-box finish against Portland Timbers.

    Marie has scored in five straight seasons for San Jose, but 2024 is the first in which he has scored more than once.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC WIN

    After San Jose lost each of their first six matches against Los Angeles in all competitions, they lost only three of the last 11 (W7 D1), including a 3-1 win on May 4. Still, LAFC have won seven of their nine all-time home matches against the 'Quakes (D1 L1).

    Dating back to last season, Los Angeles are unbeaten in their last 13 home games in all competitions with 11 wins and two draws. LAFC have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four competitive matches at home – it is the longest such streak in the team's history.

    Meanwhile, the Earthquakes have lost 13 of their 18 regular-season games in 2024 (W3 D2), including each of their last three. Dating back to last season, San Jose have conceded in 24 straight regular-season matches, one shy of their team record of 25 (in both 1999 & spanning 2017-18).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Los Angeles FC – 67.9%

    Draw – 17.8%

    San Jose Earthquakes – 14.4%

  • Orlando City v Chicago Fire: Klopas ready to put attacking unit to the test in Florida heat Orlando City v Chicago Fire: Klopas ready to put attacking unit to the test in Florida heat

    Chicago Fire Frank Klopas is pleased with the impact his attacking players have been working together this season and is looking forward to seeing how they fare against Orlando City.

    The Fire are level on points with their hosts heading into the game on Saturday but sit above them due to their superior goal difference.

    Chicago are currently on a four-match unbeaten streak, winning each of their last two matches, with Klopas praising his players for finding their attacking groove in recent weeks.

    "Going to Orlando, especially in this heat, we have to be good on the ball, it's so important, and we've worked hard on that," Klopas said. "The team is in a good moment, and they're also working extremely hard and that's very important to me.

    "We've been dangerous in games when we work as a unit and quickly transition.

    "It's been a big focus of ours from the beginning of the season to get more opportunities, and we've done a much better job with that, and we're showing our ability to finish chances."

    Orlando are in 14th but will leapfrog their opponents with a win. However, they will need to snap a five-match winless streak in order to do that.

    Head coach Oscar Pareja was once again left to lament late lapses of concentration in their 2-2 draw with Charlotte FC and is hoping to improve that against the Fire.

    "It has happened in recent games where we dominate possession that we concede late goals," the head coach said.

    "I think our vigilance is getting better, but [against Charlotte] we lost two duels, and they found a way to hurt us. We need to get better about controlling possession."

    PLAYER TO WATCH

    Orlando City – Facundo Torres

    Torres, who scored Orlando's equalizer on Wednesday against Charlotte, has scored four goals in five career MLS matches against the Fire, tied for his most against any opponent (also four vs the New York Red Bulls).

    Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers

    Cuypers has recorded a goal contribution in each of his last four appearances for the Fire, the first player to do so for the club since Robert Beric in 2020 (five straight).

    Chicago has posted a record of W3 D3 L1 in matches in which Cuypers has been involved in a goal this season and W1 D3 L7 when he has not.

    MATCH PREDICTION: ORLANDO CITY WIN

    Orlando are unbeaten in six straight matches against the Fire (W4 D2), though Chicago did manage a home draw when the sides met on May 29. The Lions have just one longer regular-season unbeaten run against a single opponent, going eight straight without defeat vs. Toronto FC from 2019-23.

    However, Orlando have lost four of their last five home matches, including each of the last two. They had suffered just one defeat in their previous 16 regular-season home matches (W9 D6) before this run.

    Meanwhile, Chicago have recorded back-to-back wins after winning just two of their first 16 matches this season (D6 L8). The Fire have netted six times over the two wins after scoring six total goals in their previous 11 games.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Orlando City – 54%

    Draw – 23.6%

    Chicago Fire – 22.4%

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