Week four of MLS finished up on Sunday with an RSL victory over Toronto FC. Here are some winners and losers of this weekend’s action:
Winners: DC United: DC United, who finished first in the Eastern Conference last season, bounced back from a disappointing result last week to earn an impressive victory over the Western Conference superpower and defending champions LA Galaxy. They got their first win in over six years against the squad, who were missing two of their top players due to international duties: Gyasi Zardes is with the USA in preparation for a friendly against Switzerland, and star forward Robbie Keane was playing with Ireland in their Euro 2016 qualifying match against Poland.
Chris Pontius scored for DC, who were without a few key players of their own. Forward Eddie Johnson was out due to a heart condition, and midfielder Collin Martin was unable to play because of an ailing groin. United will hope to build off the shocking victory on Friday when they travel to Orlando.
Losers: Philadelphia Union: The Union’s struggles continued in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Fire. In four games so far this season, Philly has failed to win a game. After two draws to start the season, they lost to FC Dallas last week and the Fire this week.
The goal that Chicago scored was on yet another goalkeeping blunder by Rais M’Bolhi. The Algerian keeper, who has excelled internationally, had a header off of a set piece fly by him while Rais was diving to punch the ball away. He hesitated for a split second, causing him to be late in getting to the ball. He ended up nowhere close to it and the Union went down by a goal.
The main concern may not be goalkeeper, though. Their offense generated almost no chances, which has been a recurring problem in recent games. Other than a 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake, the Union have failed to score in a game this season. 0-0 was the score of their opening game against Colorado and they have lost 2-0 and 1-0 in their two matches since the RSL game. This is something that needs to be fixed if they are going to turn it around this year.
Winners: Real Salt Lake: RSL played host to revamped Toronto FC Sunday night, who is led by American stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, and Italian Sebastian Giovinco. Real Salt Lake had the lead for much of the game thanks to Luke Mulholland’s goal in the 38th minute, but TFC’s Jackson Goncalves, who had entered the game as a substitute, scored three minutes before the 90th minute.
It appeared as though RSL had given up the lead, but a goal from 19-year old Jordan Allen, his first career MLS goal, gave them the lead for good in the 88th minute. It showed that RSL, who are looking to enter the postseason in the competitive Western Conference, can be resilient and pull off a victory. It also showed something else: Backup goalkeeper Jeff Attinella is capable of playing extremely well. With All-Star keeper Nick Rimando in Europe for the USMNT, Attinella played sensationally. So when Rimando is elsewhere, which may be a frequent occurrence, RSL can count on their backup to help them get a win.
Losers: FC Dallas: Dallas, who are off to a torrid start to the season, faced their toughest test of the season at home against the Seattle Sounders, who finished atop the Western Conference last season. The match finished 0-0, FC Dallas’ first game this season in which they failed to get a win.
It was a huge opportunity for Dallas to get a big win against an elite team and prove that they can be a force come playoff time. Forward Blas Perez, who has three goals in three games, was away with his international team, Panama. Defenseman Kellyn Acosta was given a red card, forcing Dallas to play with 10 men for much of the game. The absence of Perez and the red card to Acosta helped the Sounders come away with a draw.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Harrison Hamm