As we enter the month of August, Major League Soccer has become downright offensive. No, they haven’t offended anyone, but rather the attacking numbers we have seen the last two weeks have been extraordinary. With teams finding their best form in the middle of the season, and players returning to and/or entering the league, goal totals have skyrocketed. Last week we saw an astronomical average of 4.4 goals per game and this week that average held strong at 4.1. While competitive play is as entertaining as ever, the league showcased it’s best players in its annual All-Star match at midweek. The All-Stars took on Tottenham Hotspur in a high profile friendly in Colorado. Meanwhile, in New York, City’s final big-named Designated Player made his much-anticipated debut. If you missed anything this week, we’re here to get you caught up. Here are the most interesting things to happen in MLS this week:
The MLS All-Stars came out victorious over the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday. The annual MLS All-Star match, held in Colorado this time around, was an entertaining affair that saw the league’s best players defeat Spurs 2-1. Orlando City’s superstar Kaka was named Most Valuable Player on the night thanks to his goal and assist. His opening goal in the 20th minute came from a penalty after Nacer Chadli handled inside the box. MLS doubled their lead just three minutes later when Clint Dempsey and Kaka combined to set up David Villa for a nice finish. Tottenham’s Harry Kane had several opportunities in the first half to get his side on the board and would have earlier in the half if not for some miraculous saves by Nick Rimando. The Spurs star would not be denied, though. His 20-yard unstoppable strike got Tottenham on the board before halftime. The second half saw many changes and Tottenham controlling most of the play. They were unable to find an equalizer and MLS got the win.
One of the craziest matches of the season took place on Saturday night. Supporters’ Shield leaders D.C. United defeated Real Salt Lake by the amazing scoreline of 6-4. Defense was apparently optional on the night as the sides traded goal after goal in the second half until D.C. finally pulled away in the final minutes. Joao Plata got the visitors ahead in the opening minute of the match. Kyle Beckerman’s long range strike in the 21st minute gave RSL a 2-0 lead. D.C. would pull to within one before the halftime break thanks to a great curling effort by Chris Rolfe. The home side equalized eight minutes into the second half when Rolfe scored his second of the match, this time for the penalty spot. The best goal of the ten came from United’s Taylor Kemp who’s left-footed volley found the top corner from about 25-yards out to give his side a 3-2 lead. Within the next 10 minutes RSL would equalize, concede, and then equalize again to bring the score to 4-4 with 10 minutes remaining. Fabian Espindola’s scrappy goal in the 79th minute ended up being the game-winner. Nick Deleon’s left-footed curler from outside the box five minutes later would earn D.C. the three points in a wild match.
The LA Galaxy’s win at Colorado on Saturday night was the first away win since August 20, 2014, ironically also against the Rapids. The night didn’t start out so promising for LA as one of their former player, Marcelo Sarvas, opened the scoring for the Rapids in the 12th minute of the match. Sarvas was traded to Colorado before the season to make room for another midfielder, which turned out to be Steven Gerrard. LA struggled in the first half as they’ve done all season on the road, but they finally found an equalizer 10 minutes into the second half. A lovely interchange between Juninho and Sebastian Lletget found the latter in space on the left side of the box. Lletget’s well placed strike beat Clint Irwin to even the score. With 20 minutes to go, LA’s clutch goal poacher Alan Gordon put the defending champions in front when he tapped into an open net after a Gerrard shot was saved into his path. Robbie Keane would finish off the game in stoppage time to give LA a 3-1 win. The third win in four matches lifts LA into third place in the Western Conference.
First it was David Villa in the Spring, then it was Andrea Pirlo last week. This week it was Frank Lampard’s turn to make his MLS debut. The former England international signed with NYCFC in January, but spent the beginning of the season on loan with parent club Manchester City of the Premier League. Lampard entered the match in the 69th minute and looked very rusty in his 20 minutes of action. He misplaced passes and looked generally ineffective; it was a stark contrast to the debut of Pirlo. NYCFC’s midfield was overrun by the pacier Impact team, and struggled all day to keep up. Jason Kreis will have to tinker with his lineup to find the right combination of midfielders to succeed in this league. On Saturday, Mix Diskerud and Kwadwo Poku were the odd men out as they started on the bench. The side lack a true defensive midfielder, and it showed in the game against Montreal. This could turn into a major problem for City in the long run.
The defending Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders lost for the seventh time in eight matches on Saturday. Even the return of U.S. international Clint Dempsey couldn’t spark the Sounders back to life. With Obafemi Martins still out injured, Seattle failed to muster much it the way of attacking soccer. To rub salt in the wound, it was a familiar foe who would sink them on this night. Former Portland Timbers centerback Pa-Modou Kah, who came into the match with only one career MLS goal in 57 appearances, scored two goals in the 3-0 win by the Vancouver Whitecaps. The slumping Sounders have dropped all the way down to sixth in the West just three points above the playoff line. Meanwhile, the win coupled with FC Dallas losing against Chicago, puts the Caps in first place in the West.