The snow game between the Colorado Rapids and New York Red Bulls wins the award for sloppiest MLS match ever. With barrels of snow falling the entire 90-plus minutes, neither team completed more than 60% of their passes, even while using a magnificent neon orange ball. None of the players on the field seemed to want to move all that much, and understandably so, because all 22 of them were probably frozen in all areas. Sitting in the warmth of my living room, I was entertained by the white-out that was Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The players probably didn't feel the same way.
There were goals scored, though. Three of them, in fact. Jermaine Jones—making his debut for the Rapids—slotted home a perfectly-placed Mekeil Williams pass in the 21st-minute, Red Bulls center-back Ronald Zubar found himself unmarked on a cross sent in by Sacha Kljestan and nodded in the equalizer, and, with around 10 minutes remaining, Dominique Badji scored the winner with an assist from Jones.
RBNY now sit rock-bottom in MLS after their sixth loss in seven matches. The reason why? They can't score.
The Rapids, meanwhile, elevated themselves to third in the Western Conference with another three points, just a point behind Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. Why? Because they have finally found a way to put balls in the net.
Here's what else happened on the weekend:
Jordan Morris, Seattle beat Philly
The Seattle Sounders had trouble in attack over the first few weeks of the season, struggling to find a balance between all their talented front players. They scored just four goals in five games, and even conjured rumors of Sigi Schmid on the hot seat.
They took a step towards improvement on Saturday night.
Jordan Morris, their well-publicized offseason signing, finally scored his first goal in a Sounders shirt, and looked threatening all game in his more natural center forward position. He fed off Clint Dempsey behind him and Oalex Anderson and Andreas Ivanschitz on the wing, constantly challenging Philly's young defense—which featured 2016 top-five draft pick Joshua Yaro, making his league debut, at center-back.
The Sounders got the win by a score of 2-1, with Morris grabbing a goal and an assist. Whether this lineup—with Morris at center forward instead of Nelson Valdez—will be a future solution remains to be seen, but there is some hope to be taken from this game for Seattle.
Toronto FC earn win over D.C. United
TFC look like a very, very good team.
They had trouble finding their footing early in the season—coach Greg Vanney was still trying to figure out how to line up his exceptionally talented roster—but with Jozy Altidore playing the full 90 minutes for the first time this season, they got their second victory of the season at RFK Stadium against D.C. United.
With Altidore dragging defenders out of position and opening up holes for Sebastian Giovinco, the attack created plenty of chances and ended up with a 1-0 win. Michael Bradley has impressed as a defensive midfielder—staying in front of the backline and keeping D.C.'s attack at bay—and as a distributor from deep—constantly breaking open United's backline with incisive through-balls to Altidore and Giovinco.
This team is clicking on all cylinders. Just imagine how they will do when they get back home after an eight-game road trip.
Orlando City SC, New England Revolution play to a thrilling draw
This just about sums it up:
Orlando City and the New England Revolution both were hit with absolutely horrendous calls from referee Baldomero Toledo late in the game—resulting in goals for both—but the game finished 2-2, splitting the points and at least somewhat neutralizing Toledo's impact. It was a thrilling match whatever the result, and both teams should be happy with the result.
Orlando especially, because they struggled to contain the Revs' attack and were constantly punished in the final third by turnovers in the midfield. Antonio Nocerino had a rough game in defensive midfield, furthering the argument that it should be Cristian Higuita starting alongside Darwin Ceren.
A two striker system with Julio Baptista and Cyle Larin was successful in the late goings, when Larin was subbed on. It's unlikely we will see a 4-4-2 at any point from OCSC due to Kaka, but those two caused a lot of problems for the New England backline.
From a Revolution perspective, center-back Je-Vaughn Watson—starting in the middle with Jose Goncalves out—was impressive while Chris Tierney was again crucial in their left wing-oriented attack. They have a lot of goal-scoring options to throw at teams, and they proved that again with a good showing at the Citrus Bowl.
Points of emphasis
—Columbus Crew SC earned their first win of the season on Saturday against NYCFC. The attack looked promising—with Ethan Finlay carving out more opportunities on the wing and Justin Meram making his case for player of the week—and the defense did well to shut down David Villa and the NYC attack. There were some promising signs.
—Real Salt Lake stayed undefeated with a narrow victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Juan Manuel Martinez got the winning goal with an assist from Joao Plata—who is an early candidate for MVP. RSL have played like the best team in the league.
—The Portland Timbers defeated the San Jose Earthquakes in their second game without Darlington Nagbe. Fanendo Adi scored twice and Jack McInerney had a good game at striker. Maybe having two forwards up top could be a good thing for Portland.
—Sporting Kansas City lost to FC Dallas on Sunday. Mauro Rosales's magnificent free-kick was the winning goal in a 2-1 game, which lofted FCD to first place in the Western Conference. Even without Mauro Diaz, the hosts played well in attack and earned a huge victory over one of the best teams in the league.
—The Montreal Impact defeated the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon, moving them three points ahead of the rest of the Eastern Conference. They're looking pretty good, and will only get better when they have Didier Drogba in the lineup.