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MLS Post-Mortem: Seattle stay alive, thrilling draw in New York

NYCFC’s defense fails them again, Jordan Morris saves Seattle and more from week 28

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

— FC Dallas looked like they were on the path to a key three points on the road against NYCFC until substitute Khiry Shelton locked onto a Jack Harrison cross with just over 10 minutes left in the game to knot it at 2-2, where it would remain. FCD are now at 52 points with four games left.

Maxi Urruti scored again after putting up two in the Open Cup final. Trying to keep his starting spot ahead of newly-acquired legend Carlos Ruiz, the Argentine had a goal and an assist at Yankee Stadium to follow up his brace against New England. FCD could have used this production a few months ago.

NYCFC have one of the worst defenses in MLS — a fact that sometimes goes unnoticed when talking about the team — and that showed again on Saturday. Urruti was able to easily carve them up over and over again, finishing with four successful dribbles (Mauro Diaz, by the way, had five).

Had Tesho Akindele finished this chance handed to him by NYC in the 90th-minute, things could have turned out very differently:

The Pigeons’ backline did pretty much everything wrong there, aside from the goal-saving block at the end. It should be noted that Steven Mendoza had a very similar chance for NYCFC just minutes later that forced a save as well.

Occurrences like these are far too common for Patrick Viera and co. Jefferson Mena, let’s face it, is pretty terrible, as is Jason Hernandez. Maybe the presence of Maxime Chanot (who was out against Dallas) will help fix things, but more likely, he won’t, because this seems to be more about defensive organization and communication than it is individual play, although it doesn’t help that Mena and Hernandez are basically USL-level players.

Having two aging midfielders (one of which went off with an injury in the first half) that don’t play defense also doesn’t exactly help the defensive cause.

Their slim chances of catching Toronto in the East were basically axed with more dropped points at home. Had they played better defense from the beginning, the standings would look considerably different.

— Jordan Morris’s second half header against the Whitecaps kept Seattle alive in the playoff race, if only for another week. The game finished 1-0, putting the Sounders in seventh-place in the Western Conference.

The ‘Caps hopes just took a huge hit, but I think we all knew they didn’t have much of a chance anyway.

Seattle, playing at home in front of almost 50,000 supporters, let the game hang around at 0-0 for too long. One can’t help but question Brian Schmetzer’s late-game decision-making. Chasing a goal with 30 minutes left, he put the Sounders in some variation of a 4-3-3 by subbing on Erik Friberg for Andreas Ivanschitz and Nelson Valdez for Alvaro Fernandez. This is sort of what it looked like:

football formations

That’s a bit crowded, don’t you think? Lodeiro’s space is clogged up by Valdez, Friberg, and Cristian Roldan, and the only width they have is from the full backs, Joevin Jones and Tyrone Mears. Why somebody like Oalex Anderson wasn’t brought on, I have no idea.

— Portland beat Philadelphia at home Saturday afternoon. Keegan Rosenberry, who has had an unbelievable rookie season at right back, had a bit of a shocker playing against Darren Mattocks. The Jamaican winger pressed tenaciously throughout the game and used his agility and quickness to beat Rosenberry on several occasions, most notably on the Timbers’ first goal:

Mattocks, starting in his second consecutive match after a long-term hamstring injury, was active all game, and finished with two assists. Caleb Porter had some interesting things to say after the game, per Stumptown Footy’s Chris Rifer:

DP Lucas Melano is losing his starting job to Mattocks. And rightfully so.

— Orlando got smashed by Columbus at home by a shocking scoreline of 4-1. The Crew had just been lambasted at MAPFRE against lowly Vancouver last week, but came back on Saturday with a thorough beatdown of playoff contending Orlando City. MLS, folks.

19-year old Tommy Redding started alongside Seb Hines in central defense for OCSC, and they had a hard time against Columbus’s attack. Ola Kamara and Ethan Finlay got in behind Redding and Hines over and over again, resulting in two goals and an assist for Kamara and one goal and two assists for Finlay.

New England now hold the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.

— Disaster for Real Salt Lake, as they lost 1-0 at home against the Dynamo. That sinks them to fourth place in the West, while Sporting KC’s draw with LA allows Portland to sneak back up into fifth.