Week five of the MLS saw all teams return to action following the international break.
Bastian Schweinsteiger shines on debut
One man stole the show in the MLS this week; no prizes for guessing who it was. Bastian Schweinstegier played his first game for Chicago Fire after completing the switch from Manchester United and he performed well. His first involvement for the Fire was one to be savoured, a thumping header to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. His experience in the match was telling, pulling the strings in Chicago’s midfield. They drew 2-2 with Montreal Impact, but who knows – if results improve, Chicago might make the World Cup after all.
Torres brace gives Houston the edge
Erick Cubo Torres is quickly becoming one of the most potent attackers in the MLS this season, and that was clear when he grabbed a hat-trick in Houston Dynamo’s 4-1 win over New York Red Bulls. Dynamo fell behind in the 12th minute when Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring to give the visitors the lead but the hosts responded just two minutes later, with Dylan Remick thumped a header in the back of the net. Then, enter Torres. Goals in the 40th, 55th and 91st minutes saw the 24-year-old complete a superb hat-trick, recording a comprehensive three points for Houston.
Minnesota break big duck
Minnesota United still had one duck left to break as they continued searching for their first win as an MLS club. Thankfully for them, it was to end this week against Real Salt Lake. It did not look as though it would be their day, falling behind after just four minutes. Kevin Molino equalised, and after half time it was a different ball game. A Christian Ramirez brace and a goal to John Venegas ensured United rounded out an important 4-2 win. Minnesota will breathe a big sigh of relief having found that elusive first win. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake’s hunt for a first three points of the season goes on.
Portland and New England show potential in blockbuster
Portland Timbers have set the standard in attacking football in the MLS this season, but New England Revolution were coming off a brace themselves having dispatched Minnesota 5-2 last week. So it was understandable to expect one of the games of the seasonso far. Instead, it was a case of what might have been. The Timbers opened the scoring in the 12th minute when captain Diego Valeri spectacularly volleyed home a rebounded ball. The Revolution scored the equaliser six minutes from time when Lee Nguyen made the most of a goalkeeping howler. Revolution will be pleased with a point, but the Timbers will feel disappointed after flexing their muscles in the first rounds.
Problems mounting for LA Galaxy
It is week five and concerns should be starting to rise for LA Galaxy, if they are not already. One win in five weeks – admittedly, they have played just four games – is a damning statistic for well resourced club of Galaxy’s ilk. Defensive issues have played a big part in their demise since week one, and fast-forward to week five, that has not changed. Galaxy suffered another defeat when they played Vancouver Whitecaps, not helped by a blunder by goalkeeper Clement Diop. Things looked on the improve when LA forced an own goal, and the situation got even better when Romain Alessandrini netted. But the Whitecaps regained control, scoring first through Fredy Montero and then Matias Laba, in which case Galaxy’s defence was truly exposed. Laba then scored his second to give the Whitecaps the winner four minutes from time, and again, Galaxy defenders were caught out.