The Vancouver Whitecaps headed into Saturday’s home game with LA Galaxy as overwhelming favourites, given the Galaxy’s long list of absences. The visitors had just 17 players in their matchday squad – including three goalkeepers – but put in a solid display to earn a 0-0 draw at BC Place.
Vancouver will be disappointed with their lack of attacking quality over the course of the 90 minutes. But they still picked up a first clean sheet of the season and stretched their unbeaten home run to a club MLS record 11 matches.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, the best fell to Yordy Reyna in the first-half. The Whitecaps attacker got in behind the Galaxy defence but David Bingham made himself big and made a crucial block to keep the shot out.
The draw sees the Whitecaps sit joint-top of the Western Conference with Sporting Kansas City. However, Vancouver are just one of six MLS teams to have played four games through the first four weeks of the 2018 season. So their rivals have games in hand at this early stage.
LA Galaxy sit 7th in the West with four points from three games. They have a huge game to prepare for next weekend, with the first LA Derby coming up as LAFC come to town. New signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be available for his debut too.
Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Simon Fearn, John May and Hazel May.
NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy – All eyes were on Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening as New York City FC welcomed LA Galaxy for their home opener. Both sides came into the contest following Week 1 victories but it was NYCFC who made it two wins from two, beating LA 2-1 in David Villa’s 100th match for the club.
New York City started brightly and were rewarded when winter signing Anton Tinnerhom rifled a shot in off the crossbar following good work from Jesus Medina and Villa. The Spaniard’s cross was blocked by Michael Ciani but only into the path of Tinnerholm, who volleyed in off the bar after 22 minutes.
NYCFC then doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, as Villa celebrated his 100th NYCFC appearance with a goal. The hosts raced away on a counter-attack led by Jesus Medina. He played in Ben Sweat, who saw his effort saved by David Bingham straight into the path of Villa who simply tapped home.
LA Galaxy improved after halftime and got a goal back on the hour-mark through Jonathan Dos Santos. But they couldn’t get the equaliser despite pressing for most of the second-half.
Their chances took a major blow in the late stages as captain Ashley Cole was sent off for a second yellow card offence for seemingly tripping David Villa. The game ended NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy as New York City FC keep their perfect start to the season on track.
Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.
NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy: In Pictures
The Seattle Sounders completed the job in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal clash with Chivas Guadalajara on Wednesday night. Clint Dempsey fired the game’s only goal late into the second half, giving the Sounders the advantage ahead of the return leg in Mexico.
It was a fairly even match, as expected, with both sides creating opening they will feel they could have scored from. Stefan Frei came up big for Seattle in the first half, denying Alejandro Mayorga and Alan Pulido to keep the score at 0-0.
Will Bruin then came closest to opening the scoring as his header clipped off the post. But Seattle kept plugging away and got their reward on 78 minutes. Henry Wingo came off the bench and did well down the right flank. And it was the homegrown attacker who provided the pass for the breakthrough.
Wingo’s low cross was met by Dempsey in the box, who slotted in first time to earn an important first-leg win for the Sounders. The two sides will meet again next Wednesday at Estadio Chivas to determine who advances to the semi’s.
Check out exclusive photos from Wednesday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.
The Vancouver Whitecaps got their 2018 MLS campaign off to the perfect start, beating Montreal Impact 2-1 thanks to goals from new signing Kei Kamara and teenage sensation Alphonso Davies.
Both sides had plenty of new faces on show following busy offseason work on restructuring their teams for the 2018 season. The game was scoreless at the half, with neither side able to stamp their authority down.
But the hosts took the initiative in the second-half, scoring twice in eight minutes to go 2-0 up. First, Alphonso Davies crossed for Kamara to head in brilliantly. Then, Davies himself got a goal, slotting in Cristian Techera’s low cross, despite Evan Bush seemingly doing enough to keep it out. It was Davies’ first MLS goal and the 17-year-old winger earned MLSGB’s Attacking Player of the Week accolade for his fine performance.
Montreal didn’t give up and managed to claw a goal back through Matteo Mancosu in the 81st minute, after a brilliant cross by Daniel Lovitz. But the ‘Caps were able to hold on to a valuable opening win in front of a record crowd at BC Place for a season opener.
Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of Simon Fearn and Hazel May.
For the first time in MLS history, a Canadian side has won the MLS Cup. Toronto FC claimed the 2017 MLS Cup Final with a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders on Saturday night, completing a historic treble after an almost faultless year. They have been the best team by a margin this year and have now been rewarded with their first MLS Cup title.
They dominated the game from start to finish but could not get past Stefan Frei, as the game started to feel like a repeat of the 2016 Final in which Seattle stunned the hosts on penalties.
But after 66 minutes, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore took the game by the scruff of the neck and broke Seattle’s resolve. Giovinco’s pass put Altidore through and the powerful striker coolly finished past the once again excellent Frei.
The goal woke the Sounders up but not enough as Toronto withstood the late pressure and then sealed the win with a stoppage time tap-in from Victor Vazquez. That goal sent BMO Field into raptures as they knew a decade’s worth of pain was over. They’d got revenge. They’d won the title. And they have probably earned the tag as the ‘greatest MLS side of all time’.
Check out exclusive photos from the 2017 MLS Cup Final below, courtesy of Jil Hendershot.
The Houston Dynamo stunned the Portland Timbers with a 2-1 comeback win at Providence Park on Sunday night. The 2015 MLS Cup champions were eliminated on their own turf, with the Dynamo advancing to the Western Conference Final, where they’ll face the Seattle Sounders.
This time last year, Houston were the worst side in the Western Conference. Now, they are just two legs away from the 2017 MLS Cup Final. Their turnaround has been remarkable and they fully deserved their win at Portland on Sunday.
Dairon Asprilla gave the hosts the lead on 39 minutes, blasting the ball high and beyond Joe Willis. Asprilla’s task was made significantly easier by an unfortunate slip from Dynamo defender Dylan Remick.
However, Remick would soon atone for his error. Just four minutes later he volleyed the Dynamo level. That goal left the Houston in control, due to their away goal. Portland needed one more but couldn’t find it.
Then, in the 77th minute Mauro Manotas struck from distance and beat Jeff Attinella to put the game beyond Portland’s reach. The Dynamo advanced against the odds, leaving Portland players and fans stunned at the fact their season ended in such fashion.
Houston will face the Seattle Sounders over two legs in the Western Conference final, with the winner advancing to MLS Cup to take on either Toronto FC or Columbus Crew SC.
Check out exclusive pictures from Sunday night’s game, courtesy of MLSGB Photographer Denise McCooey.
The Seattle Sounders have moved one step closer to retaining their MLS Cup title. The reigning champions outclassed the Vancouver Whitecaps in Thursday’s Western Conference Semifinal second-leg, winning 2-0 thanks to a Clint Dempsey brace.
The veteran attacker was playing his first playoff game in almost two years but rose to the occasion in fine style. The game was tense, as expected following the scoreless draw in the first leg at BC Place.
It was going to take a moment of magic to breakthrough and that’s exactly what the hosts provided just 10 minutes into the second-half. Five Sounders were involved in a fast and intricate passing move, which ended with Dempsey firing past Stefan Marinovic.
The ‘Caps never really threatened to get back into the game. At 1-0 down, they needed just the one goal to put themselves in the driving seat. But they were unable to find the goal and were punished late on as Dempsey sealed the win.
A short corner led to a fine Victor Rodriguez cross, which Dempsey tapped in at the back post. He had two. The Sounders were through. Vancouver will be disappointed they failed to score in either leg, but they can still look back on what was a promising season.
Check out exclusive photos from Thursday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.
The 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs have already reached the Conference Semifinal stage. It all kicked off on Sunday as Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders battled out at BC Place for what was a cagey first leg.
The game ended scoreless but that sets up a fascinating second leg at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night. It was the first ever playoff matchup between the two rivals and lacked none of the usual intensity and aggression.
But both sides cancelled each other out over the 90 minutes. There was just one shot on target in total from either side. That’s the lowest tally ever recored in an MLS Playoff game.
Despite the lack of goals, there was reason for both sides to remain confident of reaching the Conference Final. Vancouver travel to Seattle on Thursday needing a goal to pile pressure on the hosts. The Sounders have home-field advantage to try and see them through.
Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Hazel May.
Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Games between these two Western Conference giants have produced some special moments over the years. Sunday night’s clash was no different. It’s not an official MLS rivalry. But it’s become as heated as some of the league’s established derby games.
The Galaxy arrived at CenturyLink Field desperate for a result after what has been a really tough year for the club. But they showed a real sense of togetherness and fought well against a Sounders side that led the West heading into the weekend.
LA were rewarded for their play when Gyasi Zardes headed them in front inside the first 25 minutes. He connected with Romain Alessandrini’s cross and the Galaxy looked good for their lead. They created several more chances but ultimately couldn’t add to their tally.
As is so often the case with the Sounders, they made their opponents pay for failing to put the game to bed. Substitute Lamar Neagle latched onto the end of Roman Torres’ cross to fire a deflected shot past Brian Rowe and into the back of the net in the 85th minute. It was Neagle’s first goal for the club since returning from DC United last month .
There was still time for more drama though. Roman Torres saw red after being adjudged to have fouled Jermaine Jones on the edge of the Sounders penalty area. LA failed to convert the free-kick and the game ended 1-1. The result leaves Seattle behind Portland at the top of the West. LA Galaxy are ten points outside the playoffs down in ninth.
Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Exclusive photos courtesy of MLSGB photographers Paul Kahl and Denise McCooey:
Seattle Sounders 2-1 Minnesota United – Minnesota were seconds away from picking up an impressive away draw at Seattle on Sunday. But then the referee pointed to the spot. Clint Dempsey stepped up, and converted to complete the hosts’ comeback victory.
Minnesota have still yet to win an away game in MLS. But they must have fancied their chances when new arrival Ethan Finlay scored on his Loons debut. The former Columbus man put the visitors 1-0 up against the odds. But their lead didn’t last long.
Set-pieces have hurt Minnesota so often this season and Sunday was no different. Chad Marshall headed home from Nicolas Lodeiro’s cross in the 31st minute to tie the game up. But the Sounders struggled to kick on.
Minnesota stood firm and created chances themselves, with rookie striker Abu Danladi missing a couple of golden opportunities. The scores were level heading into the final few seconds. But then Seattle got the penalty.
Jermaine Taylor was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area. Dempsey stepped up and coolly slotted past Bobby Shuttleworth to give the hosts their third-straight win. The Sounders are top of the West. The Loons stay bottom.
Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.
Seattle Sounders 2-1 Minnesota United – Gallery: