MLS Recap Week Two: NYCFC score big; Barco’s golazo steals show
The Atlanta bench celebrates an Ezequiel Barco (8) first half goal during the MLS match between Chicago Fire FC and Atlanta United FC on April 24th, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

We are only in the second week of MLS regular season, but already we have some early pace setters in the respective conferences. VAVEL USA writer Luke Flanagan looks back at another entertaining weekend across the US and Canada.

Sporting KC tie with Orlando; NYCFC run riot against Cincinnati 

There were VAR calls aplenty in the first game of the weekend between SK City and Orlando City. Gianluca Busio and Nani scored the goals for the respective sides, but both sides had a goal disallowed before Nani’s cheeky back heel was allowed to stand.

NYCFC scored early on against Cincinnati via Jesús Medina, but they had to wait until the second half to register another goal. However, Cincinnati seemed to collapse somewhat after Nick Hagglund’s own goal, and Gudmundur Thórarinsson, Valentín Castellanos and Medina’s second saw NYC run out 5-0 winners. 

  • Nashville v Montreal; Toronto v Vancouver both tied two a piece 

CF Montréal must have thought they would run out easy winners against Nashville, with the Canadian side 0-2 up at the break. Mason Toye and Zachary Brault-Guillard scored in the first half, only for Jhonder Cádiz and Hany Mukhtar to tie the game up in the second half.

The all-Canadian clash between Toronto and Vancouver Whitecaps also ended 2-2. Luke Singh gave Toronto the early lead, and Patrick Mullins missed a penalty at the start of the second half. Cristian Dájome showed Mullins how it was done minutes later when he equalised from the spot, and Andy Rose put Vancouver ahead with 20 minutes left to play. Jonathan Osorio rescued a point for the home side in the final ten minutes.

  • San Jose beat Dallas; All square between Sounders and LAFC

There was plenty of action at PayPal park as Cristian Espinoza missed an early penalty for the San Jose Earthquakes before Oswaldo Alanís scored the second penalty awarded ten minutes before half time to make it 1-0 to the home side. Cristian Espinoza then made it 2-0, before Cade Cowell put the game to bed on the hour Mark. Ricardo Pepi scored a consolation for FC Dallas with ten minutes to go, and there was late drama at Chris Wondolowski was shown a red card after a VAR check in the closing stages. 

At the Banc of California stadium, it finished all square between LAFC and Seattle Sounders. Eduard Atuesta netted a cheeky early free kick, hitting the ball under the wall and out of Stefan Frei’s reach after two minutes. Early in the second half though, the Sounders tied the game up through a Brad Smith header from close range. 

  • Barco stunner helps put out the Fire

Ezequiel Barco stole the show against the Chicago Fire with what could turn out to be the goal of the season. His volley from 35 yards opened the scoring and it will be hard for the United player to score a better goal in his career. Luka Stojanovic tied the game up early in the second half, but a Johan Kappelhof own goal and a cool finish by Emerson Hyndman saw Atlanta United take all three points. 

  • Minnesota lose again; Revs get the better of DC United 

A quick fire double from Anderson Julio in the first half gave Real Salt Lake the advantage after their by-week last weekend. Robin Lod did pull a goal back for the Loons late on to set up a grandstand finish, but Minnesota United lost for the second consecutive week. 

It was a close game between the New England Revolution and DC United at the Gillette Stadium, with an own goal deciding the match. Brendan Daniel Hines-Ike was the unfortunate DC defender who turned the ball into his own net to give the Revs all three points.

  • Miami shock Union; Austin stun the Rapids

After a goalless first half, Jamiro Monteiro opened the scoring for the Union on 54 minutes. The game was then turned on its head by the Higuaín bothers. Gonzalo scored on 73 minutes, with brother Federico ensuring Phil Neville got his first win with only 7 minutes to go.

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It was all going smoothly for the Colorado Rapids in their first home game against new franchise Austin FC. Andre Shinyashiki scored in the first half, but some catastrophic defending let in Diego Fagundez for Austin’s first ever MLS goal before Cecilio Domínguez scored a brace to put the game to bed in an impressive second half from the debutants. 

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  • Portland beat Houston; Galaxy go top of Western Conference

In the final two games, it was a case of two close home wins. First, the Portland Timbers had Cristhian Paredes to thank after he scored a late goal to secure the points for Portland. Dairon Asprilla had opened the scoring early on but an own goal from Paredes had tied things up - and the midfielder will feel vindicated scoring the winner at the right end. 

Finally, it was the Chicharito show at Dignity Health Sports Park as LA Galaxy won 3-2 against RBNY. The Mexican opened the scoring on 9 minutes, only for Andrew Gutman to level for RBNY on 26 minutes. Chicharito then put the Galaxy back in front, before putting them 3-1 up in the second half. Cristian Cásseres Jr did pull one back for the away side but the Galaxy held on to take all three points and go top of the Western Conference.

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