Toronto FC leans on awareness, improved defensive structure to cast aside Orlando City
TFC coach Greg Vanney desperately needed to figure out a way to shore up his tattered defensive shape. The work on the training ground this week with this tattered defensive group paid dividends as the Reds submitted their more cohesive performance of the season. By establishing a firm base of operations at the back, the Reds created a platform for Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco to figure out a way to procure a couple of goals (quick free kicks played their part) and secure a precious 2-0 victory.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Depth allows New England to mix and match to perfection
Revolution coach Jay Heaps continues to chop and change as injuries and suspensions ravage his team. The comprehensive 4-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday highlights the options now at his disposal. The sight of Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe popping off the bench in the second half reinforces the strides made over the past few years, while the success of London Woodberry underscores the willingness to trust new faces. Those measures create the necessary competition for places and spark the sorts of performances capable of brushing aside RSL.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY SportsBob DeChiara
Dempsey pounces at the right time to decide static Cascadia derby
Portland coach Caleb Porter adjusted his tactics and preached the need for caution ahead of the 1-0 defeat at Seattle on Sunday. The visitors focused on their shape and tried to close down space accordingly. Those efforts worked well for much of the night, but the Timbers’ inability to cope with Dylan Remick’s long throw eventually punished them dearly. Clint Dempsey popped up at the right time to bundle home at the back post and underline the peril of navigating along such fine margins against a team with a couple of matchwinners in the side.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY SportsJoe Nicholson
Galaxy continue to churn out results despite failure to hit top gear
The MLS Cup holders are in a period of transition. Landon Donovan and Marcelo Sarvas are gone. Steven Gerrard is in Liverpool. Robbie Keane is on the shelf with a hamstring injury. Those issues hinder the Galaxy’s ability to achieve fluidity at this point, but they do not prevent the champions from wringing out results. Case in point: the rugged display to cope with New York Red Bulls and secure a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. New York enjoyed the better of the play with its high pressure, but the Galaxy held firm enough and received a moment of magic from Bradford Jamieson IV to claim a point.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY SportsNoah K. Murray
Chicago overcomes layoff to sustain good form
David Accam and the Fire hardly missed a beat after returning from a three-week layoff. Accam sparkled in front of Ghana coach Avram Grant and snatched the only goal of the game in the 1-0 victory over New York City FC on Friday. Chicago continues to move from strength to strength after suffering through the first fortnight without many of its key places in place. This group -- dynamic going forward and resolute at the back -- now presents a credible threat for a postseason berth if it sustains this sort of form.