5 Things We Learned from Week 25 in Major League Soccer (2021)
11 Major League Soccer matches took place across Tuesday and Wednesday this week – and nearly all of them produced drama.
Week 25 of the 2021 MLS season dished up five red cards, two hat-tricks, and tons of high-scoring thrillers. New York City drew 3-3 with Dallas, Montreal crushed Orlando 4-2, while RSL came from behind to edge out San Jose 4-3.
In this post, I cover all the key talking points from MLS Week 25 – discussing the biggest winners and loser from another crazy round of midweek fixtures.
Here are five things we learned from Week 25 of the 2021 Major League Soccer season.
Kamara Nets Hat-Trick to Lead Golden Boot Race
Earlier this week, I praised Ola Kamara while looking back on all the big talking points from MLS Week 24. Just a few days later, the DC United star is making headlines once again.
After rescuing a draw for the Black-and-Red against RBNY last weekend, Kamara netted a first-half hat-trick to down Chicago 3-0 on Wednesday – building on a remarkable scoring streak.
The red-hot striker has now bagged 15 goals in his previous 14 MLS appearances, taking his tally for the season to 16 goals in 18 games. As a result, he finds himself leading the Golden Boot race.
|2021 MLS GOLDEN BOOT LEADERBOARD|
|Ola Kamara||DC United||18||16|
|Raul Ruidiaz||Seattle Sounders||22||14|
|Daniel Salloi||Sporting KC||23||13|
|Gustavo Bou||New England||21||12|
|Ricardo Pepi||FC Dallas||23||12|
Kamara endured a frustrating start to the 2021 MLS campaign, missing the opening three matches through injury. He then managed to score just once in his first four outings. Since then, however, he has not been able to stop hitting the net.
Thanks largely to Kamara’s exploits, DC currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference. Although the standings are extremely congested in the East, the club is in a seriously strong position to secure a playoff berth.
Not only will Kamara clinch the Golden Boot if he carries on like this, but he will also fire DC into the postseason.
Sporting KC Takes Control in the West (For Now)
We have a new leader in the Western Conference!
Granted, first-place Sporting Kansas City has played two games more than both second-place Seattle and third-place Colorado. But, following a 4-0 thrashing of Minnesota, the Wizards now sit one point clear at the summit.
Peter Vermes’ men raced into a three-goal lead before half-time on Wednesday, with goals from Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi, and Johnny Russell handing them a heft advantage. After the break, Cameron Duke put the icing on the cake.
The Wizards have now won back-to-back games, achieving two shutouts in the process. They have also lost just one of their last nine MLS encounters – and two of their previous 15.
Of course, the Sounders are hot on their heels, while the Rapids are also in contention to finish atop the West. But as we approach the business end of the season, Vermes and his players will be more than happy with their current position.
Nani and Perea See Red as Orlando Falters
It’s bad enough when one of your players gets sent off, but when two of your players receive a red card in the same game, you really don’t stand much chance of winning.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to Orlando on Wednesday. Nani and Andres Perea both saw red when CF Montreal came to town – and the Canadians ending up leaving with a 4-2 victory.
Nani was sent off after just 35 minutes, picking up two yellow cards for petulant fouls. Perea, on the other hand, was shown a straight red on 83 minutes for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, although the game was already over by then.
You can watch all six goals and both red cards below.
Following a 3-0 defeat to Atlanta in Week 24, the Lions have now lost back-to-back matches for just the second time this year. They have also won just two of their last nine outings in all competitions.
If it weren’t for a strong start to the season, Orlando wouldn’t be in a good place right now. Thanks to their impressive early-season form, they still find themselves third in the East.
That said, they can’t afford to keep on dropping points. With eight-place Inter Miami just six points behind the Lions, they could slip out of the top seven if they continue to falter.
RSL Edges Out San Jose in Seven-Goal Thriller
Spare a thought for Javier Lopez. Despite scoring a hat-trick against Real Salt Lake, the San Jose attacking midfielder STILL ended up on the losing side.
Lopez gave the Earthquakes the lead midway through the first half, and after two goals from RSL, he scored again to make it 2-2. The Mexican then completed his treble on 65 minutes, sending PayPal Park wild.
But there was still time for more drama. Justin Meram equalized for RSL before Rubio Rubin scored his second goal of the game in the 81st minute, handing his team a memorable 4-3 win.
|SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES VS. REAL SALT LAKE – MATCH STATS|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Stats||Real Salt Lake|
|6||Shots on Target||13|
Having lost three of their four games in the lead-up to Week 25, Wednesday’s victory was huge for RSL. They moved to sixth in the West, two points clear of eighth-place Minnesota.
As for the Quakes, they slipped to eleventh – six points outside the playoff spots. They have only managed to win one of their past six matches, recording three draws and two losses in the process.
Martinez Shines in Atlanta’s Rout of Cincinnati
Josef Martinez. Remember him?
The 2018 MVP and Golden Boot winner has endured a wretched couple of years, struggling for form while battling multiple injuries. But after bagging a brace on Wednesday, it finally feels like he is back to his best.
The Venezuelan scored two of Atlanta United’s four goals against FC Cincinnati as the Five Stripes secured a dominant 4-0 crushing of the Ohio outfit. After netting a header just before half-time, he capped off his double with a neat strike after the break.
Having scored just twice between April and July, Martinez has now bagged six goals in his last seven MLS appearances – peaking at just the right time.
The Five Stripes currently occupy the seventh and final playoff berth in the East, with eighth-place Inter Miami sitting just one point behind. If Martinez maintains his current goalscoring form, he could fire his team to glory.
Wrapping Up Week 25 in Major League Soccer
Let’s wrap things up by checking out all the MLS Week 25 results.
- New York City 3-3 FC Dallas
- Columbus Crew 2-1 New York Red Bulls
- Toronto FC 0-1 Inter Miami
- Atlanta United 4-0 FC Cincinnati
- DC United 3-0 Chicago Fire
- Orlando City 2-4 FC Montreal
- Sporting Kansas City 4-0 Minnesota United
- Austin FC 1-2 Los Angele FC
- Portland Timbers 2-2 Colorado Rapids
- San Jose Earthquakes 3-4 Real Salt Lake
- LA Galaxy 1-1 Houston Dynamo
Although I only featured five things, we learned from Week 25 of the 2021 MLS season in this post, the midweek fixtures dished up tons of talking points.
New York City’s 3-3 draw with FC Dallas definitely deserves a mention, while Portland’s dramatic 2-2 draw with Colorado is another standout result.
With Week 26 going down this weekend, make sure you tune in next week as I discuss all the major takeaways from the next round of Major League Soccer matches.
For now, check out some more things we learned in the world of soccer.