MLS

St Louis' perfect start ended by Minnesota, Bernardeschi nets Olimpico for Toronto

By Sports Desk April 02, 2023

Expansion franchise St Louis City's perfect start to their inaugural MLS season was ended by Minnesota United who triumphed 1-0 after Luis Amarilla's 78th-minute penalty on Saturday.

City had made MLS history by winning their first five games but that was ended by the Loons with Amarilla drilling home the spot kick after a needless challenge by Kyle Hiebert.

Hiebert brought down Amarilla just inside the box with a rash tackle when Jakob Nerwinski appeared to have Kervin Arriaga's wayward pass under control.

Substitute Samuel Adeniran came closest to equalising for St Louis, with a 95th-minute shot going over the bar after a great first touch from Klauss' right-wing cut back.

St Louis remain top of the table with 15 points from six games, but unbeaten Minnesota climb up to fourth in the Western Conference.

Cincinnati continued their impressive start to the season with a 1-0 home triumph over Inter Miami who slumped to their fourth straight defeat.

Yerson Mosquera scored the 45th-minute winner for Cincy, who are top of the Eastern Conference.

Giorgos Giakoumakis scored an early winner as Atlanta United moved up to second in the East with a 1-0 home win over New York Red Bulls, who are down in 12th in that conference.

Jordan Morris and Leo Chu scored first-half goals as Seattle Sounders stayed second in the West with a 2-1 victory at LA Galaxy, who are without a win and have only three points from five games.

LAFC remained unbeaten and third in the West despite a 0-0 draw at the winless Colorado Rapids, while SJ Earthquakes climbed to fifth with a 2-1 victory over Houston Dynamo with all three goals coming from penalties.

Vancouver Whitecaps snapped a run of three straight draws with a resounding 5-0 win over 10-man Montreal with Simon Becher scoring a double. Becher is the fastest player (87 minutes) in MLS history to score his first four goals.

Franck Boli rescued a 1-1 draw for Portland Timbers at Dallas, Chicago Fire and DC United drew 0-0 and Nashville triumphed 2-0 at Orlando City.

Federico Bernardeschi netted another spectacular goal with a strike straight from a corner in Toronto's 2-2 home draw with Charlotte.

Sporting KC remained winless after a 0-0 draw at Philadelphia Union, New England drew 1-1 with New York City and Real Salt Lake suffered their fourth straight loss, going down 4-0 to Columbus Crew.

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    Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin has urged his team to find a way to grind out a vital win when they meet the New England Revolution in MLS on Wednesday.

    The Union sit bottom of the Eastern Conference having failed to win any of their last 10 matches, extending that streak against Toronto FC on Saturday as they conceded two quickfire second-half goals in a 2-1 defeat.

    Their last win came against the Revs in mid-May, and Curtin has set the simple target of getting three points after admitting his team have not been good enough in the last two months.

    "We've made some big mistakes and been punished for them. We haven't been able to make the little plays to get over the hump," Curtin said.

    "It's unacceptable how many games we haven't been able to find a way to win and the way we've done it has been really disappointing. We've become very fragile, which is uncharacteristic of this group.

    "It really comes down with us just finding a way to grind out a win, ugly, pretty, whatever it takes to put it behind us."

    Meanwhile, the Revs are one point better off than their opponents, sitting 13th in the table having lost their previous two matches.

    They let a lead slip against Orlando City in their 3-1 defeat at the weekend, and head coach Caleb Porter hopes they can put their injury troubles behind them to get back to winning ways.

    "We've got to find a way to get some points out of these next two games, even under the circumstances of where we're at," Porter said, as quoted in The Blazing Musket substack.

    "And I believe 100% when we're healthy – and we showed it in the four-game stretch – when we have our group healthy, that we can beat anybody in the league."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Philadelphia Union – Daniel Gazdag

    Daniel Gazdag has scored five career regular-season goals against New England, more than against any other team in his MLS career.

    The five goals are also the most by any player against the Revs since the Hungarian joined MLS in 2021.

    New England Revolution – Giacomo Vrioni

    Giacomo Vrioni scored New England's lone goal in their loss to Orlando City on Saturday and has now scored six of the club’s last seven goals, including the last three in a row.

    MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

    The Union have won five of their last six matches against New England (L1, incl. playoffs) dating back to July 2022. The Revs had gone unbeaten in the previous five meetings between the sides (W3 D2).

    However, the Union (D4 L6) are winless in 10 straight matches within a single regular season for the first time in club history. Philadelphia have won one of their last 17 matches, but that win came over New England in May.

    Meanwhile, none of New England's last 16 MLS matches have ended in a draw (W7 L9) dating back to the start of April. In fact, only one of the Revs’ last 26 league matches dating back to late September last season has ended level.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Philadelphia Union – 48.2%

    Draw – 25.9%

    New England Revolution – 25.9%

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    FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan is desperate to find a remedy for his side's "flat" performance last time out, ahead of Chicago Fire's midweek MLS visit.

    The Orange and Blue produced arguably their worst performance of their season during Sunday's 3-1 home defeat against Charlotte FC.

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    Chicago did manage a goalless draw with New York City FC, however, in their last match and keeping them ahead of bottom side Philadelphia Union.

    Frank Klopas' side have accumulated 10 points from their last seven outings, though their away form is the worst in the Eastern Conference – with just seven points from 33 available on the road.

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    FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

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    The Orange and Blue forward will be integral once more if the hosts are to down the struggling Fire here.

    Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers

    It remains to be seen whether Xherdan Shaqiri will return from Euro 2024 in time for this one, having announced his international retirement for Switzerland on Monday.

    Hugo Cuypers will be expected to step up in his absence again, with the striker scoring nine goals for Chicago in MLS this season – at least four more than any other team-mate.

    MATCH PREDICTION – FC CINCINNATI WIN

    The home side are the dominant favourites for this clash, with the Opta supercomputer backing their victory chances at a hefty 66.1% from their data-led pre-match simulations.

    Cincinnati have triumphed in 12 of their last 15 MLS matches, although three defeats have come in their past eight such outings.

    That trio of losses have all come on their home ground, too, yet Cincinnati will be confident of getting over the line in this one.

    Klopas' visitors have failed to score in their last two outings, and that will only boost the hosts' hopes heading into this midweek clash.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    FC Cincinnati win – 66.1%

    Draw – 18.4%

    Chicago Fire win – 15.5%

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    Saul made 49 appearances for Diego Simeone's men last season, though starts were limited as Atletico finished fourth in the Spanish top flight.

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