Larin made his fifth-straight start for Orlando City in their come-from-behind 2-2 draw against New England on Friday night – adding in his two substitute appearances, Larin now has seven on the season.
Leading the line for the Lions by his lonesome, Larin was constantly on the move, but not particularly involved in the build-up – attempting just eleven passes and completing only seven.
The same could be said of the entire Orlando side, who fell behind 0-2 through seventy minutes, and could easily have trailed by more. But something clicked as Charlie Davies doubled the Revolution lead in the 71st minute and four minutes later, the Brampton, Ontario-native would draw one back for the home side.
Moments before scoring, Larin nearly got on the end of a left-sided Brek Shea cross, getting in front of his marker at the near-post, but unable to stretch and get the required touch. When Rafael Ramos collected a ball on the right and shaped a wonderful cross to the edge of the six-yard box, Larin made no mistake, guiding his header to the left of Bobby Shuttleworth, having gotten goal-side on Jermaine Jones in the 75th minute – it was Larin's second goal of the season.
He would make way shortly thereafter, in the 81st minute, for Bryan Rochez, just as the Lions were coming to life. It would fall to Aurelien Collin to grab the equalizer in the final minute of regulation with a header of his own.
Aside from kick-starting the comeback, Larin had a numerically sparse night: his goal came from his only shot; passing was virtually non-existent; he was off-side on one occasion, and he suffered a single foul, one that saw Jones booked for his lunging challenge in the centre-circle.
It can be tempting to desire a forward who gets himself more involved in the passage of play – which is not to say that Larin does not contribute on the opposite side of the ball – but pure strikers, those who constantly probe the opponent's back-line for weakness, seldom rack up the passing or defensive statistics. With Kaka playing behind him, Larin's role is not to get on the ball, but to do the running and make himself an option, something he has increasingly excellent at in his short time in MLS.
Post-match, Larin reflected on his goal and the first few months of professional soccer: “I think I have learned a lot in recent weeks. I just waited for my chance and Rafa put in the right ball at the right time. I have been working hard in training to be ready for that moment, and I was very pleased to convert it tonight.”
Opare started his sixth-consecutive match for DC United as they drew 1-1 against Sporting KC on Saturday night – it was his seventh appearance of the season since coming on in the fifth minute against LA for the injured Steve Birnbaum. Birnbaum is now fit enough for the bench, but Opare's form is keeping him out of the starting lineup.
Paired with Bobby Boswell as the left-sided centre-back, Opare again made his presence know, spending the entire match in a running-wrestling contest against the pesky Dom Dwyer, who is a constant menace.
In an excellent physical battle throughout the match, Opare got the better of Dwyer, out-muscling him for position on one play in particular. But Dwyer would find his revenge in the 45th minute, catching Opare a touch flat-footed seconds away from half-time, peeling off the defender to meet a low Roger Espinoza ball at the near-post to level the match at ones three minutes after Jairo Arrieta had put the hosts in front.
The Niagara Falls, Ontario-raised defender exhibited his excellent reading of the game, stepping up to easily intercept a defense-splitting ball bound for Jacob Peterson that would have carved open DC – one of two interceptions on the night - going on to pad his stat-line with seven recoveries, five clearances, and a pair of tackles, conceding just a single foul, despite the physical encounter.
And his passing has definitely improved in recent weeks, completing all but six of some forty attempts.
Opare would shake off a slight knock after an aerial collision with Erik Palmer-Brown to nearly get on the end of a potential game-winner, only for KC keeper, Tim Melia, to pluck the cross off his head before the needed contact could be made. Opare will score some goals this season – foreshadowing next week's review.
Earlier in the month, Opare was interviewed by CSN's own Daniel Squizzato, on a range of topics, but most crucially on his efforts to represent Canada at the international level.
Still riding the pine, Akindele would have to wait until half-time to enter the fray against Los Angeles on Saturday night – making his fourth-straight appearance from the bench. Dallas would fall behind on the hour, only to mount a rousing comeback in the final fifteen minutes of the match to win 1-2.
Taking up the left-sided attacking midfield role from Ryan Hollingshead, Akindele showed his usual willingness, rampaging forward and tracking back, covering lots of ground, eager to demonstrate what he is capable of contributing.
With LA's stamina fading, Dallas would begin their push with a glorious chance, or possibly two, to respond coming Akindele's way in the 73rd minute. The first look came when Fabian Castillo whistled a low cross through the area from the right, but it was just beyond the reach of the forward. Blas Perez would collect on the left, squaring a set-up Akindele's way, but he was unable to turn on the attempt, sending his snatched left-footer rocketing high and wide into the night sky.
Perez would equalize four minutes later in the 77th minute and the Calgary-born Akindele would make amends for his earlier miss(es) when next an opportunity presented itself.
In the 86th minute, Akindele, on the left, collected a raking cross-field ball from Mauro Diaz. Finding himself one-on-one against Dan Gargan, who kindly backed off, Akindele settled the ball and made a slight inside-move onto his right-foot before looping a dipping shot to the far, side-netting, beating Jaime Penedo to put his side in the driver's seat with the lead – it was his third goal of the season; the first in five matches, stretching back to the beginning of April (the fourth, to be exact).
With two shots – one on (the goal) and one off (the miss), four recoveries, an interception, and two offside flags, while completing 18 of his 24 passes, the second-year forward made the most of his 45-plus minutes in the pitch. Whether he did enough to fight back into a competitive Dallas starting lineup remains to be seen.
Post-match, Akindele was asked about 'coming out of the sophomore slump': “I guess… It’s the media’s job to write about the things that are happening and I had not scored in a while but it’s my job to stay focused and score goals. Everybody is doing their job.”
Before moving on to discuss his goal: “
It was a fast break for us. They were playing a bit cautious – probably trying to delay until help could arrive.
We work on that in training every day. People only see the one in the game, but I did that 200 times this week. That is what comes of it.
It was an amazing feeling. Mauro [Diaz] had the ball on the opposite side of the field. Everyone was concentrating on him. I just tried to stay open. I know he can pick people out on a pass. When I received the pass, I had a one-on-one in the box, which is always a good situation to be in for a forward.”
Akindele also discussed those perceived 'struggles' prior to the match with MLSsoccer.com.
Osorio was on the bench for Toronto FC in their 1-2 loss to Houston on Sunday, coming on in the 58th minute for Robbie Findley with the Dynamo already leading 0-2 – it was his seventh appearance of the season; his second from the bench.
Taking up the left-sided midfield position, Osorio was lively, more so than he had been in any of his previous appearances, linking up well with Sebastian Giovinco immediately.
The Toronto, Ontario-native would nearly set up Michael Bradley, picking out his teammate with a chipped ball from the left – Bradley would hammer the volley over the target. But it was his cross in the 77th minute that proved most substantial.
Advancing towards Raul Rodriguez on the left, Osorio backed off the defender before cutting in-field to send in a cross that picked out Jozy Altidore at the back-post, sneaking in-between DaMarcus Beasley and Jermaine Taylor to head in a consolation goal – it was Osorio's first assist and first point of the season.
Having completed sixteen of his twenty passes, Osorio added four recoveries, and won a single foul, signaling in his 32 minutes that perhaps he was ready to be reinserted into the starting lineup.
His post-match interview can be seen here.
Teibert started a fourth-straight match for Vancouver as they strolled to a 3-0 win over the struggling Philadelphia Union on Saturday night – it was his eighth start and ninth appearance of the season.
Continuing he deep-lying defensive role, alongside Matias Laba in front of the back-four, Teibert was largely responsible for keeping track of the Union's most troublesome attacker, Cristian Maidana, which he did with aplomb.
The Niagara Falls, Ontario-native has been very good this season, there is no denying his value to the club, but it has been difficult to pick out specific moments that exhibit his worth.
With Vancouver largely playing on the counter, utilizing their intense speed, Teibert rarely ventures over the midway line; his most influential passages involve collecting loose balls, picking off passes, and providing much-needed defensive cover, whenever potential trouble looms.
Teibert is often the first line of defense, confronting the ball-carrier as soon as he crosses into the Vancouver half, and it is his knack for spotting impending doom that is most useful – though hardly highlight-reel stuff.
Consider this one play from Saturday. Ray Gaddis, Philadelphia's left-back, beats Kekuta Manneh to get into a good crossing position, but Teibert, having recognized the frailty of the situation, had already made his way into the area, and was thus on hand to block the cross at the source, preventing Gaddis from sending the ball into the area. That is valuable play, and should be recognized as such, but is not the sort of contribution that grabs the headlines.
That said, his passing was again excellent, completing all but five of some 45-plus attempts, while racking up five recoveries, three clearances, and an interception, conceding a pair of fouls in the process.
Ouimette made his second appearance of the season for the New York Red Bulls, coming on in the 38th minute for Mike Grella, sacrificed after Matt Miazga picked up a pair of bookings inside the first 36 minutes to be dismissed from the inaugural New York derby between the Red Bulls and City on Sunday evening.
Eight days after making his season debut, Ouimette was thrust into an electric encounter, though with City's lack of attacking success, he was rarely tested.
The Terrebonne, Quebec-native did very well positionally, not giving the opponent a foot of space, and was on the receiving end of a talking-to after wrestling with Andrew Jacobson prior to an attacking free-kick.
His most notable play of the match was a timely intervention on Kwadwo Poku, blocking off the forward's run and clearing any potential danger with a strong boot.
A measure of how feeble the expansion side's attack was can be seen in Ouimette's numbers, required to make just five clearances, two interceptions, a pair of tackles, and a recovery.
Of some concern, he completed just one of his four pass attempts; all long, hopeful punts up-field.
After a somewhat shaky outing against New England last weekend, Ouimette showed, as he helped see out a 2-1 win over in-town rivals with a calm performance, that with Miazga set to join the US U20 side in this summer's World Cup, which begins at the end of this month, he is ready to step into that starting position if called upon.
Morgan was in the starting eleven for a sixth-straight match on Sunday as TFC fell to Houston – all seven of Morgan's appearances have come in the last seven matches, starting the last six after coming on against Columbus following Justin Morrow's red card.
From his left-back position, Morgan did well to track a bursting Ricardo Clark run down the right-side of the box – Clark would wrongly be awarded a corner kick after his attempted cross found the side-netting.
The Toronto, Ontario-native was more than willing to get forward, racing onto a slipped Altidore ball down the left to pop in a cross that came to nothing.
Morgan would end the match having completed 27 of 43 passes, adding four recoveries, three clearances, two tackles, and an interception. That pass completion ratio is not great, but Morgan was constantly looking to spring Giovinco into space, so they are perhaps understandable.
His post-match interview can be seen here.
Bekker made his fourth appearance of the season for FC Dallas in their come-from-behind victory over Los Angeles on Saturday night – it was his first game-time in over a month.
Coming on for Kelyn Acosta in the 60th minute, Bekker took up the deep-lying central midfield position, pairing up with Victor Ulloa in front of the Dallas back-line.
The Oakville, Ontario-native would complete all but two of his 21 passes, while making two recoveries and an interception, but failed to really get involved in the Dallas comeback to a significant degree.
There was one cringe-worthy play, as Bekker was easily by-passed by Gyazi Zardes in midfield, his pace, or more correctly lack thereof, proving a liability against an explosive attacker.
Bekker has been in tough to find minutes in a competitive Dallas midfield, should he hope to win more playing time, he will have to do better to impress and earn that spot.
Patrice Bernier, Wandrille Lefevre, and Maxim Tissot were all unused substitutes for Montreal in their 1-2 loss to Portland on Saturday night.
Sam Adekugbe was on the bench for Vancouver on Saturday against Philadelphia.
And Quillan Roberts backed-up Chris Konopka for Toronto FC on Sunday.