MLS preseason 2021 round-up: Lucas Cavallini scores a stunner, Jesus Medina bags a brace

It's almost time for the real thing, but clubs across MLS first must finish up the rest of their preseason slates, with several teams doing exactly that with their final exhibition tune-ups on Saturday.

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Lucas Cavallini was the standout individual performer for the day, with a pair of goals, including one of the best we've seen this preseason to help his team to a goal-filled win over Chicago Fire FC.

Elsewhere, Jesus Medina also struck for a brace to pace New York City FC to another victory, while D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls battled to a 1-1 stalemate at Red Bull Arena. LAFC also salvaged a wild 3-3 draw against the New England Revolution thanks to a late leveler from Eddie Segura. Check out the full recap of Saturday's action below.

New York City FC 2, Hartford Athletic 0

Jesus Medina struck for two goals in a four-minute span near the end of the first half, which was enough to propel New York City FC to a 2-0 victory over USL Championship side Hartford Athletic in their final preseason match at the Etihad City Football Academy on Saturday.

Medina got the first goal of the match in the 40th minute, slotting home a feed from Valentin Castellanos to give the Cityzens the first-half lead.

The Paraguayan got his brace and the game's final goal just four minutes later, this time finishing off a feed from Maxi Moralez. The victory gives NYCFC four victories in five exhibition matches as they wrap up their preseason slate. Ronny Deila's group will now set their sights on the club's MLS season opener, which is set for April 17 against D.C. United.


  • 40' - NYC - Jesus Medina
  • 44' - NYC - Jesus Medina


  • New York City FC starting XI: Johnson, Tinnerholm (Gray), Chanot, Callens, Thórarinsson (Gloster), Sands (Ibeagha), Parks (Acevedo), Medina, Moralez, Tajouri-Shradi (Morales), Castellanos (Jasson)

Vancouver Whitecaps 3, Chicago Fire FC 2

In an eventful match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Chicago Fire FC, it was Vancouver that came out on top 3-2 on the strength of a brace from Lucas Cavallini and an early opener from Cristian Dajome.

Robert Beric and Francisco Calvo each netted for Chicago, but a highlight-reel bending free kick from Cavallini on the hour mark wound up standing as the difference.

The Whitecaps jumped on top just five minutes into the match through Dajome, who got loose on a breakaway attempt and converted for the opener. It would be a short-lived lead though, as Beric leveled from the spot just four minutes later after Luka Stojanovic was fouled in his own box.

Vancouver wound up taking the lead for good in the 30th minute, as Cavallini scored his first of the day with a perfectly placed header off a corner kick. The Canadian international then got the decisive tally in the 60th with a class finish that saw him bend home a gorgeous free kick to the near post from just outside the area, which would render a late headed tally from Calvo a moot point.


  • 5' - VAN - Cristian Dajome
  • 9' - CHI - Robert Beric (PK)
  • 30' - VAN - Lucas Cavallini
  • 60' - VAN - Lucas Cavallini
  • 78' - CHI - Francisco Calvo


  • Vancouver Whitecaps starting XI: Crepeau, Gutierrez, Rose, Veselinovic, Nerwinski, Teibert, Owusu, Bikel, Caicedo, Cavallini, Dajome
  • Chicago Fire FC: No lineup information was provided for this scrimmage

New York Red Bulls 1, D.C. United 1

A pair of Eastern Conference foes with new head coaches finished in a 1-1 deadlock, as the New York Red Bulls finished level with D.C. United in the scrimmage between the sides at Red Bull Arena.

Erik Sorga scored the lone goal of the match for D.C. with a 52nd-minute opener, while RBNY got the equalizer through a 63rd-minute penalty kick finish from Danny Royer in the final match of the 2021 exhibition slate for both sides.


  • 52' - DC - Erik Sorga
  • 63' - RBNY - Danny Royer (PK)


  • New York Red Bulls starting XI: Coronel, Gutman, Tarek, Long, Duncan, Davis, Casseres Jr., Valot, Clark, White, Fabio
  • D.C. United starting XI: Seitz, Hines-Ike, Brillant, Unsigned Player, Gressel, Mora, Canouse, Moreno, Flores, Asad, Kamara

LAFC 3, New England Revolution 3

An 84th-minute leveler from Eddie Segura capped of an entertaining 3-3 draw between LAFC and the New England Revolution, who closed off their respective preseason schedules with the Saturday scrimmage at Banc of California Stadium.

The fireworks started early, as New England's Adam Buksa opened the scoring just two minutes after kickoff, with Matt Polster giving the Revs a second just five minutes later.

LAFC would pull one back in the 14th minute, as reigning MLS Golden Boot-winner Diego Rossi continued his strong preseason form with a close-range finish to make it 2-1. It would stay that way all the way until the 58th minute, when LAFC superstar Carlos Vela found the equalizer.

The Revs jumped on top again just three minutes after Vela's leveler, as Designated Player Carles Gil found the go-ahead goal. But that would be neutralized thanks to Segura, who cashed home the late finish to ensure the wild match would end at 3-3.


  • 2' - NE - Adam Buksa
  • 7' - NE - Matt Polster
  • 14' - LAFC - Diego Rossi
  • 58' - LAFC - Carlos Vela
  • 61' - NE - Carles Gil
  • 84' - LAFC - Eddie Segura


  • LAFC starting XI: Vermeer, Palacios, Segura, Murillo, Blackmon, Blessing, Atuesta, Kaye, Rossi, Vela, Baird
  • New England starting XI: Turner, Jones, Kessler, Farrell, Bye, Polster, Maciel, Gil, Buchanan, Bou, Buksa

Austin FC 5, San Antonio FC 1

Austin FC ended preseason on a high note and head into their inaugural MLS campaign off a 5-1 victory over San Antonio FC in the La Copita tournament Saturday at St. David’s Performance Center.

Cecilio Dominguez struck for a first-half brace, with Daniel Pereira assisting on both goals and Danny Hoesen, Tomas Pochettino and Alex Ring added goals for the expansion side. Santiago Patino scored the lone goal for San Antonio. 

Dominguez opened the scoring in the third minute and Hoesen doubled the lead in the 14th minute, latching onto a Ben Sweat cross and heading into the net. 

A Pochettino free kick put Austin ahead 3-0 in the 35th minute and after Patino pulled San Antonio back a goal four minutes later following a defensive miscue, Dominguez bagged his brace one minute before halftime. Ring, who added a PK in the 54th minute to close out the scoring, was serenaded by the Austin faithful on hand the day after his 30th birthday.


  • 3’ — ATX — Cecilio Dominguez
  • 14’ — ATX — Danny Hoesen
  • 35’ — ATX — Tomas Pochettino
  • 39’ — SA — Santiago Patino
  • 44’ — ATX — Cecilio Dominguez
  • 54’ — ATX — Alex Ring (PK)


Austin FC: Brad Stuver (Andrew Tarbell 45’); Nick Lima, Jhohan Romana (Freddy Kleemann 74’), Matt Besler, Ben Sweat; Daniel Pereira, Alex Ring, Tomas Pochettino; Jared Stroud, Danny Hoesen, Cecilio Dominguez

Houston Dynamo FC 0, FC Dallas 3 

FC Dallas were crowned La Copita champions following a 3-0 victory over Texas Derby rivals Houston Dynamo FC Saturday at BBVA Stadium with Franco Jara, Ryan Hollingshead and Jesus Ferreira scoring goals for the visitors in both team’s final regular season tune-up. 

Jara broke the scoreless deadlock in the 37th minute with a tidy left-footed finish inside the far post from 20 yards out.

Hollingshead doubled the lead four minutes later, tucking in a sublime through ball from Andres Ricaurte to send Dallas into the halftime break with a two-goal lead.

Ferreira came off the bench to close out the scoring six minutes from full time, capitalizing on a defensive miscue to give FC Dallas the 3-0 advantage.


  • 37’ — DAL — Franco Jara 
  • 41’ — DAL — Ryan Hollingshead 
  • 84’ — DAL — Jesus Ferreira


Houston Dynamo starting XI: Marko Maric; Adam Lundkvist, Sam Junqua, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Matias Vera; Derrick Jones, Joe Corona; Fafa Picault, Maxi Urruti, Tyler Pasher

FC Dallas starting XI: Jimmy Maurer; Matt Hedges, José Martínez, Bressan, Johnny Nelson; Ryan Hollingshead. Bryan Acosta, Andrés Ricaurte; Freddy Vargas, Jáder Obrian, Franco Jara

LA Galaxy 1, Real Salt Lake 0 

A goal by Victor Vazquez was the difference as the LA Galaxy edged Real Salt Lake in both team’s preseason finale at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. Saturday. 

Vazquez fired home just before halftime following a nice buildup to give the Galaxy the lead at the half.

Jonathan Bond made sure the goal held up, making a sprawling save to deny Damir Kreilach and later denied Rubio Rubin’s bicycle kick attempt in the 83rd minute. 

Despite the defeat, RSL claimed the Visit Tucson Sun Cup title and Kreilach was named the tournament’s MVP.


  • 44’ — LA — Victor Vazquez


LA Galaxy starting XI: Jonathan Bond; Oniel Fisher (Julian Araujo 38’), Daniel Steres (Jalen Neal 73’), Nick DePuy, Jorge Villafana; Victor Valdez (Efrain Alvarez 62’), Samuel Grandsir (Cameron Dunbar 25’), Adam Saldana (Daniel Agguire 85’), Jonathan Dos Santos (Carlos Harvey 67’); Sebastian Lletget (Jonathan Perez 78’), Javier Hernandez (Ethan Zubak 89’)

Real Salt Lake starting XI: David Ochoa; Andrew Brody (Aaron Herrera 61’), Erik Holt (Justen Glad 61’), Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia; Everton Luiz (Douglas Martinez 75’), Pablo Ruiz; Anderson Julio (Maikel Chang 75’), Damir Kreilach, Justin Meram (Albert Rusnak 61’); Rubio Rubin

Seattle Sounders FC 1, San Diego Loyal 0 

Will Bruin’s early goal helped lift the Seattle Sounders to a 1-0 victory over San Diego Loyal Saturday night at Lumen Field.

Bruin, who partnered with Fredy Montero in a new-look two-forward formation, smashed home a shot into the bottom corner of the net shortly after second-half kickoff, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead that would up as the final score.

The forward pairing combined well, both setting each other up for chances in the opening 45 minutes. Raul Ruidiaz, who missed a chunk of preseason, came on as a halftime substitute to make his first appearance of 2021. 

The match was played behind closed doors, with the exception of 200 tickets to be distributed to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health employees and their families in appreciation of their work during the COVID-19 health crisis.


  • 6’ — SEA — Will Bruin


Seattle Sounders FC starting XI: Stefan Frei; Shane O’Neill, Xavier Arreaga, Nouhou; Alex Roldan, Joao Paulo, Josh Atencio, Cristian Roldan, Brad Smith; Will Bruin (Raul Ruidiaz 45’), Fredy Montero

Colorado Rapids 1, Phoenix Rising 0

Colorado closed out its preseason on a victorious note on Sunday, taking a 1-0 victory over USL side Phoenix Rising on the strength of a winner from offseason acquisition Michael Barrios.

Barrios combined with Younes Namli for the game's only goal in the 20th minute, collecting a quick free kick behind the Phoenix back line and slotting home what turned out to be the decisive finish.

Colorado is set to return home on Monday ahead of preparation for its Saturday season opener against FC Dallas.


  • 20' - COL - Michael Barrios


  • Colorado Rapids starting XI: Lalas Abubakar, Michael Barrios, Cole Bassett, Younes Namli, Jack Price, Keegan Rosenberry, Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki, Auston Trusty, Sam Vines, William Yarbrough