1. July 12th: New York City FC 4 vs. Toronto FC 4 (100/100)
This stands alone as the only MLS match of the season to earn a 100/100 excitement rating. Which is especially impressive seeing as Toronto FC was missing US national team stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, who were both playing with the USMNT at the Gold Cup. There was however plenty of star power on the field between NYCFC’s David Villa and Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco. Villa scored two goals, while Giovinco scored a hat trick in the first 9 minutes of the match. This was the third fastest hat-trick in MLS history. Also adding to the excitement was the fact that referee Ted Unkel issued an MLS-record 4 penalties in the box, 2 of which were converted.
2. April 25th: Houston Dynamo 4 vs. Sporting Kansas City 4 (99/100)
8 goals will make any match exciting, but it was the back-and-forth nature of this thriller that makes it the 2nd most exciting match of the MLS season thus far. Sporting KC netted the 1st goal within the 1st 2 minutes of play, but Houston responded just 9 minutes later with a goal in the 11th minute. The Dynamo then added 2 more goals from distance to make the score 3-1 heading into halftime. A pivotal moment came in the 77th minute when Dynamo D Jermaine Taylor received a red card and SKC converted on the ensuing penalty kick goal. This tied the match at 3-3, but the Dynamo were able to score playing a man down just minutes later. Finally Benny Feilhaber ended the madness with a goal in extra time, giving SKC a result (4-4).
3. April 11th: D.C. United 2 vs. New York Red Bulls 2 (99/100)
Not only is this a fierce rivalry, but both of these sides are amongst the MLS elite. Which meant there was a lot riding on this match despite its early season status. The Red Bulls took down D.C. United in late March, but neither side was able to separate itself by the end of the showdown. D.C. United took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals in the 26th and 66th minute by Perry Kitchen, but the Red Bulls didn’t crumble after falling behind. But less than a minute after Kitchen’s 2nd goal, the Red Bulls cut the lead in half with a header goal from Damien Perrinelle. It wasn’t until the 90th minute that Lloyd Sam delivered the equalizer for NY to end things in a 2-2 draw.
4. July 26th: D.C. United 3 vs. Philadelphia Union 2 (99/100)
This match received as high of a rating as it did because of the near upset pulled off by Philadelphia, and the comeback that D.C. United completed to avoid this huge upset. D.C. United is the top team in the Eastern Conference, and the Union have the 2nd worst record in the MLS. Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead within the first 4 minutes thanks to goals from C.J. Sapong and Sebastien Le Toux. Newly acquired Forward Alvaro Saborio would get D.C. United on the board in the 37th minute, but the Union took a 2-1 lead into halftime. United would complete the comeback with a 66th minute goal from Nick DeLeon, and win the match on a 79th minute goal by Fabian Espindola.
5. July 25th: Columbus Crew 3 vs. Toronto FC 3 (98/100)
Toronto FC pulled off one of the most impressive comebacks of the MLS season in this match. Columbus jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st half thanks to goals by Kei Kamara and Tony Tchani, and then added to their lead in the 47th minute on a goal by Ethan Finlay. This would send most teams into a downward spiral, but Toronto FC played great from that moment forward. Three minutes later Giovinco got Toronto FC on the board, and just 5 minutes after that Collen Warner scored to narrow the score to 3-2. For the next 34 minutes neither side was able to convert any of their chances, which set up a thrilling final stretch. Jozy Altidore was fouled in the penalty box in the 89th minute, and drilled home a goal to end the match in a 3-3 draw.
6. July 19th: FC Dallas 2 vs. D.C. United 1 (95/100)
This match earned the rating it did because of how late in the match the winning goal was scored. Also, D.C. United were leading the league at the time, which made this an especially impressive result. No goals were scored in the first 73 minutes of the match, until Kellyn Acosta connected for FC Dallas. But D.C. United tied things up just 4 minutes later thanks to an own goal by Matt Hedges. The match then stayed tied 1-1 until stoppage time, where Fabian Castillo became the hero. Castillo scored a rebound goal in the 91st minute that sealed the deal for FC Dallas.
7. May 30th: Orlando City SC 2 vs. Columbus Crew 2 (94/100)
Orlando City SC turned this match into one of the best of the season thanks to some brilliance in the final minutes. Columbus has played well in the air this season, and scored 2 header goals in this match. The Crew got off to an early 1-0 lead thanks a header from Tony Tchani in the 6th minute. About 10 mins later, Parkhurst (CLB) was sent off for a handling Kaka’s (ORL) shot on net off of a corner kick. Kaka (ORL) drilled the penalty kick and tied the game at 1-1. Shockingly, Kamara scored again for the Crew, putting them up 2-1 despite being a man down. But Ribero evened the match for City with a thunderous strike from outside the box in the 89th minute.
8. March 14th: San Jose Earthquakes 3 vs. Seattle Sounders 2 (93/100)
Not only was this a significant upset, but the Earthquakes managed to pull the result off while playing a man down. Things started with a bang when Clint Dempsey scored the Sounders 1st goal in first 30 seconds. But Earthquakes captain Chris Wondolowski tied the game at 1-1 with a great shot off of a cross. Wondolowski then gave the Earthquakes a 2-1 lead thanks to a mistake by the Sounders defense. The Earthquakes went a man down in the 2nd half, only to score again on a great move and strike from Innocent Emeghara in the 70th minute. This was enough to secure the victory despite some close calls down the stretch.
9. April 4th: Chicago Fire 3 vs. Toronto FC 2 (92/100)
This match was rated as highly as it was largely because this was a huge upset. The Chicago Fire currently have the worst record in the MLS, and Toronto FC is one of the top sides in the Eastern Conference. Joevin Jones started the game off with his 1st MLS goal in the 14th minute for the Fire. Giovinco responded quickly for Toronto, capping a 17-pass sequence with his 1st MLS goal since coming over from Juventus in January. Giovino set up another goal for TFC in the 54th minute, giving them a 2-1 lead. But Fire Midfielder Shaun Maloney scored his 1st MLS goal shortly after to tie the match again at 2-2. Creavalle (TFC) was sent off in the 67th, allowing the Fire to eventually close it out with a goal from Larentowicz in the 68th.
10. July 17th: Los Angeles Galaxy 5 vs. San Jose Earthquakes 2 (91/100)
This is one of the best rivalries in the MLS, and this installment of the California Classic didn’t disappoint. Not only was this the debut of one of the highest profile players to ever suit up for an MLS side, but another MLS star had a hat trick. The only thing keeping this match from being ranked higher on this list is that most of the excitement came from the LA Galaxy. Steven Gerrard enjoyed a win in his Galaxy debut as he assisted Robbie Keane for 2 of his goals, and scored a goal of his own. The Earthquakes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, but the Galaxy completely dominated the match the rest of the way.