We're now through Week 3 of the MLS season and plenty of early storylines continue to build across the league. Here are this week's 27 takeaways, one for every MLS team, coming off the third week of action.
With two defeats in two different competitions, it wasn’t a good week for Atlanta. However, there are still signs that once head coach Gabriel Heinze’s ideas fully take hold, they’ll be among the forces to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
Last week’s win at Colorado was about a second-half offensive explosion. This time around against Minnesota they were solid defensively, limiting the Loons to just two shots on goal. Diego Fagundez is already proving to be a solid acquisition for the expansion side, scoring his second goal in as many weeks.
Chicago are conceding 2.3 goals a game and are yet to really click offensively. One of the keys to turning around a slow start is to keep clean sheets and grind out results. Robert Beric and Luka Stojanovic will find goals and create chances, but that won’t matter if they don’t tighten up defensively.
Any team that concedes at the rate Cincinnati is will massively struggle. It’s hard to see how they can stop the goals leaking because they’re conceding them in so many ways – set pieces, through the run of play and as a result of their own mistakes.
After a tough Concacaf Champions League draw in midweek, they’ll be happy with the point and clean sheet against a CF Montréal team that was scoring goals for fun. Columbus are designed to concede very few and on a day when things didn’t click offensively, they managed to bend but not break in order to leave with a point.
The big worry when I watch D.C. United is trying to figure out where the goals are going to consistently come from. They created enough chances to make the final scoreline a lot closer against San Jose, but they lacked a clinical edge in the final third. Even with injury absences, that could be their undoing in future games as well.
Houston’s draw against LAFC was filled with enough good moments to build on, although they still lacked the sharpness Tab Ramos would want in their ball movement. No extra motivation will be needed ahead of a big showdown against their big rivals on Saturday, a trip to FC Dallas (3:30 pm ET | Univision, TUDN, Twitter).
The good news is LA move the ball really well and look far more dynamic in attack than they did during the 2020 season. However, the bad news is they’re still giving up way too many chances at the back. Until the balance between attack and defense is better, it’s tough to see them cracking into the top three spots in the West.
Last season, Miami would probably lose the type of game they played against Nashville. The best teams in MLS find ways to pick up a point here and there throughout the season — points that eventually lead them to the playoffs. If Phil Neville’s team can pick this up, they’ll find themselves in the playoffs.
Three games and three defeats. One goal for and seven against. No one could have predicted such a horrendous start for a Minnesota team many of us saw as one of the very best in the entire league. The only way out of a slump like this is to roll your sleeves up and fight back. If nothing else, Adrian Heath is about to find out which players he can really count on when the going gets tough.
Montréal created enough chances to beat Columbus, but the positive thing is they didn’t find a way to lose the game, something they did too often last season. That shows me that Wilfried Nancy’s team has the potential to mount a serious challenge in the East.
Nashville got back to their bread and butter, which is being defensively organized and tidying up at the back. They’re a much better team when the focus is on being defensively sound because they have enough quality to grind out enough 1-0 wins that will put them in the playoff mix come the end of the season.
NYCFC took advantage of 10-man Philly to win in comfortable fashion. There’s a nice flow to their attacking movements at present and goals are coming easily, which is always a good sign.
Seattle put together their best game of this young season by being excellent at both ends of the field. In attack, Raul Ruidiaz did what he does best by applying the finish to some fantastic team moves. Defensively, the play of Nouhou Tolo continues to impress. He’s playing at an MLS Best XI level right now.
The way Rubio Rubin was able to slice and dice his way through Sporting’s backline for his second goal at the weekend won’t sit well with Peter Vermes. Currently, they don’t look capable of keeping a clean sheet and that’s cause for concern.
A trip to RBNY will be followed by a showdown with Columbus. Those upcoming league games will tell us a lot about what kind of team Toronto will be this season. Failing to win either or both of those games will leave Chris Armas' group with a lot of ground to make up in the East.
The key for Vancouver will be preventing one defeat from becoming two or three on the bounce. That was their issue last season, and they’ll be desperate to avoid a repeat of that troubling pattern in 2021.