The first coaching change of the season, a breakout performance from Austin FC and a wild opening match at the Columbus Crew's brand new Lower.com Stadium were just some of the storylines to take stock of coming off another packed week of action throughout MLS in Week 11. Here's this week's edition of 27 Takeaways, one observation on every MLS team.
The winless streak extended to six, and while a valid excuse exists due to the number of absences, I still get the feeling Gabriel Heinze should be getting more from this group. In other words, they should still be too good to lose how they did against Chicago.
After weeks of looking anything but dangerous in the final third, the offense erupted in spectacular fashion to put themselves firmly in the playoff hunt. Defensively, they put on a clinic as well in allowing only one shot on goal.
All of a sudden the Fire can’t stop scoring. Six goals in the last two games to go along with four points have been the perfect response to the fans understandable disappointment just a few short weeks ago.
Seven points in three games has them just two wins outside of a playoff spot. I wouldn’t say they’ve had a full turnaround just yet, but there’s no doubt they appear to be heading the right direction. The visit from Columbus this weekend will be a great indicator of exactly where they are.
Will be disappointed not to have taken all three points against the Sounders based on their second half performance, but still, their attacking group — especially Jonathan Lewis — were full of ideas and inventiveness, and although they did lack the killer instinct needed to put teams away, you can see why they’re a team to be reckoned with.
Columbus would have loved to christen the new stadium opening with a big win against one of the best teams in the league, and although that wasn’t to be, they can be pleased the the spirit they showed to fight back from two down and rescue a point. Will have to put a run of wins together at some point if they harbor hopes of fighting for the top seed in the East.
They were unable to follow up last weekends big win with another win at home to Vancouver. Although they were dominant and created a lot of chances, they had to settle for a 94th minute own goal to rescue a point. Next three games are all away to really good Western Conference teams and will go a long way to determining what kind of season they’ll ultimately have.
Last week I complained that they didn’t score enough goals, and then they go and score seven in one game. Most impressively, they had six different goal scorers and the performance of Andy Najar was the icing on the cake.
It’s now four straight draws and just one win in the past six. A trio of road games are next up, starting with a visit to Seattle where they will have be at their very best if they hope to turnaround their form. A positive has been the form of Maxi Urruti, who’s scored three in the last six.
It wasn’t pretty against RSL, just one shot on goal, but it’s exactly what this team needed — a gutsy, have to dig deep, win when you’re not at your best kind of win. Despite their average season so far, they are in 5th place and just two wins behind their local rivals who sit in third.
A midweek home game is exactly what’s needed to get back on track following the disappointing defeat against Sporting KC. Still having a good season, but I do wonder how long they can stay where they are if they don’t significantly improve their goal difference.
Will be disheartened to have dropped two points but in the end, the big picture still says they are unbeaten in seven and playing some really good football at times. A tough midweek match up at Colorado may require some rotation which will give us a glimpse of their strength in depth.
Currently sitting just one spot outside of the playoff positions, and with the next two being at home — yes I know that term deserved an asterisk for all three Canadian teams — the goal should be to make this a nine point week.
They got a massive win against a very good team, and they did it by going back to their DNA — being defensively sound, while being efficient at the opposite end. They’re not the most glamorous team to watch, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not effective.
Had the weekend off but they get back to action with a trip to face Montreal. It’ll be important to pick up where they left off because the teams behind them are winning games and are ready to leapfrog them should they slip up.
They finally got a road win and it was a good one against a very good team. A win like that can only inspire confidence and hopefully a good run of form. They got a stunner from Cristian Casseres Jr. who seems to get better every time he plays.
Their two defeats this season have both been against RBNY although they can count themselves unlucky to not have gotten at least a point at the weekend. A nice challenge at the ever improving Chicago Fire awaits them next, but there’s no reason they should not be going there expecting to get three points.
The eight-game unbeaten run came to an end at Nashville and while they still sit near the top of the league, and are one of the favorites for silverware, they should be concerned with the four goals in two games they’ve conceded. Normally they are very sound defensively so I don’t see any long term issues here, but the sooner they can get back to some clean sheets the better.
They’ve won once in the last five games and were well and truly beaten by Austin FC. The 19 goals conceded is second highest in the entire Western Conference, and it’s not the kind of defensive form that will get them back into the playoff picture. Three shots on target in the last two games point to issues at the other end of the pitch as well.
They should have gotten more out of the game against LAFC but were unable to make their possession count. They’ll have to pick up some valuable road points in the next two games if they are to keep in touch with the red line. They still need to get more from Albert Rusnak to truly unlock their offence.
Even though they know how to excite at the attacking end, especially when Cade Cowell is firing, they simply concede too many goals to have any realistic hope of competing with the top teams in the West. 22 goals allowed — at an average of almost two per game — is far too high for this stage of this season.
They should be elated by the point captured in Colorado. They were under siege in the second half, and where lesser teams would have succumbed to the pressure, the Sounders showed why they are still unbeaten due to the timely tackles, blocks, and yes, good fortune they received when they needed it most
For the second week in a row they took down an LA team. They left it late but they got the job done and have now leapfrogged the Sounders into first place. A clean sheet was also a welcome sight as that’s the one area, if we are going to nitpick, where they’ve had some trouble.
They defended poorly both collectively and individually and any team in the league would have put multiple goals past them on the day. The result was the final step in Chris Armas' journey leading the team. Some much needed soul searching, accountability, and a good coaching hire are needed if they are to return to the heights they once scaled not so long ago
The late goals they concede have robbed them of so many points that would have had them either in the playoff picture or closer to it. Attacking wise they have the pieces to create chances and goals, but the defensive lapses that are leading to the late goals against must be addressed before it’s too late