MLS is back in action coming off the June international break and there was plenty to take stock of following our first full slate of games in three weeks. Here's this week's edition of 27 Takeaways, one for every MLS team, as the season gets back rolling.
Four straight draws perfectly sums up what this Atlanta United team is currently doing — showing lots of promise but not doing quite enough to actually win games. Blowing a two goal lead at home undid what would have been a momentum shifting victory.
They'll be disappointed not to open up the new stadium with a win, but Austin FC fans should take pride in the fact that this team is brave, tries to play the right way, and the hope should be that they’ll capitalize on the home-heavy remaining schedule.
It’s now four goals in eight games and it’s clear something needs to change on that side of the pitch. Is it tactics? Is it personnel? Probably a little of both. Without that happening, Chicago will play themselves out of the playoffs before the halfway point of the season.
Once again the Rapids were outshot and out-possessed but they are so clinical right now that it doesn’t matter. They are in really great form and I get the sense they can still get better. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now, it’s time to take them very seriously as a title contender.
Three wins on the bounce, Gyasi Zardes is hitting form and they are about to embark on a new era. What I like about this Caleb Porter team is that they don’t have to be at their very best to win — although they were pretty good at the weekend — and that is the truest mark of a great team. If they can beat the Union and the Revolution who they play either side of facing Austin — the Crew will once again be the team to beat in the East.
They still feel like a team that is too good to be at the bottom of the Conference Standings but Dallas need to start showing that with wins. They are going to need a mammoth effort this week as they go on the road to a desperate LAFC team, before welcoming the Eastern Conference leaders to Frisco in what could be a season defining week.
In some ways they are playing well enough to have a better record than they do, but something still seems off. The form of Carlos Vela isn’t a concern for me yet because great players only need a moment to turn things around and go on a tear. However, those top seeds will keep moving further and further away if LAFC are unable to rediscover the scoring touch they once had — the one where it looked like they could score four goals a game if they wanted to.
The Galaxy ran out of steam and ideas against the Sounders and I firmly believe that if Greg Vanney is given two additional attacking pieces who can really complement Chicharito, and perhaps one defensive rock to play at the heart of the back line, he can take this club back to where they feel they belong.
There’s trouble in Miami. Winless and scoreless in three — this is not what David Beckham and his co-owners had in mind when this project got off the ground. Five shots on target across three games is below par by anyone’s standards. Phil Neville was brought in to take this team to the next level, but so far at least, they don’t look any better than last season. Next up is a big derby game and it could be what’s needed to inspire this group.
The draw may be a little disappointing, but it should be viewed as now being unbeaten in their last four. Minnesota have yet to completely convince me that they can live up to the off-season hype, but they are slowly treading in the right direction.
Had the weekend off but will be hoping to build on the win in their last game when D.C. United come to town in midweek.
Unbeaten no more. When it just isn’t your day, all you can do is hold your hands up and try to be better the next game. How Nashville respond to this defeat will be critical — does it become a losing streak, or do they right their wrongs and show that it was just a minor blip?
Clearly NYCFC are a good team. What isn’t as clear is why they haven’t been able to string together back to back wins. With two home games to round out their week, they won’t get many better opportunities to rack up six points and push themselves higher up the table.
They ended Nashville’s unbeaten start to the season by doing what they’ve done all year — win at home. Next up is two away games — they’ve lost every away game so far — and they have a chance to show that they know how to win away from Red Bull Arena.
They got a big win at the weekend. It was big for the three points, but more so for the manner of victory. Losing a two goal lead can be very demoralizing but Orlando kept on going and although they left it late, they showed great character to pull that kind of win on the road.
They got the kind of draw that feels like a win due to the late heroics of Jakob Glesnes and they’ll need to ride that wave of euphoria as they’ll face a staunch test when Columbus come to town in midweek. Philadelphia have been the best team in the league recently in my view, but this game against the Crew will be the toughest one they’ve had this season.
Any time you can knock off a direct competitor while boosting your own points total, you have to feel good about your performance. Away form has been the issue for Savarese’s men, but if they can get a result in Houston, I can see them going on to sustain the kind of form that will place them near the very top of the West.
It was left very late, but better late than never. The win was much needed to break the string of three straight draws, and with only one defeat on the season so far, maybe it’s time we took RSL a little more seriously as a contender?
They fell behind to a Galaxy team that had won every home game and they were missing three of their best players in Stefan Frei, Nouhou, and Nicolas Lodeiro. Yet, the Sounders did what they’ve often done in the Schmetzer era and that’s find a way to win no matter who’s on the pitch. To be unbeaten at this stage of the season, with the adversity they’ve faced, is nothing short of exceptional.
After a tough defeat, having two home games to rebound and get back on form is exactly what you’d want. Those two home games are against two of the better teams in the West but with the form Sporting had been in prior to this past weekend, they’ll fancy themselves to get six points to close out the week.
The manner of defeat to RSL will hurt because of the late goals but the Whitecaps have to look ahead and prepare themselves for the next two fixtures against a couple of good teams in the Galaxy and the Sounders. This time next week we will know exactly how far — or maybe how close — the Whitecaps actually are to the top teams in the West.