We've arrived at the first major international break of the MLS season, which means there are several teams out there going into problem-solving mode.
While clubs on the rise always hate to see the schedule temporarily put on ice, those struggling to find form and/or fitness will look at a two-week league hiatus as a chance to cure what ails them.
Which clubs are most in need of this MLS breather? Five names quickly leap to mind.
After an encouraging start to their MLS membership, Josh Wolff's scrappy bunch need another reset. Last weekend's scoreless draw at Seattle was a solid result, but it was also their first point in a month and ran their goal-shy streak to a worrisome 353 minutes.
The Herons have dropped three of four, and the slide isn’t without merit. They've been reactive and leaky, which is less than Phil Neville’s squad should be capable of. The issues are spread out, so there's no easy fix.
Most of these entries are about clubs in a slump, but the Timbers had two excellent wins in a row before a 3-0 setback at Philadelphia last weekend. Instead, Portland's international break fortune mostly involves getting key bodies back in working order. Sebastian Blanco should be close to making his season debut, barring any setbacks for the Argentine attacker.
The three weeks off will also benefit midfield patrolman Diego Chara, goalkeeper Steve Clark and center back Larrys Mabiala. That's practically the team's defensive spine plus its top playmaker, so the time to heal all wounds – and, let's be honest, to sort out their misfiring restart defending – should come in handy.
The Earthquakes are reeling, dropping four straight (including three at home) after convincing wins over D.C. United and FC Dallas in the season’s early goings. San Jose are second in the West in xG differential, getting blanked in three of their last four matches.
Matias Almeyda’s side must figure out who steps up and finishes some chances during this extra-long pause, which concludes during the aforementioned Austin FC home opener on June 19.
Some teams are scuffling, others have injury woes they'd like to melt away. The Reds have both and then some to worry about these days, namely figuring out what to do with Jozy Altidore. Toronto FC have one lonely win to start the Chris Armas era, and it's reasonable to surmise a turnaround is at hand if Alejandro Pozuelo gets in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
He's not the only guy using this break to get fit (e.g. Jonathan Osorio is yet to be involved in consecutive league matches this term), but he’s the reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP. They’re also still waiting for Yeferson Soteldo to get off the mark after the winger's highly-touted move from Brazilian side Santos.