Blowouts, Barco, ball kids: What you might've missed in MLS Week 10

Bradley Wright-Phillips - New York Red Bulls - celebrates his goal vs. NYCFC - close-up

Didn't catch every minute of MLS Week 10? Here are some crib notes.

Barco off the mark as Atlanta roll on

Ding dong! MLS has a new frontrunner. Now roaring along on an eight-game (7-0-1) unbeaten streak since their opening-day humbling in Houston, Atlanta United defeated the Chicago Fire2-1 at Toyota Park, much-hyped newcomer Ezequiel Barco scoring his first MLS goal with a coldly clinical finish:

That win, combined with New York City FC’s brutal NY Derby loss to the New York Red Bulls, puts the Five Stripes alone atop the overall league standings on 22 points from their first nine games. And that makes Wednesday’s date with Sporting KC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium a top-of-the-table clash between the East and West leaders (7:30 pm ET | ESPN+ – Full TV and streaming info).

Down and out in Harrison

Speaking of NYCFC … well, maybe it’s better to say less. Heretofore the class of the league, the blue half of Gotham looked woefully uninspired in the 4-0 thrashing at Red Bull Arena, coach Patrick Vieira saying afterwards, “if I had a chance to change all the 10 players on the field, I [would’ve] at halftime.”

Cardiac, Comeback Cats do it again

Not only have NYC slid into second place in the East, they’ve been just about reeled in by Orlando City SC, who’ve won six straight and now sit just one point back of the Bronx squad while carrying a higher points-per-game yield. The Lions are also fun – albeit probably stressful to their supporters – to watch, having given up the first goal in four of those six games only to roar back to victory. Sunday’s 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake was the latest example:

By the way, Orlando host red-hot Atlanta on national television on Sunday evening (6 pm ET | FS1, TSN – Full TV and streaming info).)

Dynamo get the Memo

We can say this much about the Zlatan Ibrahimovic-era LA Galaxy: They are not boring.

Unfortunately for them and their fans, they’re also not good defensively, not in possession of a winning record and not in the Western Conference’s playoff places at present. Their latest barnburner unfolded in Houston, where the Galaxy fell behind twice, resourcefully hauled themselves level twice – then conceded a 90th-minute winner via the head of Dynamo HomegrownMemo Rodriguez to spark bedlam at BBVA Compass Stadium:

“We can either wake up, or continue like this,” said Ibra postgame, “but if we continue like this, we don’t want the same objective – we don’t want to win.”

Questions in Cascadia

Thanks to a moment of magic from the one and only Diego Valeri, the Portland Timbers dug out a 1-0 win at San Jose – the Earthquakes are in big trouble, by the way, winless since opening day and carrying the worst points-per-game average in MLS at present.

But Seattle and Vancouver were the picture of frustration on Saturday, both shut out by their opponents despite enjoying a numerical advantage for more than half the game. The Sounders’ 0-0 home draw with Columbus was probably more galling, based on the boos that rang out after the final whistle at CenturyLink Field. Seattle sit in last place, with the fewest goals scored in the league.

Montreal stop the rot, mostly

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Montreal Impact, who’ve been losing games and bleeding goals badly – and leaked a couple more when the New England Revolution hit town on Saturday. Thankfully for the Impact, it was already 4-0 to the hosts when they did.

Ignacio Piatti had one of his signature rapier-sharp attacking displays, while Raheem Edwards and Anthony Jackson-Hamel responded in a big way to some very public criticism from manager Remi Garde. Meanwhile, pundits around the league probably want to keep building the sample size before guessing at the true ceiling of this overhauled Revs team.

Lee and Maxi

Lee Nguyen, the guy New England shipped out of town just before the primary transfer window closed this week, made his LAFC debut off the bench on Saturday, against his hometown club FC Dallas. The veteran playmaker looked like a promising addition, despite being unable to break the 1-1 deadlock. Dallas’ Maxi Urruti stole the show with this opportunistic lash against the run of play:

The first tie in LAFC history, it probably should’ve been a win. And the week ahead will test the expansionists, with a midweek visit from Minnesota and a tasty-looking meeting with NYCFC on Sunday 8:30 pm ET | FS1 –  Full TV and streaming info).

TFC: Probably doing OK

Toronto FC suffered a pretty agonizing end to their Concacaf Champions League run, and have some work to do to catch up with the field in league play. Friday’s 3-0 disassembling of an admittedly flimsy Philadelphia Union side suggests Sebastian Giovinco and the Reds are up for the climb, and if this ball kid’s grooving is any indication, the vibes will improve at BMO Field quickly.