The busiest week of the 2019 Major League Soccer regular season (19 matches) continues on Independence Day with another three matches.
After Wednesday's seven-match slate which saw 28 goals scored -- learn about everything you missed here -- there's no reason we shouldn't expect even more pyrotechnics. Last season, the Fourth of July was one of the best matchdays of the year.
We had the Darwin Quintero hat trick in Minnesota United's 4-3 win over Toronto FC, which may have been the best individual performance of the 2018 season. Who in their right mind attempts three chips in a single game with the goalie less than six yards off his line. Who scores a hat trick of chips?!?
It never gets old.
Here's your primer for the Thursday action ...
Thursday: Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution | 9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada
The Rapids and Revs have jolted new life into their seasons after coaching changes. Conor Casey and Bruce Arena have restored some level of freedom both in the locker room and on the pitch, creating a natural boost. They've also dialed back extremes on the pitch.
The Revs pressed high under Brad Friedel, holding the fourth-least possession in MLS and winning possession most often in the final third until his dismissal in May. They have returned to middle of the pack in terms of winning the ball in the final third, per Opta (though possession isn't particularly skying.) Meanwhile, Casey has slowed the Rapids' insistence on holding a high line and desire to dominate possession. Now, they defend closer to goal and emphasize moments of transition and set-pieces.
Kids are growing up
Thursday: FC Dallas vs. D.C. United | 9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada
FC Dallas' sale of Carlos Gruezo to Augsburg – other than it being a great deal and making too much financial sense to turn it down – speaks to how much trust the club has in Edwin Cerrillo and Brandon Servania.
It's not as if we didn't know that already. They've started together at the base of midfield four straight games with Gruezo and Bryan Acosta absent for their respective national teams. Acosta is back, but minutes won't be an issue for Cerrillo and Servania. The kids are alright.
Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo | USA Today Sports
Thursday: LA Galaxy vs. Toronto FC | 10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, TSN in Canada
Will Zlatan Ibrahimovic put in a Fourth of July performance a la Quintero's on TFC last year?
Toronto steadied the ship last week and a big reason was playing Alejandro Pozuelo as a false nine, allowing him to drift everywhere. Homegrown winger Jacob Shaffelburg has offered a desperately needed injection of pace on the wing, helping lead the team to their first win in nine games. Perhaps it should have been back-to-back wins if penalty decisions had gone their way on the weekend, but four points in a week without Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Omar Gonzalez is a great return considering TFC's prior fortunes.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy haven't been great lately. They're 3-6-0 across their last nine, with each win coming at the expense of clubs currently below the playoff line. The match against TFC kicks off a three-game homestand, though.