What a week in MLS. A defender passed the ball directly to a St. Louis CITY SC striker, St. Louis CITY SC won by multiple goals and St. Louis CITY SC built on their lead atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. It was truly a week unlike any other.
Not my fault, voted on by like 15 MLS personalities, editors and writers, etc., etc. Anyway, teams were missing a ton of players this weekend due to the international break and/or injuries, and no one has any idea how real any of it was. Point being, it was really, really hard to decide how to move teams based on these results. Tom Bogert did his best though.
MY GOD. THAT’S DÉNIS BOUANGA'S MUSIC!
Dude showed up to BMO Stadium a full hour before kickoff after hopping off a 13-hour flight from Turkey and scored the game winner. Things just work differently when you’re this good.
On a related note, the defending MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield winners have 10 points through four games and are sure looking like a team good enough to win pretty much every trophy possible this season.
Ok, yeah, greatest start ever, it’s not a fluke, team is very good, might go 34W-0L-0D at this point, will maybe possibly regress a bit at some point, but who knows when etc., etc.
That’s all well and good. What’s important here though is doing our journalistic duty to ask how on earth they keep doing this.
HE’S RIGHT THERE. HE’S ALWAYS RIGHT THERE. STOP PASSING HIM THE BALL. HE’S 6-FOOT-3 AND VERY GOOD AT THIS SPORT AND NOT ON YOUR TEAM. THESE ARE ALL REASONS IT SHOULD BE EASY TO RECOGNIZE YOU SHOULD NOT PASS HIM THE BALL.
Until it stops, we have to assume opponents are going to gift wrap at least one goal for St. Louis a game. Even still, with or without Joao Klauss’ ability to use some form of ESP to convince teams to politely give him the soccer ball, this would have been a rout. RSL were completely overwhelmed by one of the best teams in the league.
So I guess Cincinnati are now a team that grinds out result after result. They haven’t seemed to take it out of second gear so far this season, and yet, here they are with three one-goal wins and a couple of draws after easing past Nashville last weekend. It’s not what we’re used to around here, but it’s a foundation to build on. If they can kickstart their attack sometime soon, in addition to their growing understanding of how to control games, they’re going to keep grabbing handfuls of points.
Morris, the Golden Boot presented by Audi leader, has seven goals already and just seems generally better at soccer than pretty much everyone else right now. It helps of course that Léo Chú was there for Seattle to deliver four assists at SKC, but Morris has been something close to unstoppable.
Noel Buck, y’all.
“Noel, I thought played a complete game,” Bruce Arena said post-game. "And I think for the first 60 minutes he was probably our best player.”
The 17-year-old is in full-on breakout mode and the Revs keep racking up points. New England are on top of the Eastern Conference after five games and their only loss is from a road trip to LAFC without Carles Gil. They haven’t been dominant, but they have been balanced, they have match-winning pieces (especially in goal) and they’ve been able to grab a few one-goal wins. Sound familiar?
Atlanta were missing a handful of key players, a mid-game injury to Andrew Gutman made things even more difficult and the Five Stripes spiraled. Not great. But it’s also not a real reason to panic. In the end, it’s a road loss with a shorthanded group that only allowed 2.0 xG worth of chances. Bad nights happen. Especially when your biggest weakness (that midfield without Thiago Almada 😅) gets exposed.
Uhhhhh, do we need to have a talk about the Union?
After allowing two goals in the first 10 minutes during their loss to Orlando City this weekend, Philly have three losses on the season. That’s just two fewer than they had the entirety of 2022. Some of that you can chalk up to Concacaf Champions League demands, but not all of it. They haven’t been up to their normal standards so far. Plain and simple.
“I know the expectations for the group at the start of the season have been very, very high,” head coach Jim Curtin said. “And maybe we’re all trying to be perfect rather than just doing our job. … I think that’s what we need to get back to.”
The Lions wasted no time jumping out to an early 2-0 lead against Philadelphia and picked up a huge win on the road. In their first real game away from CCL, that’s a heckuva step in the right direction. It may just be a sign they’re about to settle into the season and grow after a clunky start. It’s especially encouraging that new DP Martín Ojeda found the net for the second straight game.
Atlanta didn’t come in at full strength, but neither did the Crew. And, well, one team handled that situation a whole lot better. Who knows how much you can actually take from a full-on beatdown with both sides’ best players missing, but it has to be a nice boost of confidence for a Crew team that weren’t catching many breaks early on in Wilfried Nancy’s tenure. There will be more games like this on the way for Columbus. Now the question is if this was an immediate turning point or a precursor to bigger things down the road that might take a while to get to.
Most importantly, a big shoutout to how Nancy’s pretty good at this talent development thing.
Nashville played a cagey 1-0 game. Can you believe it?
This time they came out on the losing side against Cincinnati. That’s not to be dismissive or anything, but it’s four years into this and it’s the same Nashville team as ever. What more analysis do you need?
Dallas nearly pulled out a somewhat impressive point despite going down to 10 men in the first half. But even after Carlos Vela bounced a late penalty off the crossbar, they couldn’t hold onto a 1-1 draw at LAFC.
It’s not great how NYCFC couldn’t generate much of anything against Houston. Road games are hard though, right? And new attacking midfielder Richy Ledezma should theoretically help out with these kinds of problems in the future.
The Quakes were unlucky to not get a goal or all three points at home against Toronto. There are worse starts than seven points in five games with a new manager and some bad breaks though. Especially in San Jose.
The Red Bulls were hilariously Red Bulls this weekend. They completed just 49.3% of their passes, only made 207 of them, and still out-created Charlotte by a significant margin. Yet they caught a rough break with an own goal and only picked up a point.
By the way: still no starts for new DP forward Dante Vanzeir. That’s kinda weird.
Well that’s a damn good result for Houston, isn’t it? The Dynamo went toe-to-toe with a something close to full-strength NYCFC side and outplayed them in a 1-0 win. They’ve started the year with games against Cincy, New England, Austin and NYCFC and were probably the better team in three out of four games. It hasn’t been a perfect start or anything under Ben Olsen, but these days the Dynamo are just looking for progress. They’ve found it so far.
In related news, Héctor Herrera seems to be enjoying himself:
Austin nearly got a bounceback win until they didn’t. And with a makeshift backline, Brad Stuver was forced to do this:
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No goals, but one road point for Toronto FC this weekend.
The Galaxy still don’t look sharp and that’s in part because their wingers just don’t inspire much confidence. LA weren’t bad against Portland, but it never really felt like they had the quality in the final third to break through, especially without strikers Dejan Joveljic and Chicharito. With three points over four games and just two goals scored, you kind of have to wonder if it might be some version of Chicharito or bust for this group.
The whole “letting Inter Miami back into the game after going up 2-0 in the first half” thing? Not great. But at least they stuck the landing.
The best thing to happen to Charlotte FC this week occurred in Warsaw, Poland.
Simon Becher’s late goal, after Vancouver created a ton, was a just reward. And while a road point in MLS is a good point in the end, the Whitecaps have just three of those through five games.
The Herons fought back after going down early, but Kei Kamara’s late goal doomed them in the end. That’s three straight losses after two big wins to start the season.
For just a moment, all seemed well. SKC took the lead, Willy Agada got on the board for the first time this season and they had the lead at home. Then Jordan Morris decided that wasn’t acceptable.
It’s been a sometimes unlucky and at all times less than fun start for Sporting in 2023. They have just two points through five games.
Through five games, D.C. have allowed more goals (10) than any other team in the league besides Portland. Portland allowed half of theirs in one game though. For D.C., it’s been more like a steady stream. It probably has something to do with allowing moments like this.
Yeah, the Timbers are up a spot. That’s more because teams around them in the Power Rankings™ are falling.
Either way, last weekend's game was not fun to watch. But it did bring about some drama after starting goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic didn’t even make the bench.
CFM took the week off. For now, they’re stuck at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table.
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What an excellent moment for a guy that’s had a lot of criticism thrown his way about his ability in front of goal. The Rapids earned a point and a morale boost after a tough week that saw them lose midfielder/captain Jack Price for the season to an Achilles tear.