Voices: Sacha Kljestan

Stock Up, Stock Down: Lucho stops Cincy's slide, Chicho shows MVP potential


Matchday 10 has come and gone in Major League Soccer. Let's take stock of who's up and who's down!

Inter Miami CF logo
Inter Miami CF

It's now four straight league matches unbeaten for Miami after picking up a dominant 3-1 win at home against Nashville.

Lionel Messi was the star of the show (again) after his two-goal, one assist performance. It's pretty fun to watch this GOAT play, especially when he's had a whole week to prepare. A healthy and rested Messi = a nightmare for the opposition.

It can't all be glitter and gold and pink in Miami, though, as Diego Gómez went down injured (ankle) and was in tears leaving the pitch. He's been a key player this season for Miami and it won't be easy to replicate the work the Paraguayan does on both sides of the ball. Let's hope his injury isn't serious.

Real Salt Lake logo
Real Salt Lake

Another team that hasn't lost in over a month, Real Salt Lake went to Soldier Field and decimated the Chicago Fire, 4-0.

Chicho Arango is firmly in the Golden Boot and MVP races after a two-goal, two-assist performance. He is an absolute killer in front of goal, but in the mold of Luis Suárez and Cucho Hernández, he does more than just put the ball in the back of the net. He has clever movement, works hard off the ball, and has shown a real quality for the final pass as well.

You have been put on notice, MLS: Chicho is one of the best in the league right now.

Cincy bounced back after two straight losses, taking all three points in a 2-1 win at Atlanta.

In a battle of two of the premier No. 10s in MLS, Lucho Acosta outshined Thiago Almada. After Almada scored a banger, Acosta once again put the team on his back and led a beautiful counterattack to set up the tying goal, then finished off a cross from close range for the game-winner.

Cincy are now the only team in the Eastern Conference with three wins away from home this season and showing why they're still a candidate for trophies.

New York City FC logo
New York City FC

New York City FC badly needed a turnaround, and now head coach Nick Cushing's side are four straight unbeaten after beating D.C. United, 2-0, at home. They will play their next two games at home with a good chance to keep the unbeaten streak going.

Santiago Rodríguez was dynamic throughout and finished with a goal and an assist – the Uruguayan playmaker is really stepping up as of late. Back-to-back clean sheets is also exactly what this squad needed, as they have now moved above the playoff line.

Portland Timbers logo
Portland Timbers

It was actually a pretty good road performance for Portland... but then Columbus defender Steven Moreira crushed the Timbers' hopes with an absolute banger to the top corner to earn a 2-2 draw.

Despite the decent performance, Portland failed to win again for the sixth week in a row. They have three points from their last six games – it's not good enough to be a playoff team. They have also given up 13 goals in their last five – again, not good enough.

Phil Neville can find some positives, though, as they have three straight draws. A big match with LAFC is on the horizon this coming Saturday (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

Everything about this match at home against Real Salt Lake was dreadful… dominated from start to finish on your home field. Four-nil! Embarrassing was the word in the studio this weekend as we discussed this performance.

Chicago are in danger of missing the playoffs for the 11th time in the last 12 years if they can't figure things out soon.