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What you need to know

Toronto take down New England

Lorenzo Insigne scored a stunner and Toronto held onto a 1-0 lead in New England. It’s their first road win since Aug. 27, 2022.

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Early trends to keep an eye on

We’re still too early in the season for anything to be considered an actual “trend.” But we’re seeing some clouds start to roll in, the wind picking up and the temperature starting to drop in a few places. Sometimes that means we’re about to get a storm; sometimes it’s just some extra clouds. Here are some of those clouds to keep an eye on.

CF Montréal are getting results

In their first game under new manager Laurent Courtois, Montréal came out swinging against Orlando, but failed to break through before eventually retreating. They didn’t get the win, but the first moments of the game left an impression, and they pulled out a draw on the road against a good team.

In their second game, they went to Dallas, scored early, and then took the lead for good thanks to new signing Josef Martínez.

That’s four points across two road games for Courtois and company. It hasn’t been perfect. And they may have potentially lost Kwadwo Opoku to an injury. But they are getting results against probable playoff teams. Even if those results haven’t quite come in the same Nancy-ball, ultra-possession way people hinted at Courtois implementing.

Toronto FC are up for a fight

Look, you’ll hear this a few times from me this week probably, but it’s worth considering Toronto could be on the edge of a playoff spot in the East when all is said and done. It’s not worth betting your life savings on, but it’s worth considering.

They’ve already taken a huge step the 2023 team didn’t: winning a road game. And, importantly, they aren’t folding at the first sign of adversity. Being relatively solid defensively and letting Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi pull a rabbit out of their hat every now and then isn’t a playoff-level formula. But it’s not a Spoon-winning formula either. In a year that’s all about making progress, they’re already on the right track.

Sam Adeniran is doing cool things

Adeniran put up eight goals in 950 MLS minutes last year. He already has two in 111 MLS minutes this year, and both have been outstanding. Now, other players might have higher ceilings, but Adeniran is a diamond in the rough for St. Louis. He’s the kind of hyper-valuable MLS player who has no real impact on your salary cap, but can produce at a high level.

After sending last year’s co-leading scorer Nicholas Gioacchini away this offseason, St. Louis need someone to carry the goal-scoring burden when João Klauss can’t do it alone. Adeniran seems like he might be that guy. And maybe, if we’re lucky, he can be a little more than that. He’s a blast to watch.

Nashville are crawling along

There’s been a phrase going around to describe watching Nashville play soccer: “sufferball.” It’s an apt way to describe what this team wants to do on any given day. When Hany Mukhtar isn’t available, it becomes something more than that.

Things are painful to watch right now, and they’ve started the year with two uninspiring draws. There’s a good chance they’ll be out of Concacaf Champions Cup with Inter Miami arriving this week. And it’s hard to envision this team really making any kind of push for a trophy this year. Yeah, it’s early, but nothing feels fun about them. You can only exist that way for so long, even when you’re actually getting results. When you’re not…

New York City FC are struggling in attack

NYCFC are putting in Nashville-esque performances, and they’re not even trying to. They’re still looking for their first goal this season and their first win. They haven’t been able to work all of their new attacking pieces into the team yet, but it’s important to remember those pieces are young. It’s far from a sure bet they’ll get plugged in and suddenly make this team dynamic.

To be fair, they haven’t played at home yet. And it was always going to take time for new pieces to be at their best. But how long can you wait for everything to come good after a sub-par 2023 season?

The Galaxy are a wagon

I don’t want to get too carried away, but a healthy Galaxy side seems like they might be among the best in the league – at least in attack. New DP winger Joseph Paintsil is the genuine product, Riqui Puig is one of the best No. 10s we’ve seen in MLS, striker Dejan Joveljic looks set to live up to some of his potential, and we haven’t even gotten a real look at what new DP winger Gabriel Pec can do. They’re going to score a ton of goals this year and basically only need to be decent defensively to rack up points.

At least, that’s how it seems right now. The Galaxy aren’t a team you want to get too excited for too quickly. Still, the signs are as good as they’ve been in a long time.

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Good luck out there. Keep everything safe.