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A Monday morning edition of The Recap for ya. As fun as Leagues Cup was, I missed MLS, y’all.
What happened?: Aidan Morris thumped a ball into the back of the net from distance and the Crew were off and running from then on. They were in total control here.
So, did we learn anything?: They probably didn’t need to send it to have the rest of the East on edge, but the Crew went ahead and fired a warning shot anyway. They’re playing fantastic soccer under Wilfried Nancy, and it feels like Julian Gressel and Diego Rossi might outweigh Lucas Zelarayan in the aggregate. The Crew are one of the league’s best teams and a genuine threat to win their second title in four years.
What happened?: JOHN. FREAKING. TOLKIN.
Tolkin whipped a late free-kick around a D.C. United wall and into the bottom corner of the net to give New York a huge win – with his hair looking outstanding the entire time.
So, did we learn anything?: This was an extremely typical RBNY-D.C. game, but New York found an edge in the end. These kinds of 1-0 wins are exactly what New York have been missing for the first two-thirds of the season despite playing some of the best defense in MLS. If they can start pulling out close, low-scoring results like this, they’re going to keep their playoff streak going.
On the other side, it’s a bad start to the final stretch for D.C. United. With Taxi Fountas dismissed and D.C. now below the playoff line, I think it’s fair to worry about their playoff chances at this point.
What happened?: A long-distance goal from Jan Gregus – subbed on earlier in the game for the injured Bongokuhle Hlongwane – changed the game state for Minnesota United, and the Loons were able to see out a critical road win.
So, did we learn anything?: The Loons are back above the playoff line, and I’m feeling good about my prediction that we’ll see them in the postseason. Then again, seeing Hlongwane come off early is serious cause for concern. If he misses an extended period of time, Minnesota will lose a ton of bite in attack.
What happened?: Montréal took an early 2-0 lead, and it seemed like Toronto might just go ahead and pack it in for the night. Fortunately for them, Federico Bernardeschi had other ideas. However, a brace from their DP winger wasn’t enough in the end. Montréal looked sharp in this one.
So, did we learn anything?: I don’t think so. Toronto are ready for it to be any other year. But it is encouraging to see Montréal have a number of quality moments in attack with Mahala Opoku leading the charge.
What happened?: Chicago went up early in the second half, and I turned to my dog and went “I dunno man, I think they’re gonna blow it.” I was almost immediately proven right, and Orlando rolled the rest of the way.
So, did we learn anything?: Orlando are a good team, and Chicago are a not-quite-good-yet team that’s already off on the wrong foot in their chase for a Wild Card spot. They could have gained ground on a few teams below them in the standings Sunday. Instead, they blew up after taking the lead.
What happened?: Portland realized how hot it was on the field and called it a night early. I gotta respect it.
So, did we learn anything?: Houston looked outstanding and Portland looked like a team that had no interest in being out there in the heat, or in making the playoffs.
What happened?: Tim Parker scored early and St. Louis were off and running. Nicholas Gioacchini added a brace for goals nine and 10 on the season and then…well, things got kind of weird and kind of like the end of an NBA All-Star Game where everyone gives up on even the remote idea of defense. But it wasn’t quite weird enough to truly get Austin back into the game.
So, did we learn anything?: Well, in case you forgot, St. Louis can still haul off and boatrace someone at a moment's notice. That’s an excellent start to the final third of the season and a big boost in their chase for the top spot in the West. They’re now seven points up on LAFC. And if Gioacchini keeps playing like this, they’ll stay up on LAFC.
Feels like Austin would just really rather not play St. Louis again this year, please and thanks.
What happened?: Giorgos Giakoumakis scored off a first-half corner kick and a second-half assist from Thiago Almada as Atlanta United picked up a huge road win.
So, did we learn anything?: If you haven’t learned the name Tristan Muyumba yet, it’s time to. Atlanta’s new midfielder changes everything for Atlanta United with his ability to progress the ball and survive pressure in the middle of the pitch. He’s everything they’ve been looking for. And in the first 30 minutes of this one, the Five Stripes were as good as they have in a long, long time. If new DP winger Saba Lobjanidze can make a similar impact, this could be a very fun Atlanta-side down the stretch.
Meanwhile, life in 2023 continues to be a struggle for Seattle. It’s clear a refresh is needed at this point. It’s hard to see the best version of Seattle, the one we’ve come to expect, coming around this season. Something is just off. You can’t say never with this team, of course, but it’s much easier to doubt them than it used to be.
What happened?: Cristian Espinoza, as he tends to do for San Jose, made the difference.
So, did we learn anything?: A solid and professional win for San Jose in a six-pointer that may have a major impact down the line. The Quakes are just one point behind fourth-place Seattle and two points behind RSL and LAFC.
Vancouver, as they tend to do, are going to let things get very interesting down the stretch.
- The Crew turned Ohio gold in the latest Hell Is Real.
- Portland suffered a "deflating" blowout against Houston.
- St. Louis CITY SC brought a "ruthlessness" in their big win over Austin FC.
Good luck out there. Recognize the patterns in everyday life.