The Recap

Lucho did it again, Miami did too, and the rest of the Supporters’ Shield contenders were out here trying to keep up. Let’s talk it out.

K. Kelsy (29'), L. Acosta (49’, 90+10’), L. Orellano (60') | T. Baribo (43', 90+1’), J. Bueno (55')

Lucho freaking Acosta, man. He delivered an assist on Cincy’s first goal from Kevin Kelsy, finished a penalty on their second, watched along with the rest of us as Luca Orellano scored from midfield and looked great doing it and then, as the 100th minute of the game ticked by on the clock, scored the kind of winner that only he and one other player in the league (you know who) can score. He has nine goals and 14 assists on the season now and is working his way back into the MVP conversation while guiding Cincinnati to another Supporters’ Shield push. You can’t say enough positive things about him.

You can say some detracting things about Cincy’s defending right now though. They’ve allowed 10 goals in their last four games. To be fair, they’ve won three of those, but you can only outrun that kind of defending for so long. It’s very off-brand and it’s hard to see it getting too much better with Miles Robinson gone and Matt Miazga injured. It’s something to keep an eye on over the next few weeks. For now, though, who cares? Lucho is just gonna keep being better than everyone else. And they’ve won nine of their last 10.

You can also say some negative things about the Union. Even with mystery signing Tai Baribo popping up from wherever he had been to deliver a brace and provide a much-needed breath of fresh air, they couldn’t get the job done. They have one win in their last 12 games and it came against the last-place Revs. Philly are now below the playoff line.

I. Fray (10'), L. Campana (21') | Cucho (40')

A shorthanded Miami side got an early goal from a corner thanks to Ian Fray, Leo Campana scored moments later and the Herons kept the Crew from getting level the rest of the way. Instead of waiting around for a miracle like they did last weekend, they just flipped the game state from the jump and went from there. Honestly, it’s a far more impressive win than what they did in Philly. This one felt professional rather than manipulated by a higher power.

The Herons stayed on top of the Supporters’ Shield standings with the win. It sure seems like this was the sign that they’re going to be just fine until the big guns get back from Copa América.

The Crew will have expected more from this one, but road games are hard and game states are real. Of note here: Aidan Morris played in this game and picked up an assist after sitting out on Saturday.

D. Joveljic (41'), D. Fagúndez (49')

The Galaxy, once again missing Riqui Puig, capitalized on a giveaway from NYCFC just before the end of the first half then added a second goal right at the start of the second. That was that. It’s a big win for LA over one of the better sides in the East and it came via another solid understudy performance from Diego Fagúndez.

With LAFC faltering in Austin, the Galaxy are now tied on points for second place in the West and still just three points behind RSL. They’re heading to Salt Lake on Saturday to try and change that. It would be nice to have Puig around, but Fagúndez and the rest of LA’s attack have proven in the last couple of games that they can carry some of the load without him.

That’s two straight losses for NYCFC. Those losses came to the Crew and on a cross-country trip to LA though. I think we’ll forgive them. Even if we might be inclined to say the last couple of games have shown why they’re still in the second tier of MLS teams instead of the first.

S. Afrifa (28'), W. Agada (70', 90'+5') | A. Gómez (14', 51'), A. Julio (33'), M. Crooks (84')

Andrés Gómez is going to earn RSL so much money. For now though, he’s earning them points by literally running past Sporting KC on his way to a brace that guided them to three points in a game that wasn’t quite as wild as the scoreline suggests. RSL never really felt out of control.

In addition to the points, it has to feel good for RSL to see four goals on the board and none of them via Chicho Arango. With Gómez coming onto the scene to earn 10 goals and seven assists so far this season and people like Anderson Julio and Matty Crooks stepping up, his burden has felt a little lighter as the year has gone on.

Ok, yeah, he did have an assist in this one after he came off the bench, but still.

P. Musa (17', 38', 62'), J. Ferreira (75'), L. Farrington (90') | B. Hlongwane (32'), H. Dotson (57'), W. Trapp (90'+9')

Petar Musa is the big winner from a total mess of a game that somehow ended with a Musa hat trick and a massive, massive win for FC Dallas. Musa has eight goals and two assists now on the year and is really coming into his own as a DP striker. Dallas are finding a groove as well. That’s seven points in three games with four of those points coming against Minnesota.

They’re definitely catching Minnesota at the best possible time - Missing Tani Oluwaseyi and Dayne St. Clair feels big right now - but still, interim manager Peter Luccin’s time in charge is off to a flying start. Dallas are four points out of a playoff spot (and seventh place) with a game in hand on a couple of teams in front of them. If they’re healthy and Musa keeps growing, they could start to look like the team we thought they could be before the season.

Minnesota have one point from their last three games. Copa América has hit hard.

AUSTIN FC - 1 | LAFC - 1
J. Obrian (19') | K. Kamara (90')

Jáder Obrian picked up a giveaway in midfield and then picked up his fifth goal of the season to give Austin an early 1-0 lead on LAFC. But just when it looked like they might hold on for one of the upsets of the night, Kei Kamara decided he wanted to make history. Kamara’s equalizer tied him with Landon Donovan on the all-time MLS goalscoring chart with 145 goals and allowed LAFC to steal a point and keep their unbeaten streak alive.

Yeah, LAFC should be bummed to not keep their six-game winning streak alive, but a road point is a good point. Even if it does feel like each dropped point from here on out might be critical to the Shield race.

T. Almada (79')

Atlanta weren’t particularly good in this one. But the only team more cursed than the Five Stripes when it comes to underperforming underlying numbers this year is D.C. United. Thiago Almada made up for a relatively awful game (by his standards) with a stunning goal from distance and D.C. couldn’t find the net despite generating a ton of chances. Atlanta, somehow, are above the playoff line. They’ve earned two straight wins on the road. This league is so weird.

A. Coello (34') | S. Surridge (65', 90')

Despite having Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne in the lineup, Toronto came up short at home thanks to Sam Surridge’s brace.

Toronto are crashing back down to Earth lately. They have two points from their last five games and are suddenly in real danger of falling out of a playoff spot. Nashville, who have lost just once in their last seven games, are in eighth place, one point behind the Reds.

Toronto need to start doing damage control, especially at home. They’ve lost five home games this year. That puts them tied for the most home losses in the East.

Surridge has a totally respectable seven goals in 14 starts this season.

D. Mihailovic (9', 60', 90'+6')

St. Louis gifted Djordje Mihailovic a goal off a throw-in, then St. Louis gifted Djordje Mihailovic a goal off a turnover, then St. Louis gifted Djordje Mihailovic a goal on a penalty as Djordje Mihailovic picked up the easiest hat trick you might ever see thanks to the good folks of St. Louis CITY SC.

St. Louis are 12th in the West and have been at about that level for the majority of their existence. Since the end of their five-game winning streak at the start of 2023, they’ve averaged 1.26 points per game.

K. Vargas (12'), S. Arfield (Red Card 38'), B. Bronico (77') | D. McGuire (63'), F. Torres (81')

A clumsy red card from Scott Arfield gave Orlando a man advantage and the opportunity to come back from a goal down twice against a normally stout Charlotte defense. The Crown will be really, really frustrated to not earn all three points here. Orlando will be glad to stop the bleeding for a moment any way they can.

S. Ibrahim (11'), K. Opoku (40') | W. Carmona (61'), J. Hall (88')

With multiple key players back from injury, CF Montréal took a 2-0 lead thanks to a goal from recently returned forward Mahala Opoku. It seemed like we might be getting a glimpse of what a healthy Montréal side could really look like… and then we saw what it looks like when they’re missing multiple midfield and defensive players to international duty.

Wiki Carmona found the net and then 16-year-old Julian Hall became the youngest Red Bulls goalscorer ever (and the second-youngest in MLS history) when he found the equalizer just before stoppage time.

Montréal can’t catch a break. It’s a solid road point for New York.

L. Blessing (30', 40') | P. Rothrock (57'), J. Ragen (63')

Latif Blessing stayed hot with a first-half brace, but Sounders academy products Paul Rothrock and Jackson Ragen each picked up a goal in the second half to help drag Seattle to a road point. This… definitely felt like a game between two teams hovering on the playoff line in the West.

P. Marie (50') | Evander (22'), J. Rodríguez (72')

Two Portland DPs found the net as the Timbers pulled out a 2-1 win in a game that ended up being disappointingly normal. Oh well. Still, it’s a nice win for the Timbers against a Quakes side that can’t get it together.

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Good luck out there. Age gracefully.