Miss any of MLS Week 7’s 1,080-plus minutes of action? Here’s a few talking points to catch you up.
Superstars, Five Stripes and slick City
In purely aesthetic terms, the last game of the weekend was probably the best, as New York City FC took a hard-earned point – their fourth of a two-game week – from their visit to Atlanta United and their daunting Mercedes-Benz Stadium home on Sunday. These two East powers swapped blows at high speed like championship heavyweights on an espresso bender, with the big winners being us viewers. Highlights are below, but you should really make sure to watch the condensed match on the MLS app...
LAFC’s brothers from another mother
Hollywood power player Peter Guber has produced a long list of hit movies over the decades, among them “buddy pics” and romances like “Tango & Cash,” “Rain Man” and “Flashdance.” So LAFC’s executive chairman may appreciate the fact that his team are showcasing LaLa Land’s newest dynamic duo.
The expansion side needed to respond to back-to-back painful losses and did just that in Friday’s impressive 2-0 win at Vancouver, Designated Players Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi doing the scoring as usual. Each has netted four goals over five games as well as two and four assists, respectively, and together they’re orchestrating some enjoyable attacking play for a team in fourth place in the Western Conference despite not playing a home game yet.
Zlatan takes the Windy City
Another highly-anticipated affair took place at sold-out Toyota Park as the LA Galaxy hit the road for the first time in their Zlatan Ibrahimovic era. Unfortunately, brutally cold and wet conditions put a damper on things, but Ibra still produced a memorable moment to win it for the visitors, rising above his old teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger to head home the winner. It was a harsh reminder that the Chicago Fire can only afford to keep their star German at sweeper for so long. Defensive reinforcements ahoy?
Ranks of the winless
Congratulations and relief are flowing, perhaps in equal measure, in the nation’s capital and the Rose City after D.C. United and the Portland Timbers notched their first wins of the season. Both started the year with five-game winless skids and while some weren’t ready to christen Saturday’s action a “must-win” situation, it’s hard to overstate the psychological value of their narrow victories over Columbus and Minnesota, respectively.
For D.C. in particular, winning the second of their temporary-site “home” games was crucial, as they now face a three-month span of away games before christening their new home, Audi Field, in July. So the Seattle Sounders are MLS’ sole winless side (more on them in a bit), while NYCFC and FC Dallas are the last two unbeatens.
Crew SC need a Plan B?
One of the league’s fastest starters (3-0-1) this spring, Columbus Crew SC are suddenly mired in a three-game losing streak after another unlucky loss, this time 1-0 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, D.C.’s temporary home in Annapolis, Maryland. Like previous losses to Vancouver and Chicago, Crew SC outpossessed, outpassed, outshot and generally outplayed their opponents, only to be undone against the run of play.
Philosophically speaking, “The Yellow Football Team” are one of the most enjoyable to watch in MLS, but their possession style involves walking tightropes, with even small mistakes liable to be punished by reactive adversaries. We’ll watch with interest to see how Gregg Berhalter approaches New England’s visit on Saturday (7:30 pm ET; TV & streaming info).
Wondo takes a seat
For the first time in three years, Chris Wondolowski did not start a San Jose Earthquakes match he was available for, instead playing a substitute role in the Quakes’ 2-2 home draw with the Houston Dynamo. His spot in the 11 was sacrificed for coach Mikael Stahre’s tactical shift to a 4-1-4-1, and it could signal an intriguing situation for the 35-year-old as he tries to chase down Landon Donovan’s all-time MLS scoring record this season.
Seattle show some fight
They let a second-half lead slip and are still seeking their first league win. But at least the struggling, injury-ravaged Sounders took a road draw away from Sunday’s visit to Children’s Mercy Park, a house of horrors for them in the past. Cristian Roldan and Will Bruin rallied the Rave Green when it looked like Sporting KC might rout them, though Nouhou Tolo’s woeful outing at left back underlined the existence of deeper issues, too.