Stock Up, Stock Down Week 14: Josef rising, Darwin sinking as break beckons

Before we even realized, both the Montreal Impact and D.C. United have played half of their regular-season games. The campaign is flying by, but it's about to slow down for a little bit. 

Nearing the Gold Cup break as well as a U.S. Open Cup weekend immediately on the horizon, who is rising and falling as MLS prepares to take the foot off the gas for a brief period?

Stock up

Josef Martinez

Josef is back. 

He scored four goals in two games for Atlanta United in Week 14, starting with a brace in stoppage time against Minnesota United on Wednesday then another brace against the Chicago Fire on Saturday. All of a sudden, he's quietly up to 10 goals in 15 games this season. 

Martinez has a new celebration – and as Matt Doyle pointed out, a new role in the attack. Pity Martinez assisted Josef's first against Chicago, which could be a sign of things to come. 

Only problem? Josef will put his pyrotechnic form with Atlanta on hold as he heads out on international duty with Venezuela at the Copa America.

Kaku

Time heals all, and a little time has done wonders for Kaku

After serving a suspension and regaining form, the Argentine playmaker now has two assists and a goal in his last three appearances as the New York Red Bulls are back to winning ways after a slow start to 2019. 

Kaku's latest performance helped spoil Mike Petke's coaching return to Red Bull Arena, as Real Salt Lake fell 4-0 to Kaku and RBNY. 

New coaches 

Bruce Arena returned to the sidelines and it was a familiar feeling: A win in SoCal on the field that the LA Galaxy call home. Except he wasn't roaming the home technical area; it was the visitor's locker room where he returned victorious.

Arena took charge of the New England Revolution for the first time and the league's newest hire guided his team to a 2-1 win over the Galaxy. He wasn't the only new coach to get three points.

The league's second-most-recent appointment – Colorado Rapids interim boss Conor Casey – coached his team to another win. All of a sudden, the Rapids are unbeaten in four consecutive games, taking 10 of 12 points available, the most recent result a 3-1 Rapids win over FC Cincinnati.  

Stock down

Darwin Quintero looks on | USA Today Sports

Darwin Quintero

It hasn't been a great run of form for Quintero. He hasn't contributed a goal or assist since April 19, over 501 minutes and eight appearances (six starts). He's been known to be a streaky forward, but the Loons will hope a scintillating few weeks are just around the corner for their Designated Player

Nearly as concerning for Minnesota is their other DP forward, Angelo Rodriguez, has similarly gone cold. His drought is up to six games now. The Loons have scored more than one goal just once since Quintero last got on the scoresheet, which was Sunday's 3-2 loss to Philadelphia

Sebastian Lletget

Injuries stink, and a pesky hamstring just might cost Sebastian Lletget a spot on the Gold Cup roster.

In the Galaxy's final MLS match ahead of the Gold Cup break, Lletget limped out of his side's loss to New England after just nine minutes with "left hamstring irritation." The extent on the injury is not yet known, but another untimely injury might haunt the US national team midfielder.

He's started 15 games so far this season, on pace to shatter his previous career high of 23. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery. 

Easy Goal of the Week vote

Sometimes, AT&T Goal of the Week is straightforward. Great goals are often scored in MLS, but some weeks have a clear-cut favorite for GOTW. 

Week 14 was certainly not that week.

With two (!) bicycle golazos to choose from between Brian Fernandez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as well as stunning long-range efforts from Taty Castellanos and Haris Medunjanin, plus an acrobatic side volley from Alberth Elis, cutting back against his own momentum, this week's choice won't be easy. 

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