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Stock Up, Stock Down: Portland Timbers begin ascent

Amid the furor at the Gold Cup (and Women's World Cup and Copa America and African Cup of Nations), MLS had a soft-return this weekend with six games after a few weeks off from league play. 

Time for a little Stock Up, Stock Down from the weekend that was in MLS:

Stock Up

Diego Valeri

Did you know the Diego Valeri already has 10 assists this season? I sure didn't. Such is the quality of Valeri that he can "quietly" have four goals and 10 assists in 14 appearances this season. What a treasure. 

Valeri was up to Valeri things on Saturday, with a goal and three assists against the Houston Dynamo. He, Sebastian Blanco, Jeremy Ebobisse and Brian Fernandez form as feared an attacking quartet in the league. The second half of the season in Portland is going to be fun. 

#PlayYourKids

FC Dallas started five academy graduates -- Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira, Brandon ServaniaEdwin Cerrillo and Jesse Gonzalez -- then subbed on another two -- Bryan Reynolds and Ricardo Pepi. They stared opposite of Designated Player Alejandro Pozuelo, Belgian international Laurent Ciman (more on him a bit down the digital page), former US internationals Terrence Boyd and Marky Delgado and kicked their teeth in 3-0.

It was a big win for the #PlayYourKids crowd. Celebrate accordingly on Twitter and Reddit. 

Yordy Reyna

Reyna's exquisite free kick gave the Whitecaps a draw against the Rapids, and while that was a brilliant moment, to deduce Reyna's performance to a single dead ball would cloud his overall impact. 

He was dangerous every time he touched the ball, electric in transition. Out of possession, he was engaged defensively, something that hasn't always been the case.

Stock Down

Laurent CIman

This time last year, Ciman was an indispensable piece for one of the league's most exciting teams. Captain of LAFC in their inaugural season, Ciman was one of the first names on the teamsheet. He, alongside Walker Zimmerman, held together the club's ambitious attack. Then, with his contract winding down, he moved to Dijon in Ligue 1. He featured for the Belgian national team as recently as last June. 

Since, things have not gone great. The 33-year-old left Ligue 1 for Toronto by the winter and has yet to recapture form of old. He has started nine games for TFC, taking regular turns to the bench as Greg Vanney continues to try new defensive combinations until results improve. Against Dallas, he was substituted at halftime. 

Zac MacMath

When MacMath arrived in Vancouver last winter, he would have expected to become the club's starter. He had done well in Colorado before Tim Howard arrived and pushed him to the bench. 

Unfortunately for him, Maxime Crepeau won the job in preseason with stellar performances. Now, with Crepeau on international duty with Canada, MacMath has a chance to impress and stick in the starting XI. He wasn't great against the Rapids in his side's 2-2 draw, unconvincing on both goals and being bailed out by the post before a goal line clearance on another occasion. 

FC Cincinnati's depth

Cincinnati were unable to overcome missing a number of key players, including Fanendo Adi, Allan Cruz, Kendall Waston, Darren Mattocks, Greg Garza and Alvas Powell. Their loss to the Galaxy keeps them bottom of the Eastern Conference with 11 points after 17 games.

Half of their inaugural campaign is now in the books and it hasn't gone to plan despite an encouraging first month of the season. What happens once the Secondary Transfer Window opens? It'll be the first with new general manager Gerard Nijkamp in place and possibly a full-time head coach.


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