Week 22 in MLS produced no shortage of storylines, big and small, nor entertainment, intentional and unintentional. Let's get after it.
That Aged Well Take(s) of the Week: Year Three for MNUFC
Minnesota United spoke all winter about fortifying their all-too-often compromised defensive unit, then they went out and accomplished that. Actually-- to take it a step further back, they've been talking about a Three Year Plan for what feels like, well, longer than three years. That distant and sometimes mythical promise of Year Three is here and the land is fruitful and vast and colorful and wonderful in the Twin Cities.
They won again in their new kingdom at Allianz Field, taking down the Portland Timbers 1-0 thanks to a much-debated penalty. Irrespective of your particular views on the incident, and how significantly you take in the phrase of "clear and obvious", the call could have went either way. In a perfect world, those things tend to even out over time. Furthermore, the Loons had to be in that position to have the chance to be lucky.
That newfound defensive fortitude gave them the chance. They talked about it for a while and it's here. They're legit.
One more: Sporting director Manny Lagos talked about wanting defensive structure in the winter, he went out and got. Then he talked about wanting to sign a left winger and left back this summer, which he did. Not so much takes as they were plans, but, he still delivered.
Altruistic Act of the Week: Diego Rossi's honesty
Diego Rossi scored an incredible goal in LAFC's 2-0 win over New England, except it was one of those goals that makes you tilt your head ever so slightly, squint your eyes and ask with a raised voice: Ehhh did you mean that?
He could have claimed it. The worst we could do is stay incredulous, but he would have won over a number of people. Wow, it was so deceptive that it even looked like he didn't mean to do it. But nope, Rossi blew a sweet gust of good vibes into the world, sticking his hand up and saying ehhh I did not mean that.
Good guy Diego.
- "We all know that we’re at altitude here in Colorado and that they’re probably going to die." Diego Rubio on ... upping the tempo
- "You don't really care where the goals come from." Marc Dos Santos on ... Whitecaps scoring goals
- "That's very nice, I think, for every man and woman who loves football." Frank de Boer on ... Pity, Josef and Barco in the starting XI
- "Without Ibra, we lose a lot." Guillermo Barros Schelotto on ... missing Zlatan
- "To be quite honest, I don't know what a PK is anymore." Gio Savarese on ... Minnesota's last-minute penalty
- "It's not an excuse, it's reality and it's not easy to play here." Dome Torrent ... definitely not making excuses at RSL
- "I would say that altitude was tough, but really not an acceptable excuse at this point." James Sands ... also definitely not making excuses
#PeakMLS: Colorado 6-3 Montreal
Kei Kamara own goal. Kei Kamara hat trick. A pair of penalties. Another own goal. Nearly a great comeback. Then the Rapids dropped the people's elbow.
All of the above qualifies it for #PeakMLS, but more context shows that the Rapids were coming off a four-game unbeaten run while the Impact had just thrashed Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union 4-0 in their last run out.
Speaking of own goals, though, there were a few hours on Saturday night when they flew in. Between 5-10 pm ET, five own goals hit the back of the net: Two in the Colorado game, two by the LA Galaxy and one by Toronto.
You the real MVP of the Week: Diego Valeri's movement
As for some niche topics that don't particularly get shine, Diego Valeri often gets kudos for his goalscoring, dribbling and creative abilities, but as a No. 10 rather than a forward, his intelligent movement often goes unnoticed.
The way Valeri drifts and drags in the final third is a subtle joy. He always looks to grab that extra bit of space, a little two-yard burst of separation from a defender who, until half a second ago, had him marked tightly.
Obviously pay more attention to his bangers and tekkers, but, don't forget all the little things Portland's talisman does well.