Week 26 was another wild one in MLS, with upsets, goals, statement wins and more, all under the pressure that is the race for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
On to the Highs and Lows:
Glitch in the simulation
These are the things we rely upon in a chaotic existence. The simple comforts of knowing hitherto that Chara would turn up with neatly rolled cornrows unconditionally was a rock to lean on: Chara and Kawhi Leonard are the patron saints of cornrows in
What's next — is Lalas Abubakar going to get a fade?
The new braids look cool, for sure. Maybe this version of Chara will roam forward more adventurously and begin dazzling in the final third, a #NewYearNewMe type of thing.
Both conferences are set for a crazy finish to the season, but the West is particularly chaotic.
Real Salt Lake entered the weekend in second place, but lost to the Portland Timbers and ended in fifth. San Jose, with a commanding 3-0 win over Orlando, rose from sixth to fourth. The Galaxy dropped from fourth to seventh with a loss to Seattle while Minnesota climbed back from fifth to third after handing LAFC their first league home loss of the season.
This is a typical weekend in the wild, wild West. Imagine what Decision Day presented by AT&T will be like with all 12 matches kicking off simultaneously?!
Mostly out-of-context quotes
- "This game is so unpredictable and so beautiful." ... Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic
- "Confidence is everything in football, but I think in life [too]." ... FC Cincinnati attacker Emmanuel Ledesma
- "When you're breaking records, you're getting tunnels." ... Sporting KC winger Johnny Russell on Tim Melia
- "I am happy the guys pass me the ball [and] I score." ... Dallas forward Zdenek Ondrasek
- “Yeah, sometimes you just have to win ugly." ... Portland defender Bill Tuiloma
- "We were very pleased to see [Carlos Vela's] name not on the team sheer, I've got to be honest." ... Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath
You the Real MVP of the Week: Kacper the friendly striker
While Josef Martinez may be the striker earning the headlines after the Philadelphia Union's 3-1 win over Atlanta United given that the Venezuelan scored in his 13th consecutive MLS match, it was Kacper Przybylko guiding his team to the three points with another solid outing.
Przybylko hasn't quite gotten his due this season, quietly wracking up 13g/4a in 1,896 minutes (he didn't earn his first start until April 27). With Philly enduring a bit of a dip of form earlier this summer, the striker helped pull his side back into first place. He has 4g/3a in their last five games, four Union wins.
A dominant goal scorer is pretty much all Philly were missing. They have an All-Star-caliber goalkeeper, a tremendous midfield, game-changing substitute, well-defined system and are working towards home-field advantage for the postseason. The Union need Przybylko to keep up his form through their hellacious run-in to end the season, and into the playoffs.
So far, so good?
Ten minutes into NYCFC's eventual 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, Heber did what Heber does: Scored a lovely goal, threw a big smile on his face before his trademark shaka knee-slide celebration. It was cool, everything was cool.
Then, about 10 minutes after that, the Brazilian pulled up off the ball, sat down and immediately signaled for a sub. No big smile on his face, shaka hands replaced by the universal sign for a substitution.
In games that Heber has started, NYCFC are 12-2-3, but 2-3-5 without him in the starting XI. From a dream start to an injury, all in 20 minutes. Cold world.