While there may not have been many MLS games this last weekend, there are still plenty of things to rank! Here we go.
5. International “break”
This week was somewhat of an international break in MLS, as only six of the league’s twenty two teams had games. Why does the league feel the need to have a 73% international break instead of a full international break? The MLS season is already longer than a pregnancy, but for some reason the league feels the need to squeeze as many games in as possible. As expansion continues, it's time to rethink the schedule, especially with outside tournaments for both club and country, so that the season is more manageable and so players get a decent offseason to recover.
4. No rest for the DisCo
The Disciplinary Committee didn’t get to take their international break, as they fined RSL’s Sunday Stephen for being “in violation of league policy regarding hands to the face, head or neck of an opponent.’ While Mullholland’s clotheslining that lead to the altercation seems much more severe to me, Stephen’s pulling away of his opponent, in this case Mike Grella, was enough to warrant a fine from the DisCo. Maybe a better way for the Disciplinary Committee to protect Grella’s hair would be to crack down on reckless challenges like Mullholland’s rather than disciplining Stephen’s attempts to de-escalate the situation.
3. Chicago Fire, World Cup Champions
In the cringiest video I've seen in awhile, a reporter asked Bastian Schweinsteiger if he believes the Chicago Fire can win the World Cup. Awkwardness ensued as Schweinsteiger asked for clarification, trying to give the reporter the benefit of the doubt through language barriers, but the reporter clarified his question to say exactly what we all hoped he wasn't saying. Or maybe instead of asking for clarification, he was asking for someone to book his flight back home. Who knows? Nevertheless, a quick google search ahead of time probably would have saved the reporter, and US Soccer culture’s image abroad, a little embarrassment in the long run.
2. International break with international injuries
This week was a tough time for MLS players, as several key players were injured while playing with their respective national teams. Josef Martinez, who plays for Atlanta United FC and is currently the league's leading goal scorer, suffered an injury to his left quad while playing for the Venezuelan national team that will sideline him for 4-6 weeks.
LA Galaxy midfielder, Sebastian Lleget will be missing 4-6 months due to an injury involving his left foot, requiring surgery. This is an especially disappointing injury due to his recent sparks with the US national team and the lack of experienced depth at his club. Another big loss is the Houston Dynamo’s Romell Quioto, who suffered a shoulder dislocation while playing with the Honduran national team this week. Unlucky timing for these three, but these injuries give opportunities for other players to fill the gaps and succeed.
1. BeIn pregame hitting with the feels
Before airing the US game against Panama this week for World Cup Qualifying, BeIn Sports had an MLS history All Star cast for their pregame show, including Carlos Bocanegra, Jimmy Conrad, Jovan Kirovski, and Carlos Ruiz. I'm glad we’re at a point where former MLSers are coming back to be part of the league they played in. Hearing Carlos Ruiz ask Bocanegra if he missed his elbows triggered nostalgia that I'm looking forward to seeing more of in the future. Former MLS players have already infiltrated the sidelines and commentating booths, but seeing them joke around with each other and give their insight made me proud of how far MLS has come.