Week 7 of MLS is in the books. Here at the weekly rewind we’ll go over things that are interesting (at least to me, hey it’s my column) or quirky about MLS. One part game review, one part observation, all MLS.
Let’s get to it!
ATL and NYCFC could rival TFC
What. A. Game.
This was an open, intense affair that featured skill all up and down the pitch for both sides. A goal video reviewed (after interference by Josef Martinez on Sean Johnson in the box) and taken away. NYCFC had a response for every Atlanta goal, first a PK by the returning David Villa, and then an Alex Ring goal (set up by Villa). We also witnessed the debut of teenage wunderkid Ezequiel Barco.
NYCFC looks deep in every position, they play with a specific style, are tactically prepared for every game and look able to weather a storm (even if that storm is David Villa missing some time). Presently sit atop the east with seventeen points from seven games (2.43 ppg). Five wins. Zero losses. Two draws.
Atlanta has been on fire since the opening week drubbing by Houston Dynamo (which they looked horrible in). ATL presently sits second in the east with a game in hand on NYCFC with thirteen points from six games (2.17 ppg). Four wins. One loss. One draw.
Watching Atlanta and New York City FC play really felt like we were watching something special. With Toronto featuring a team heavy on reserves in league play so far this season it has left a bit of a vacuum at the top of the eastern conference and Atlanta and NYCFC have filled that void.
Speaking of Toronto...
They’ve almost done it! They have made it to the final of CONCACAF Champions League! They have Chivas in the final after New York Red Bulls were unable to get much of anything going in the second leg and Chivas snuck through 1-0 on aggregate.
Leg one is in Toronto and TFC look like they are poised and ready to take it to a Chivas side that has underwhelmed in CCL and in Liga MX so far.
We’re rooting for you Toronto go and get it.
Red Bulls gonna Red Bull
Judging by their play over the weekend you could assume that the New York Red Bulls had a pretty good week and that would be true. They kept pace in the East got a quality win and executed their system to perfection. However, this is exactly what we have come to expect from a Red Bulls side that has failed to advance in a cup tournament for several years.
Tuesday against Chivas they looked the better side posting twenty shots (nine on target) to Chivas one. Controlling more of the possession and generally looking the more dangerous and creative side. They simply failed to execute and secure the tying goal they needed to push the match to penalties.
I hope for Jesse Marsch sake that Red Bulls are able to get this monkey off their back and lock up some silverware or what has this experiment truly accomplished?
LAFC Bounce Back
Two things may be true here, Vancouver is perhaps not as good as they appeared to be after the first two weeks of the season, and oh man do they really miss Kei Kamara.
The enigmatic striker really seems to be the straw that stirs the drink for the Whitecaps and with him missing time in the lineup the ‘Caps have stumbled.
That said, you have to hand it to LAFC who bounced back after the Galaxy came back from a three goal deficit to beat LAFC 4-3 and after the drubbing the Atlanta put on them in Georgia last week with LAFC losing 5-0. You could expect a young team still finding their way to head to BC Place and stumble for the third week in a row, but Bob Bradley, Carlos Vela and company were not having any of it and put in a good performance and earned three more points on the road. Oh yea, they have nine points from five games all of which have been road games. This team looks like it will remain dangerous for the rest of the season, particularly when they have a place to call home.
Also: Carlos Vela.
How very MLS thought of the week
DC United hosted Columbus Crew SC this weekend on a football field where you could still make out the football lines.
I know it’s sort of low hanging fruit to bag on DC United this year, particularly with Audi Field coming. That said watching MLS teams play on a field that is clearly marked for gridiron football sort of stings. MLS fans have seen it too many times, heck USMNT fans have seen it all too often. Remember the January friendly in the crumbling confines of Qualcomm Stadium from 2017 against Serbia? Yea I tried to block it out too (and no not just because of the football lines).
It harkens back to “MLS 1.0” and I for one cannot wait for Audi Field in DC to be open so DC United can stop this nomadic existence and get on with playing soccer.