4-2-3-1 for Week 3 of MLS
by Jarrett Smith
4 Reactions From Last Week
The CONCACAF hangover was real as hell this week. The only smart team was Toronto who made the age-old brilliant decision to have a bye week. Everyone else decided to play. Columbus had the best result, and they got outshot 20-3 by Montreal. Everyone else took losses and in some cases some worrying injuries or pending mult-game suspensions. Perhaps it was just a coincidence of teams playing the wrong opponents at the wrong times, perhaps it was the parity of the league and balance of teams catching up. Either way, an exciting midweek will be asked to paper over some tough results for the league’s remaining CCL teams.
The Minnesota Meltdown continued this weekend and the only bright spot for them was the fact that no one kicked a ball at the Wonderwall. The Loons went into the season as a popular choice for a deep playoff run or even an MLS cup appearance, but they just cannot seem to get the engine turned over offensively and continue to leak goals. The latest result was a loss to an equally impressive Austin that looks very much not scared of anyone in their first few weeks. Now, none of this means that the Loons are going to win the wooden spoon, but they need to get things turned around soon. Results aren’t the only thing that can get sideways here. The mentality of this team has been really well built but I do not think you want to see it slip back to 2018 levels. You don’t necessarily have to get the boat back to full speed, but at least stop the water coming in, if at all possible. For the record, I don’t think Heath is on the hot seat nor do I think he will be in the next few weeks. He took this team to a Western Conference Final that they should have won last year. But they didn’t win it and it’s been tough sledding since that night in Seattle. Get things going or that playoff performance will be somehow even more painful.
On the other end of the ‘Lost their conference finals’ spectrum, the New England Revolution continue to be a problem and Bruce’s revenge is a more terrifying possibility. Carles Gil continues to do Carles Gil things and can flip a game on its head at will. Brandon Bye and Tajon Buchanan are threats to overlap and punish and the moves they made in the offseason look like they can stabilize things a bit.There is a long way to go until the playoffs but the Revs look poised to hang around the top of the table, especially if they’re able to keep scoring.
Oh Seattle, you never disappoint. The Sounders lost Jordan Morris, got a year older, and had a ‘will he/won’t he’ with their manager in the offseason and they’ve come out blasting nevertheless, with Brian Schmetzer handing out losses as often as he probably hands out guides for making pivot tables. (We’re all running out of Microsoft product jokes at this point, which points to his success and longevity, well done sir.) The Sounders just kept on chugging with a 3-0 mauling of the LA Galaxy and brought Chicharito’s terror to a halt in a game where the Sounders were able to assert their will on Galaxy both on the score line and physically. It’s strange having the Sounders without a Zombie Sounders phase to start the season but I suppose I’ll just have to get used to it, and you will too.
2 Games You Should Not Have Missed
MLS After Dark always delivers. The San Jose Earthquakes scored inside of the first minute against a developing DC team and the game really only slowed down because players were getting exhausted. No one will blame you if you missed this one due to the 11 pm eastern kick off time but you owe it to yourself to go back and watch Cade Cowell just decimate DC United’s will.
Real Salt Lake were supposed to be ‘meh’ at best this year if you asked most people and boy oh boy they’ve got the revenge machine going strong early. They took down Sporting KC in a solid 3-1 victory and look comfortable with what they’re doing. Go back and watch them so that when someone asks “where did RSL come from?” You can give more than a half-hearted shrug.
3 Goals We Love
Caden Clark only only hits bangers only hits volleys and this is such a wonderful karate kick jr. It’s so nice that I gave you two looks at it so you can see him do the little hop where he leaves Shuttleworth planted.
Hello goal of the year candidate. What’s better than a volley from outside the box? A volley from outside the box while slipping and falling as you hit it. What’s better than a broadcast shot of a volley outside the box while slipping and falling as you hit it? A perfect field-length shot of a volley outside the box while slipping and falling as you hit it. Which, again you get that long shot and the broadcast angle because they’re amazing.
Nani’s finish is tame in comparison to the insanity of these finishes but the build up is just so mean. Gonna go left, then spin right, get the defender overcommitted and then cut it back and leave him on the ground as you put it in the far corner. It’s a wonderful goal in its own right and deserves your respect.
1 Thing To Look Forward To
Next week will feature a midday throw down between New England and Nashville in what could be an early look at how the East shakes out. No one is saying these are the top two teams but Nashville can score goals now and Bruce is going to troll this entire league if he gets the chance. Set your alarms for it.