I know some of you see the title to this and already have your MLS-hate auto-comments primed and ready to launch, but here me out on this: MLS is not the greatest league in the world, and it is very problematic in many areas, but it just might not actually be the devil incarnate, either.
So here’s a run-down of some things you might have missed in MLS this weekend, or a recap for you MLS super supporters (we hear you don’t like to be called “fans”). It’s always good to see what’s happening on the homefront, especially since it’s the largest professional concentration of American players in the world. This will be a place to see how USMNT stalwarts are faring, keep an eye on some young players, and occasionally poke fun at what is a zany, incredible, and not quite elite league.
Philly bring the revolution to New England
The Philadelphia Union have made a habit of not being very good in their MLS tenure thus far, but technical director and former-USMNT member Earnie Stewart is doing his damndest to change that, and it showed in a 4-0 thrashing of the Revolution in New England. Alejandro Bedoya got his Union debut, perpetual radar skirter C.J. Sapong scored another goal, and car crash survivor/dad of premature twins/cancer vanquisher Charlie Davies got some minutes against his former club, notching an assist. It was a pretty comprehensive beatdown on the road. While New England isn’t the best of teams this year, props must still be given out to Stewart and Jim Curtin for taking a thin roster and finding a core group of veteran players who fit the vision for their squad.
USA on the scoresheet
It was actually a pretty good weekend for American attackers besides the Union’s trio of Sapong, Davies, and MLS lifer Chris Pontius. Jozy Altidore continued his impressive run coming off of injury with a start and a goal against Houston.
Not to be outdone, Jordan Morris also found the net with a great run and finish, using good strength to hold off a defender.
U.S. hopeful Dom Dwyer got himself a brace in Dallas thanks to some nifty finishes following sloppy defending.
Steve Birnbaum and Ethan Finlay also got in the goals this week, among others. And speaking of one of those others...
One to Watch for: Sean Davis
Dax McCarty’s injury troubles have allowed Red Bull academy product Sean Davis to crack Jesse Marsch’s starting XI in meaningful games, and he put on an absolute show this week. His goal was nice (albeit lucky due to a deflection), set up after some fancy footwork by Mike Grella:
Sean Davis makes it 3-1 after a deflection and some lovely work from Mike Grella. pic.twitter.com/dn3KpYnlCf— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 14, 2016
His passing was even better, though, picking up an assist off of a cross to Bradley Wright-Phillips and threading a hockey assist into Sacha Kljestan’s feet, who slipped through BWP for New York’s opening goal as well. Davis’s chart says everything you need to know about his performance.
44⁄48 passing. Davis was all over the place, doing just about everything right for the Red Bulls against the Impact. He’s still a long way from the U.S. picture, and at 23 doesn’t exactly qualify as an exciting young prospect when people like Christian Pulisic are on the scene, but Davis put the rest of MLS on notice with this performance. If that’s any indication of things that are to come, the center of the park in the USMNT set-up is dying for some solid young blood to finally put their name on it. Actually, it’ll settle for young-ish blood at this point. Davis might just be a candidate if he can keep breaking through defensive lines with entry passes like this one.
Got a story you’re following in MLS this week? Let us know in the comments below!