World Cup qualifying dates are just around the corner, with a big home matchup with Trinidad and Tobago (the U.S.A.’s only big threat in the group) on tap. How did our Americans fare in MLS play this weekend? Pretty well, actually.
Jozy’s On Fire
Jozy Altidore continued his comeback parade, scoring yet another goal on the road for Toronto FC, helping them earn a 3-1 win in Philadelphia. His goal was really good. I bet you’ve seen it already. But have you seen this?
Or how about this one?
Jozy wasn’t just scoring a good goal. He was holding the ball up and turning provider as well. This is the version of Jozy Altidore that the U.S. needs on the field. Send all of your prayers to the hamstring gods that he can keep building on form like this.
As a bonus for all of you MLS fans, watch out for Toronto FC to make a Portland Timbers-esque run to close out this season. They’re a point out of first in the East and five behind FC Dallas in the Supporter’s Shield race, they’re healthy again, and six out of their last nine games are at home. Couple that with the obvious chemistry the team has on the field (despite some massive wage disparity)...
If Giovinco, collecting millions and millions of dollars, is that excited about a pass from 21 year-old American youth international Marky Delgado, that generally bodes well for how your team is gelling. Beware the Reds.
Patrick Mullins Won’t Go Away
As a young player who came through the NCAA ranks without much in the way of U.S. youth fanfare, playing for three teams in your first three seasons in the league generally doesn’t bode well for your career.
But here’s the thing: when he gets a chance, he keeps making things happen.
Since being traded to DC, Mullins has racked up two goals and an assist in four appearances. Nobody’s ever claimed that Mullins would be the best player in the league, but a promising (if inconsistent) rookie season with the Revolution gave NYC a good reason to pick him up in the expansion draft. Mullins was never going to replace David Villa, but somehow also didn’t do much to dissuade Jason Kreis or Patrick Vieira from burying him on the depth chart behind such luminaries as Khiry Shelton or Tony Taylor.
There’s something a bit Chris Wondolowski-esque about Mullins, a clever forward who keeps finding ways to score despite initial doubt to his powers. If DC give him a fair shake (and try to build a real, actual midfield for themselves), don’t be surprised to see Mullins in the goals in the coming seasons. Also, don’t be surprised when Ireland comes knocking for him and Tommy “Greasy Jesus” McNamara.
Paint the Town Green
The Seattle Sounders broke a tight affair open late in the second half to score a big win over rivals Portland Timbers, and they did it with some big performances from American players. Clint Dempsey bagged himself a brace, while second-year midfielder Christian Roldan turned in what might have been the best professional performance of his career, scoring one goal, drawing a penalty for another, and providing the assist on the other Sounders goal. The kid was everywhere on Sunday night, and the addition of Nicolas Lodeiro seems to really make the most of Roldan’s skills in the midfield.
And while Jordan Morris’s struggles to score against the Timbers continued with a couple chances going begging, he still managed to actually go Beast Mode.
Wow. Look at Jordan Morris just keep going. pic.twitter.com/sXdHA2CXfJ— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 22, 2016
Seattle’s season looked dead and buried four weeks ago, but Lodeiro’s addition has shot new life into the rave green veins. Doubt Seattle at your own peril.