It’s about 12ish weeks into the MLS season, so you know what that means... That’s right MLS is going to change it’s roster rules in the middle of the year. The league is reportedly set to begin allowing teams to spend more money on their rosters. Why they need to limit how much owners spend on their rosters is another issue, but in an effort to be a top five league by 2022 and finally beat cornhole in television ratings, the league will allow teams to spend $3 million from now until the 2022 season. Paul Tenorio of the Athletic reported the news on Friday. There is one catch, the funds can only be spent on players 20 or younger and who are outside of MLS in a kind of Youth Allocation Money.
This comes as MLS has had something of a youth movement in recent years. Clubs are moving away from the model of signing aging Europeans poised for retirement and are now focused on players that never lived up to being stars in Europe and young players from Latin America who may stay in MLS or one day be sold onto another team abroad. This is an interesting twist on the allocation money scheme that the league is running. It certainly encourages teams to sign talented younger players and improve the quality of the league which will help it compete against the likes of cornhole. The new rules will also help the soon to be 28 or 32 or 57 team league fill its rosters. However, there will also be concerns that this will increase the competition for young American players to find playing time in MLS, but the money includes Americans playing outside of the league, so perhaps those effects will be mitigated by teams bringing players like Brandon Vazquez.
An American backline leads Philly to a win
The Philadelphia Union absolutely demolished Real Salt Lake by a scoreline of 4-1 on Saturday. Philly no doubt deserves credit for figuring out that RSL doesn’t have outside backs on its roster and it showed. As for the Americans in the match, the all Yank backline of Raymon Gaddis, Mark McKenzie, Auston Trusty, and Keegan Rosenberry helped keep what has been an inept attack from RSL clueless yet again in the game and Rosenberry even got his first goal of the season in the match.
Alejandro Bedoya even did something useful, the midfielder got an assist in the win. However, another player worth spotlighting is 23 year-old midfielder Marcus Epps. The second year man out of Jackson, Mississippi opened the scoring for Philly and earned a pair of hockey assists in the win.
Here's that @marcusepps20 #DOOP, complete with a Military Appreciation salute https://t.co/JvUBXZ7v8X— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) May 20, 2018
The victory comes at a key time for the Union as the team struggled badly to begin the year. Things won’t get any easier for the club as their next four games are against the New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire, Atlanta United, and Toronto FC as they try to turn around their season against some of the best teams in MLS.
Meet your favorite new screamer scoring 19 year-old right back
FC Dallas was featured last week highlighting the return of Kellyn Acosta and Reggie Cannon. Acosta again makes the list, but it is because he was subbed early in the Dallas win over the Vancouver Whitecaps with an apparent injury as Jacori Hayes come on in his place. The big story in Big D this weekend was the first goal by right back Reggie Cannon.
Reggie Cannon is a defender...wut 1-0! #FCDvVAN #VWFC #DTID pic.twitter.com/Oux2w0boZ3— GolazoJuice (@GolazoJuice) May 19, 2018
Cannon has started all 10 games for FC Dallas this season and has shown himself to be an increasingly important part in the team’s success this season. While last year was something of a disappointment with Dallas suffering injuries and showing apathy down the stretch, the team seems to have bounced back and currently sits in 4th place in the Western Conference. The 19 year-old right back further showed his development as his effort on Saturday illustrates.
MB4 regaining form
Toronto FC needs to get some wins and fast to get back into the Eastern Conference playoffs race. The team has time to do it and took a step on Saturday against Orlando City thanks to being healthy and to having Michael Bradley back in the center of midfield. After starting several games at center back, Bradley had an excellent game as TFC beat Orlando 2-1. The midfielder completed 88% of his 86 passes and added two key passes and three tackles in the win. Though Orlando lost, Chris Mueller had a strong game for the purples and had a key pass that set up the goal by Christian Higuita that drew the teams even at one in the 73rd minute and had two shots in the match.
Maybe Chris Durkin just needs his own weekly article
Because he’s showing that he’s really, really good. DC United has been between bad and worse in 2018 so far, but Durkin has had some terrific performances for the team. He followed one in a loss last week with one in a win this week as DCU beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1. The Quakes were awful in the game and gave DC space all over the field to get chances to go at goal. For Durkin, this meant that he was effectively able to boss the midfield as the lone 6 in a 4-1-4-1 set up. Take a look at Durkin’s passing map for the game - he’s very good at helping DC keep possession as most of those red arrows are long pass attempts that he doesn’t always complete, but when those go right it usually means good things for DCU.
Also starting in the game was Paul Arriola who earned an assist for DCU. For San Jose, Jackson Yuell had a rough night as best displayed when he failed to anticipate a closing Luciano Acosta who intercepted a pass intended for the young American that led to the second goal for DC.
Good effort fellas...
Meanwhile, Tim Howard had a terrific play that led to a goal for David Villa in New York on Saturday. It is a true shame that we are going to be robbed of the opportunity to watch him let in 9 goals in the group stage of the World Cup this year.
David Villa makes it 1-0 NYCFC after a terrible misplay from Howard. pic.twitter.com/uPOByOPAFg— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) May 19, 2018
Colorado seems like one of those lost teams like San Jose, there doesn't seem to be a vision or a way to get there.
It was a tough night in Atlanta for the Five Stripes as the team had another goal called back for less than clear reasons thanks to VAR and then went down a man because of this poor tackle, perhaps somewhat helped by the artificial pitch in Atlanta, from Greg Garza. Atlanta has done a lot to set the bar for expansion teams in MLS this year, but they’ve lost two in a row at home against Supporters Cups challengers the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City. If they hope to lift the trophy this year they will have to get past deflating calls that don’t go their way. The refs did get this one right however.
Greg Garza with the red card and now ATL really have their work cut out for them #ATLUTD #RBNY #ATLvNY pic.twitter.com/qv3jchlzPZ— GolazoJuice (@GolazoJuice) May 21, 2018
Thanks to GolazoJuice for having a weird twitter handle and making great gifs every weekend.