Zlatan knows a lot of stuff. He knows that only having a wife is stopping him from making America a great soccer nation, how to give defenders directions if they are looking for a hot dog, and that he would rather have a jet than a sports car. If you were wondering what Zlatan thinks about MLS and why it’s not the same as Europe, someone asked him:
What's the difference between MLS and Premier League football?— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 4, 2018
Allow Zlatan to explain... pic.twitter.com/0dvg3WOezo
No word on if he has any thoughts on flying coach or being managed by a brilliant soccer mind like Sigi Schmid. What he may not know is that he gets credit for an assist on this because MLS uses hockey rules:
Anyway, Zlatan isn’t an American, but these guys are...
Toronto begins climbing back
It was another typical performance for the Philadelphia Union as they fell 3-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field on Friday night. Michael Bradley managed to help TFC keep a clean sheet as he now seems destined to extend his career by another two World Cup cycles by dropping further down the pitch. This is the man former manager Jurgen Klinsmann played as a central attacking midfielder for the United States Men’s National Team in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Elsewhere, Alex Bono kept Philly out of the net - in turn leaving CJ Sapong with quiet night while Alejandro Bedoya committed two fouls. Everyone in Toronto had fun, even the Ball Kids:
Perhaps more of interest was the play of Marky Delgado who was the lone defensive midfielder in the 4-1-4-1 formation. He looked capable in the role and was especially effective with his distribution as his passing map illustrates:
New York is a blow out
The New York Red Bulls crushed NYCFC in the Hudson River Derby. Maybe Patrick Vieira has one foot in South London already, but the Pigeons got absolutely exterminated 4-0 in New Jersey. For NYRB, four Americans patrolled the center of the pitch with Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, and Luis Robles starting and Alex Muyl coming in off the bench in the 72nd minute. Both Davis and Adams had an assist - with Davis’ pass directly preceding the goal his play led to:
For NYCFC, well the only American outfield player, left back Ben Sweat, watched his countryman Sean Johnson pick the ball out of the net four times.
King Louis XV’s Revenge
The New England Revolution traveled up north to face the Montreal Impact. The home team featured a pair of American outside backs, Daniel Lovitz and Chris Duval, with Evan Bush in goal. The trio would overcome the Revs 4-2 in an exciting match. For the visitors... well Andrew Farrell, keeper Matt Turner, and Juan Agudelo all started. Agudelo would come off in the 34th minute due to an apparent injury.
The Minnesota All-Stars prevail again
The Loons getting closer to creating the Minnesota version of Chivas de Guadalajara as they added yet another of the state’s native sons to the roster this week in a trade sending Sam Nicholson to Colorado for Eric Miller. The Woodury Marcelo started and helped Minnesota United keep a clean sheet despite MLS rookie Mason Toye being sent off after finding space in the box by driving his elbow into the gut of Kendall Waston in the 50th minute. Miguel Ibarra scored the lone goal of the match at the hour mark. For the Whitecaps, Sean Franklin and Brek Shea were the lone Americans to represent the club in the loss.
LAFC still stuck in second gear
Lee Nguyen is finally free - after a long and completely justified and not at all overly dramatic and unnecessary way for Brad Friedel to assert his authority over his new team, the American attacker was traded to LAFC this week. He would get 16 minutes in the team’s draw with FC Dallas. As for his fellow countrymen, LAFC would fail to protect a lead gained in the 9th minute with Benny Feilhaber, Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey, and goalkeeper Tyler Miller each starting for the club.
As for FC Dallas, though they were dominated in terms of possession and shots, on the pitch they managed to be organized and withstand what has been a very effective LAFC attack. Matt Hedges, keeper Jimmy Mauer, and right back Reggie Cannon would all start for the away side as they gained an important point on the road. The game also saw Jacori Hayes come on in the 44th minute as a substitute for central midfielder Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta make his first appearance for the club of 2018 when he entered the game in the 61st minute for winger Michael Barrios after Dallas drew even.
A duel of the Stef(f)a(e)ns in Seattle
The Seattle Sounders looked every bit the struggling team with few ideas in their 0-0 draw with the Columbus Crew. The game was largely devoid of highlights for Americans - Clint Dempsey had six shots, Will Bruin went the full 90, Christian and Alex Roldan hustled a whole bunch, and Stefan Frei was only required to make two saves. Columbus has been struggling of late itself with only one win in the last five games. Zack Steffen, Will Trapp, Ricardo Clark, Josh Williams?, and Gyasi Zardes all contributed to the scoreless outcome in their own way, but Columbus will take the point on the road at this point in the season.
The real highlight came after the game with Will Bruin offering his thoughts on Seattle’s season so far:
Here's some of what a visibly frustrated Will Bruin had to say after today's 0-0 draw against Columbus. pic.twitter.com/B8WPlkf34r— Ari Liljenwall (@AriLiljenwall) May 5, 2018
Atlanta stays hot
The Chicago Fire and Atlanta United . Chicago, with their... interesting roster composed of three high priced international designated players and a smattering of homegrowns and draft picks looks a lot like a USL team with Bastian Schweinsteiger on it. The result in this game was that Chicago pressed Atlanta effectively for the first 45 minutes, but when the Five Stripes realized all the Fire wanted was to pressure but not actually challenge, the visitors started making more of their possession in the second half. Darlington Nagbe would have an assist to put Atlanta up 2-0 while Greg Garza earned a hockey assist on the same play. Though Chicago would get one back, the criminally underrated Michael Parkhurst helped hold the late lead and had another masterful pass springing a counter from his center back spot:
For the home team, Kevin Ellis scored the lone Chicago goal while both Grant Lillard and Brandon Vincent started with Lillard coming off for Jonathan Campbell as the center back would step into the attack alongside fellow substitute Alan Gordon as Chicago searched in vain for a late equalizer.
So about that Ibra pass in Houston...
The Houston Dynamo hosted the LA Galaxy and played an exciting 3-2 match. Unfortunately, the best thing that any of the Americans, represented by David Bingham, Perry Kitchen, Dave Romney, Sebastian Lletget, Andrew Wenger, Joe Willis, and DaMarcus Beasley can say is that they got to see that bonkers Zlatan pass gifed in the introduction. LA is still a good defense away from letting Perry Kitchen show that he can shield a backline and David Bingham is still a good defense away from showing everyone that he is capable of being a perfectly average goalkeeper. At least Mac Steeves made the bench for Houston.
A near blowout in KC
Sporting Kansas City bounced back from their loss on the road last weekend with a 1-0 win over Colorado. Tim Howard was kept busy with four saves as SKC also hit the post an impressive three times. Meanwhile the 3⁄4 American backline of Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, and Matt Besler kept a clean sheet in front of keeper Tim Melia. Meanwhile Colorado wingbacks Kip Colvey and Edgar Castillo were kept busy defending as SKC managed 24 shots and 58% possession.
The San Jose Disasters
Diego Valeris Timbers went to San Jose and nobody scored until Valeri’s free kick in the 87th minute. It was a terrible game and Zarek Valentine got injured celebrating the goal. If there’s one redeeming thing I can say about it - it would be that Jackson Yueill and Nick Lima played a full 90 for San Jose.
Orlando extends their winning streak
Real Salt Lake seem poised to battle to stay out of the cellar in the Western Conference. Nothing is going right for the Mike Petke led team and it got worse in Orlando over the weekend. With Nick Rimando, Nick Besler, Kyle Beckerman, Justen Glad, and Brooks Lennon on the field for Real, Orlando completely dictated the game. For their part, Americans Dom Dwyer and Sacha Kljestan combined for a goal in the 60th minute, while Joe Bendik conceded one goal in the 3-1 win. Formerly very hot forward Chris Muller had a quiet game and did not record a shot in the match.