MLS is heading into the Gold Cup break - don’t worry, there will still be MLS games happening during the break - and somethings are becoming apparent in the table. Mostly, LAFC is running away with the Supporters’ Shield. This is partly thanks to defenders making Carlos Vela look like he should be playing for Manchester City. It is also partly thanks to a stellar defense that has allowed just 13 goals in 16 games. Bob Bradley has done an impressive job of getting the franchise started and winning a trophy in the second year in the league would be a great accomplishment for the team.
LAFC is on track to break records in terms of points and goals scored. Should their form continue, Bradley may be leading the best team in MLS history. Enough about the former USMNT manager, let’s take a brief look at how a few Americans did in the domestic league this weekend.
More stout defense in Atlanta
The story about Atlanta United in the first two years in MLS was the high-flying attack. Things have changed this year as Frank de Boer has focused on building a team around a tighter defensive approach while the attackers work on his tactics based more on possession than running and gunning in transition. Those things more or less converged this week with Atlanta winning both of their home games and scoring 5 goals in a pair of dominant victories.
Brad Guzan made a big stop on a ball that was maybe 99% over the line against Minnesota United on Wednesday but also kept the hapless Chicago Fire from scoring on the weekend.
Then there’s Miles Robinson who might be the best American center back in MLS this year, if not just the best center back in the league right now. He’s paired nicely with the more risk-taking and attack minded Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez and the result is that the Five Stripes have allowed just 11 goals in 15 games. It should be noted that Brek Shea is regularly starting at left back for this team also.
MLS | After another clean sheet, Miles Robinson (22) for #ATLUTD this MLS season. ⤵️— Football Wonderkidz (@FootWonderkidz) June 2, 2019
✅ 15 games
63.3 passes p/g
3rd - passing for all DCs
86.6% pass comp
3.5 clearances p/g
⚔️ 83% tackles won
6 of his last 8 starts, @ATLUTD have shut their opponent out. Boss. pic.twitter.com/l6ooOGzHU3
A pair of Yanks score for the Fire
As mentioned above, the Fire didn’t do so great against Atlanta United. But they did manage a 3-3 draw away to DC United thanks to a missed offside call on a goal scored by Francisco Calvo. Before that though, Chicago and DC engaged in a game that would have constituted a great comeback for DCU until the refs ruined it. CJ Sapong and Djordje Mihailovic each scored within 15 minutes giving Chicago a 2-0 lead. The second goal was a good sequence from Mihailovic as he forced a turnover and then was in the right place when a loose ball fell about 30 yards from goal for him to slap it into the net.
There haven’t been a lot of highlights for Orlando City this year as the team seems to be set to experience another dismal season despite re-hauling the roster again. Still, they went to Montreal and despite all of the street signs being in both England and French, the home side couldn’t keep Orlando out of the net. OCSC scored three goals in the first half and coasted to an easy win. Chris Mueller had an impact in the game with an assist and two shots. His assist capped a great team move to put Orlando up 2-0.
Philly might be good actually?
The Philadelphia Union are still in first place in the East. It’s a major accomplishment for a team that has a low budget, no striker, and Alejandro Bedoya. Things are finally clicking for Jim Curtin and he deserves a lot of credit for getting the Union to this point. Still, it almost feels like we’ve seen this before. Philly has shot up the table only to fade down the stretch in recent years so time will tell if that’s in the cards again. If not, the team has a quality similar to Sporting KC in recent years where there’s not really a star player, but the entire team can work within the system to get results.
Philly got a win on Sunday thanks to a late header by Auston Trusty. The 20 year old defender takes a really nice touch here and with the space he gets taps in the game winner.
Alejandro Bedoya committed three fouls in the game.
What’s wrong with us?
The greatest coach in USSF history returned to face his former club as the Boston Cannons traveled to Los Angeles thanks to a goal by Teal Bunbury.
It wouldn’t be the best goal scored in the game though as Joe Corona assisted Zlatan on a better goal.