Usually, I put a lede here with some analysis about the league or whatever, but I’ll just let the most famous player in MLS take it away.
I can’t say much else other than that there is one great team in MLS this year, three points separating the 2nd and 7th place teams in the West, and in the East two teams with negative seven and eleven(!!! ELEVEN) goal differentials are in playoff spots. Is this parity, or is it just pitiful?
Starting with everyone’s favorites: Jordan Morris and Bruce Arena
Start calling him JoMoAssist because Jordan Morris had a pair of them in the 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday. That does account for half of his assists on the year, but in the last five games he’s got three goals and three assists, so it’s great seeing him so involved in the attack. Shockingly, Harry Shipp scored a brace in the game, including finishing a chance assisted by Cristian Roldan. Despite giving up a brace to Harry Shipp, the Revs managed to salvage a draw thanks to an 87th minute penalty, but in addition to that Edgar Castillo, a left back who is also leading Americans in MLS in assists this year, notched an assist in the match.
Speaking of two awful teams that might make the playoffs
Toronto and Orlando squared off in a game that both badly needed to win. TFC should have liked their chances at home, but despite creating more shots, fell behind against Orlando in the 62nd minute thanks to a Benji Michel goal assisted by Chris Mueller. With a chance to both overcome the team they were even with in 8th in the East, Orlando promptly took their lead and punted it out the window 15 minutes later thanks to a goal by Patrick Mullins. Neither Mueller nor Mullins seems like they’ll get national team minutes anytime soon, Mueller might get a look in January - I guess, maybe, who knows - but these teams are going to linger in the playoff hunt despite not being able to win at home against a bad team and not being able to protect a lead on the road against a bad team.
In case you are curious, Toronto is continuing to ride with Quentin Westberg in goal over Alex Bono as the 33 year-old journey man has supplanted the frequent USMNT call up between the sticks this year. Meanwhile, Omar Gonzalez was busy making sure that the entire Orlando attack wasn’t being unmarked (because it was being unmarked) and Marco Delgado was too late to step into the huge space that was open so Michel scored the easiest goal of all time.
Goal party in Frisco (FC Dallas plays in Frisco)
FC Dallas and Minnesota United got together for a game that completely lacked defense as the Texas side won 5-3. It had seemed like maybe Minnesota United had figured out how to go a season without allowing five goals and embarrassing itself, but 2019 is not that year. Included in the game was a nicely taken finish by Reggie Cannon with Paxton Pomykal getting the hockey assist.
Meanwhile, in one of the truly great stories in MLS this year, Ethan Finlay’s comeback tour continued as the winger notched a brace. He opened the scoring in the 2nd minute on an assist from Miguel Ibarra.
No coach, no problem (but, yeah kinda a huge problem)
Speaking of future comeback players of the year, Corey Baird scored two goals in Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 win in Kansas City. Last season’s Rookie of the Year and peripheral national team player managed his second and third scores of 2019. If you’re wondering, yes, Gianluca Busio did play in the match for a full sixty seconds as he was a 90th minute sub while Sporting searched for an equalizer.
This came as Mike Petke was suspended for the match as Real Salt Lake decided whether or not to fire him for confronting and attacking a referee with homophobic slurs after losing to Tigres two weeks ago in something called the Leagues Cup. Sunday, the team finally got around to firing him after completing an investigation. In response, team captain Kyle Beckerman defended the manager who used homophobic slurs, saying that Petke is not a bigot in an interview with Salt Lake’s ESPN 700. Don’t cross the line?
So... about the system that Zlatan doesn’t like and training and whatever
It’s been quite the week for District of Columbia United. Wayne Rooney decided to up and leave to become the player manager of Derby County (please teach Duane Holmes to do Wayne Rooney things, ok, thanks!). Did the league blink an eye about a player essentially ripping up his contract and doing whatever he wanted? Since he’s not an anonymous college graduate who isn’t known world-wide, of course not!
In any case, DCU had to figure out how to beat the LA Galaxy without Rooney and they did it thanks to a classic DCU performance. Paul Arriola opened the scoring and despite giving up an equalizer to Favio Alvarez, they’d win thanks to a goal from Lucas Rodriguez.
This came despite LA out-shooting DC 29-12 with Zlatan taking 15 shots. I guess he needs mentality in training or something.
Other people who did things
It was an OK week for other guys to score goals.
Jeremy Ebobisse scored for Portland
Christian Ramirez scored for Houston
Brian White scored for
Duke NYRB in a goal that may or may not have been an own goal but was credited to White in the box score.