We’re back after an enthralling All-Star game in which the best players in the league couldn’t overcome Atletico Madrid’s B players for 45 minutes and then Diego Simeone let his good players on the field and late goals from Joao Felix and Diego Costa effectively sealed the win for the Spanish club. I can’t even really seriously cover the All-Star game or bother making a joke about it, why does MLS insist on doing this still?
Anyway, Americans at home is actually back for real with a discussion of players who played soccer in MLS this week. But I’ve got a little announcement. If you enjoy MLS... or even if you don’t, but like soccer or just want to find out how much MLS is an absurd spectacle... come check out the new section that J. Sam Jones convinced people who should know better to let him and I write about the league on Dirty South Soccer. It might be sorta good, but it’s fun, soccer should be fun, it’s a game.. games should be fun so that’s the plan over there... (if you’re more of an outrage person, there’s room for that at the table too, come check us out).
A real Americans at home
Remember Kyle Beckerman?
I was shocked too, he’s still playing in Salt Lake City... I mention this because the defensive midfielder notched two assists against the surging NYCFC this week. One was a hockey type thing that MLS still counts for some reason, but the second was a real pass from one player to the one who got the goal assist:
Amazing, how did he ever pick Rusnak out there? Beckerman now has four assists on the year, the same number he had over the last four seasons combined. As for other Americans in the match, Justen Glad helped keep the mighty NYCFC attack to just one goal while James Sands started in the middle of a 3 CB formation in the 3-1 loss. Sands now has 16 starts for the Pigeons as he’s clearly claimed a role with the team, but it will be interesting to see if that ends up being his best position going forward in his career.
Gyasi Zardes adds to his tally
The American striker had a solid game for the Crew against the much improved and fun San Jose Earthquakes over the weekend. After going down a goal in the first half, Columbus battled back and Zardes managed the equalizer in the 65th minute.
Luckily, he didn’t have to control the pass from Luis Diaz with his feet. The Crew are having what could generously be called a horrific lost season as Caleb Porter struggled to overcome not having Diego Valeri on his roster, but Zardes is having a decent year with eight goals in 20 starts.
Elsewhere in the match, Tommy Thompson and Nick Lima started at right and left back respectively and Jackson Yueill had the most passes of any non-center back as Matias Almeyda has entrusted him with building the attack in the middle of the pitch.
Ale Bedoya gets in, and then he really gets in
The Philadelphia Union continue to defy explanation and are still atop the Eastern Conference. It seemed like that might be in jeopardy with Atlanta winning earlier in the day and Philly playing against DC United in Washington, but an early goal for the Union followed by a red card and four more goals for the visitors didn’t quite end their reign. And what an early goal it was. Not so much for the score itself but for the fact that Alejandro Bedoya scored it and then went to the field mic and encouraged Congress (whose job it is presumably to do something about the problems that plague the country) to do something to end gun violence following two mass shootings over the weekend. Since he used the TV mic, his message went out across the nationally broadcast game and was reported on by outlets across the country subsequently.
Fafa Picault also grabbed a goal in his 10 minute sub appearance and Andrew Wooten put in 69 minutes but had a fairly quiet game with just one shot in the match.
DC fared much worse obviously with Chris Durkin just playing 16 minutes before subbing for an ankle injury, Paul Arriola taking two shots in 69 minutes, and Bill Hamid helpless to do anything but watch four goals sail into his net once his team went down a man.
Jordan Morris’ brace not enough against Struggling Kansas City
One of the more surprising stories in MLS this year has been the struggles of Sporting Kansas City. The team looked fairly unstoppable last year, it seemed like Peter Vermes had gotten the right mix of pressing, stifling defense, and a three headed attacking monster that didn’t quite have a superstar goal scorer, but did have a front three combine for 30 goals to make up for it. Injuries and the congested CCL schedule did a number on the team and they sit in 10th, but are just five points out of the 57 playoff spots that MLS will have this year.
If they’re going to make a push for one of those spots, it needs to come now and the team got off to a good start at turning things around with a 3-2 win in Seattle. That came despite Jordan Morris of the Hot Pink and Black grabbing a goal at the half to be down by just one going into the break:
Sporting would add another goal to make it 3-1 before the hour mark and Morris would score a second to give the Sounders hope before the death in the 82nd minute.
Morris has three goals in his last two games after finding the back of the net just once in his last 11 matches. It would seem like he’s emerging as a streaky scorer which might be a perilous quality for a national team attacker. For SKC, Gianluca Busio came off the bench for 26 minutes. The young attacker has established himself as a roster option either starting or off the bench for Vermes,