One of the league’s owners who did little to bring his team into the different incarnations of MLS 2.0 and 3.0 said goodbye on Friday. Andrew Hauptman sold his stake in the Chicago Fire and the team is set to depart from Bridgeview, Illinois back to the center of town at Soldier Field. It seems like the insistence of MLS that teams have stadia that are specific to soccer is not as strict of a requirement depending on whatever market conditions are needed for a club to be successful. Atlanta and NYCFC each play in non-soccer specific venues with New York playing in maybe the worst top flight pitch in the world.
Still, the team draws well and while there are good reasons that the Fire won’t succeed just by moving downtown (for example, they need to sign good players), Hauptman was a source of ire for fans who wanted a bit more effort, organization, and evidence of a plan from the front office. His departure at least gives the Fire a chance to have a fresh start.
A pair of Yanks score in New York
NYCFC is quietly pulling away with the Eastern Conference as their games in hand have turned into points in the table as of late. They did only manage a draw against Toronto FC midweek, but a visit by the much improved from last year San Jose Earthquakes would be a solid test. Chris Wondolowski opened the scoring in the game with his 14th goal of the year, making him the leading American scorer in MLS, in the 20th minute:
The lead would last until the 40th when Keaton Parks scored his first MLS goal of the year to even things up.
New York would get a game winner from Alexandru Mitrita three minutes later. Jackson Yueill and Tommy Thompson also got starts for San Jose in the match as New York’s win gave them a 5 point cushion in the standings.
And the second leading American goal scorer is...
CJ Sapong, who scored goals this weekend as the Chicago Fire beat FC Dallas 4-0. The Fire are three points away from being one of 14 teams that qualify for the playoffs in MLS this year. The win was a big one as they wind down their season and hope to salvage something out of yet another year where the team turned over a huge portion of their roster. The first goal for Sapong came as he collected a bad backpass to put the Fire up 1-0 and the second was scored off of a corner.
Paxton Pomykal, Edwin Cerrillo, and Reggie Cannon all started for Dallas.
The Loons march in
Minnesota United has finally put things together this year. The team sits in 3rd in the West and has the trappings of a real MLS team now - stadium that doesn’t have the logo of a local university all over the field, starters that don’t belong in USL, and a manager who... is happy not to be in Orlando. Minnesota took on Real Salt Lake over the weekend and a pair of MLS vets had a solid showing. Ike Opara has been a huge reason why the Loons have been so improved in the backline this year. The centerback solidified the defense and sending Francisco Calvo to Chicago seems to have also gotten a player that didn’t seem too happy in a different situation.
On top of that, Ethan Finlay notched his 7th goal of the year as the American winger continues to have a solid showing after his fall off in Columbus and injury in recent seasons.
Mayson Toye played 68 minutes as the youngster didn’t score, but is a player to watch heading into the playoffs and possibly as the U-23s start warming up for Olympic qualifying. For RSL, there weren’t many highlights. Nick Rimando let in three goals in the 3-1 loss, while Brooks Lennon and Corey Baird came off of the bench to try and save the game before Finlay put it away.
Jordan Morris has a day
After solid play for the USMNT, Morris was back with the Sounders and the forward scored within two minutes of the game starting against the NYRB.
It was a deflection, but if Morris is good at one thing, it’s being where he should be to make the most of the good luck that falls in his way. The former Stanford Cardinal also had an assist in the match. For his part, Cristian Roldan also helped set up Nico Lodiero’s goal in stoppage time that made the score 4-2 for the Sounders.
Chris Armas seems to be blowing it for the NYRB as the team is just four points above the playoff line this season. An own goal from Sean Davis didn’t help things, but Aaron Long putting one in the net gave the trash cows false hope around the half hour mark.
Nine goals to finish the weekend
Sporting Kansas City has had a rough season with injuries and international tournaments taking a lot out of the team. Peter Vermes has typically weathered these kinds of storms with some skill, but that seems to have run out in 2019. It ran out in a big way against the LA Galaxy in Carson on Sunday. Playing a mostly first choice XI, SKC gave up seven goals to the Galaxy - there were no red cards, no attacking midfielders playing left back, just good old getting tore apart by the Galaxy.
For LA, Sebastian Lletget and Joe Corona each scored with Lletget getting a brace.
Though SKC was blown out, Gianluca Busio came on as a sub and did manage an assist on a consolation goal in the 80th minute.