MLS in 2020 may very well go down as the year that young players not only started getting playing time, but started breaking through in the league in a big way. This week’s look at the Yanks in the league has some excellent performances by players not yet in the prime of their career. This can only mean good things in terms of what MLS academies are producing, but for the future of the USMNT as well. The bigger and deeper the pool gets with talented players, the more options that the national team will have when it comes time to take the next step in international soccer.
Union Yanks starting to click
Philly is unbeaten in the three games since the MLS re-start after the MLS is Back tournament re-started MLS. In that stretch they’ve let in just one goal. Their two wins last week came 1-0 against NYRB and 4-1 against DC United (who are extremely terrible right now). Mark McKenzie went the full 90 in the shutout and is a big reason the team is letting in .3 goals a game over their last three. Brenden Aaronson started both matches and contributed the 4th goal against DCU.
Tab Ramos getting Houston going
While Tab Ramos got attention as both a youth manager and potential name floated to take over the USMNT, he’s in MLS and starting to get more out of the Houston Dynamo. This week that included a 5-2 drubbing of SKC. It seems like Ramos has hit on something by putting two of the best wingers in the league, Alberth Elis and Darwin Quintero, next to an accomplished and possibly underrated striker in Christian Ramirez. The American managed a goal and Memo Rodriguez chipped in a hockey assist.
Not everything was a loss for SKC this week though as they bounced back on the road to grab a draw against the Colorado Rapids. Cole Bassett scored for Colorado as Gianluca Busio evened things up for Sporting late with a finish from way downtown.
My, my Mueller
Chris Mueller is having a breakout year as Orlando City has become a competent soccer team. It’s incredible typing those words. Oscar Pareja has always been a terrific coach, but now he’s got an owner who can splash some cash on players that wouldn’t have been available to him in his past gigs. This will be a problem for MLS teams. For his part, Mueller is thriving under Pareja and this week had a goal in both of the squad’s matches. He opened things up against Nashville and added a second against Atlanta United (who are also not good right now but at least they have George Bello... who might be the team’s best attacking player week in and week out... and that’s a problem).
Not only did Mueller grab some net, but Darryl Dike also had a pair of scores. Both of his came against Nashville. His first was a particularly nice finish as OCSC carved up the Nashville “defense.”
HELL IS REAL
And Columbus and Cincinnati proved it in a 0-0 draw this week.
Their names are Sands and Parks, but there’s only one of them - TAKE THAT GRAMMAR
I legitimately don’t know what to make about the defending in this goal by Keaton Parks. If you look closely, you can see that Alexandru Mitrita passes the ball to Parks and Mauricio Pineda steps in the opposite direction of the pass. Still, it’s a nice finish and a great celebration.
James Sands went the full 90 in the 3-1 win for the Pigeons as well.
Ferreira and Fafa find the net
Remember Fafa Picault? He played in the German 12th division or something so everyone made a lot of noise about him playing on the national team and then he did but didn’t do much and joined Philly and did some things, but wasn’t that great really. That’s who he is if you needed a refresher. Well, he scored for FC Dallas along with Jesus Ferreira just a minute apart from each other. Ferreira mixed in a great move to beat his defender also on his score.
A youngster and a vet score in the California Classico
The Galaxy and Earthquakes faced off in the empty stadium version of the California Classico with LA taking the points by a score of 3-2. LA can thank Sebastian Lletget for that with the USMNT attacker providing an assist in the first half and the game winner in the 82nd minute. It was definitely one of those weird MLS torso goals, but it counts.
The Quakes are increasingly anchored by familiar faces Nick Lima, Tommy Thompson, and Jackson Yueill. But it was youngster Cade Cowell making waves as the 16 year-old scored his first goal in MLS.
8 Goal Thriller in Portland
Defense. There was not a lot of it in the meeting between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake in their meeting. American Corey Baird had a goal and assist on the score that salvaged a draw for RSL thanks to Christhian Pardes staying in front of him but basically letting Barid do whatever he wanted until picking Sam Johnson out for the score.
For his part Jeremy Ebobisse also had an assist in the match.
Jordan Morris is a very good soccer player
After a few years with serious injury trouble, Jordan Morris has found his groove. The American winger has finally started breaking out and will hopefully keep riding the wave he’s on to World Cup qualifying and beyond. Morris had two goals as Seattle took apart LAFC this weekend.