1. De Jong Gong
This might not be the most important story to everyone else, but this seems like the most important story to me. Nigel de Jong tried to send Darlington Nagbe's ankle into the eighteenth level of hell and I am upset about it.
That got a yellow card. A YELLOW. He cocks his foot back and stomps through the ball straight onto Nagbe's ankle. For all the talk there's been about red cards and whether some that have been shown have been more or less questionable than others, how that escapes immediate expulsion is absolutely beyond me. De Jong should not be allowed in school zones after that challenge, let alone a soccer field. Nagbe's status seems grim, as he was taken off the field after the game in a wheelchair. The two teams' Twitter accounts certainly weren't playing nice afterwards:
Look, maybe I'm a bit closer to this than most because Nagbe has been my favorite MLS player to watch for the past several years, but this is stupid. And the LA Galaxy Twitter guy is stupid for trying to spin it into a joke, too, no matter how on brand that is. I hate everything. Blow it all up.
2. Ay, Dios Gio
Gio Dos Santos made his triumphant return to the Galaxy squad this weekend, and the results were...not great.
Gio as #10— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) April 11, 2016
1. Get ball in a great spot
2. kill tempo
3. let defense regroup
4. strand 5 of your own guys
Look, the guy probably sold approximately a bajillion Galaxy shirts when he signed, but the fact is he still doesn't look very good anywhere they play him. Much like a certain other Los Angeles player, he looks more and more like expensive dead weight that LAG will have to carry till at least the summer. Time for Gio to step up his game. Might we suggest the Gyasi Zardes "Keys to a Great First Touch" course?
3. In West Philadelphia, from the Grave
The Philadelphia Union have a surprise grip on second place in the Eastern Conference, and that has a lot to do with the career resurgence of one C.J. Sapong. After a three year stint in Kansas City, one that looked initially promising and yielded twenty goals in total, Sapong was at a bit of a career crossroads. No longer young at twenty-six, Sapong went from appearing for the United States national team to being muscled out of Sporting KC's starting lineup. The Union picked him up, but the team was a mess. That mess didn't exactly change with Sapong's arrival, but his ability to hold the ball up and find the net when it counted certainly returned. Sapong is back doing it again this season, and still not getting much shine for it (which is helping his MLS Fantasy value, for you gluttons for punishment out there). Finding goal, even on a fluke deflected ball like his finish against Orlando was, is always going to be a worthwhile skill in MLS, and Sapong has it.
4. [Insert Your Own Joke Based On a Word that Rhymes with "Schmidt"]
It's not really a great time for Seattle Sounders fans. The team just sputtered to a last gasp, 1-1 draw with Houston, after finally grabbing their first points of the season last week. With all the money Seattle throws at players and front office personnel, you have to wonder just when Sigi Schmidt's time is up. He's consistently won trophies that seemed for all the world like they were of lesser concern to his opponents (even when Seattle won the Supporter's Shield, the Galaxy essentially preferred to let them have it with their squad rotation in their last game of the season before going on to win MLS Cup), and the Sounders faithful are growing restless. Can Garth Lagerway lure a good fit into the Seattle set-up?
5. If I Was a Betting Man
I certainly wouldn't be doing very well at the moment. Here is your current MLS top ten in the Supporter's Shield standings:
1. Sporting KC
3. FC Dallas
5. Philadelphia Union
6. LA Galaxy
7. Orlando City SC
If you asked me to guess what that order would be six weeks in before the season started, I probably would've put FC Dallas on top, Colorado Rapids somewhere in the metaphorical basement of the Microsoft Word document, and I also probably would have included, oh, you know, the defending Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup champions. That's MLS for you.
Oh wait, I'm still mad about Darlington Nagbe getting obliterated by de Jong. I'll just put this on loop and hope it helps.