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5 Things We Learned in MLS: Week 8

The first rule of MLS: you do not talk about PRO referees.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Yes. The referees, at this point, clearly have no idea what constitutes a complete understanding of red cards, yellow cards, and even fouls. It's a mess. But at this point, we know this. It's old news and it, frankly, isn't even that interesting that more. Ref cost your team a game. Deal with it like every other team in the league has dealt with it for years (Orlando). On to the more interesting stuff.

1. Red Bull Comeback

Yes, Ouimette should have been off the field (even if the foul initially occurred outside of the box, which it did). But the Red Bulls rode their luck and finally found their finishing form with a three goal blitz that they followed to a 3-2 victory and three points at Red Bull Arena. Bradley Wright-Phillips finally found the net with a brace to kick off his 2016 season, and anything not in the L column is a pretty big win for the Metros right now. The question remains, however: is this the "real" Red Bulls we're seeing? No one anticipated the sudden drop in quality of play to start 2016, and even in their second win of the season they gave up multiple goals to the opposition yet again, the stingy defense of 2015 a distant memory. Can this RBNY team pull back into contention for more silverware?

2. Rapid Fever

One thing I counted on this season was the Seattle Sounders to not be able to recover from the loss of Obafemi Martins nearly as easily as many people thought they would.

I also thought the Colorado Rapids would be a laughing stock. And I was, to my great surprise, dead wrong.

The Rapids are in second place in the West after their 3-1 victory over Seattle, and their doing it largely with a stingy defense and opportunistic scoring patterns. Marco Pappa still has tricks up his sleeve. Jermaine Jones has looked re-energized since his return. Even people like Dominique Badji are producing. I still think the Tim Howard deal is absolutely horrible business in every way. But sleep on Colorado at your own peril at the moment.

3. Iron Wondo

If nothing else, Chris Wondolowski has proven himself time and again to be a great, consistent player in MLS. He's currently leading the league in goals (again), and he's done so with a quiet consistency: despite his seven goals, he has yet to score more than one goal in a game from the Earthquakes. I know many U.S. fans will only ever remember him for that miss against Belgium, but in MLS, Wondo is still finding that pocket between the center backs and giving opposing managers migraines with his movement and ability to find space in the box. He'll never be the international goal-poaching forward Klinsmann had in mind for him to be (and, to be quite honest, he never really was except against lower-level competition), but he will score on your MLS team, and it will be because he knows what he's doing.

4. TFC Key

Maybe you're a person who hates Jozy Altidore. I get it. I don't agree with you, but I get it. He's inconsistent. His touch can go astray. His finishing can be lukewarm. But I propose that Jozy Altidore is the most important person on Toronto FC (and the USMNT's) squad, and I'll let these highlights show you why.

Ok. Obviously Sebastian Giovinco is the most important part of TFC's squad. But they are a completely different team with Altidore on the field. Without him, Giovinco tends to get sucked out wide or hang off the back shoulder of defenders. He's just not the forward who checks back in, holds off a defender, and lays a pass back to the center mids. Altidore is, and he has continually shown that he is good at that. More than that, he won the penalty that gave Toronto the lead with his perpetually surprising speed. He is the perfect MLS foil to Giovinco (outside of the man he lined up against on Saturday, Didier Drogba), and with him on the field, Toronto are a dangerous team.

5. CJ Sapong Fan Club Sign-Ups at My House

I've talked a lot about how much I like CJ Sapong's play as of late. I don't care if you're sick of it. I don't care if you think this goal was lucky. I don't even care about the Union's stupid fight song. That goal kind of encapsulates all of it. Wins a header that he feathers back to Le Toux, gets himself into the box, then reacts incredibly quickly to turn Le Toux shot inside the far post. That was a really, really difficult goal to score, and I am here for it.