1. Nagbe Goes Beast Mode
There are all sorts of numbers to back that last statement up, but I'd like to just utilize the following to demonstrate my point:
The vast majority of players who you'd consider "dribblers" playing in MLS would have gone down under that first challenge, and they would've gotten a foul called, too. Nagbe gets kicked in the back of his leg, his balance thrown off, and at one point his body seems nearly parallel with the ground. And then he stuck his foot out, somehow kept the momentum of the ball going, and dribbled the rest of the way down the field, beating two more defenders before cutting the ball back to Jack MacInerney (who missed his shot).
Nagbe completed the most passes, key passes, and also had the most defensive actions for Portland on the night, racking up almost as many tackles as Diego Chara and recovering loose balls all over the field. He also had 9 successful dribbles, which was as much as Vancouver had as an entire team. Just watch that gif next time Jurgen Klinsmann starts Graham Zusi over him.
2. Stifling Dallas
Normally, teams dread going to Dallas in the spring and summer, when the hot temperatures and Dallas's equally hot starts to seasons typically see them blow many unwary teams off the pitch. They've put together a few dominant displays already this season, but they've been just as cold on the road as of late, losing to the Red Bulls 4-0 in New Jersey last week before falling again this week, 1-0 to Toronto FC.
Normally, I wouldn't take this result too harshly. TFC is going to be a contender for both the Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup this year. But getting held scoreless (as they have the past three weeks straight) when you've got Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, and Michael Barrios (among others) just isn't going to cut it. If this is really going to be FC Dallas's year, as so many predicted it to be, they're going to need to figure it out on the road and on a consistent basis.
3. Saint Jermaine
One team who's not been stifled so far this season is the Colorado Rapids, who are top of the league (yes, you read that right), and that is in large part due to Jermaine Jones and his offensive output.
In both MLS and for the national team, Jermaine Jones has been seen largely as a defensive player. He runs around the field, makes a few unwise challenges, and generally breaks up the rhythm of other teams as best he can. But Mastroeni's move to put Jones in the heart of the attack, just behind Kevin Doyle, has paid serious dividends, to the tune of 3 goals and 2 assists in just 4 games. Sure, I expect this will all go horribly south by August (this is Colorado and Jermaine Jones we are talking about), but ignore those numbers at your own peril.
4. A Crew Divided
The Columbus Crew had an epic meltdown at Mapfre Stadium this weekend, squandering a 4-1 second half lead to let Montreal steal a point in the 93rd minute, finishing the game at 4-4. But the bigger story was Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain, who by all accounts will not be inviting each other over for beers and barbecue any time soon.
After Justin Meram won the penalty which eventually sent Columbus up 4-1, Kamara and Higuain fought over the penalty-taking duties before captain Michael Parkhurst had to resolve the matter. Higuain took the penalty, but Kamara pointedly did not celebrate the goal. Even more, the Crew just fell apart after the goal, allowing the Impact to pull back to 4-3 within 5 minutes of Higuain's second. After the game, Kamara had several choice words for Higuain's decision to take the penalty, despite his spottier penalty record and Kamara being on a hat trick.
#CrewSC Kamara on what he said to Higuain during PKargument: "Do I have to tell him (I'm sitting on a hat trick)? The whole stadium sees...— Shawn Mitchell (@smitchcd) May 8, 2016
Kamara indicated Higuain kept him from winning Golden Boot last year, given lack of assists. And Higuain took all PKs last year. #CrewSC— Shawn Mitchell (@smitchcd) May 8, 2016
Not exactly the relationship you like to see blossoming between your #10 and star striker.
5. AY GIO MIO
Gio dos Santos with a screamer pic.twitter.com/qq2UieCZyS— Missi (@MessiLob) May 8, 2016