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The Daily Dirt, March 14: A look around MLS

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Four teams with maximum points after two weeks

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Four teams in MLS have won both of their games in the young season. The New York Red Bulls, defending Eastern Conference champions, are not exactly a surprise even though they had to rebound from a poor performance in the CONCACAF Champions League. Portland expected to be much improved with the acquisition of Sebastian Blanco.

Houston and San Jose are surprises though. The Earthquakes were a team that many expected to be near the bottom of the Western Conference, with Dominic Kinnear’s job potentially in jeopardy. Anibal Godoy has scored two Goal of the Year candidates to propel them to their two wins. They travel to Kansas City on Saturday for a match with the stout defense of Sporting. Peter Vermes’ crew has not allowed a goal year in two games. They also haven’t scored in two games, but I digress...

Houston will get a true test of where they are in 2017 on Saturday night with their trip to Portland. The Dynamo brought in new manager Wilmer Cabrera and a host of Central American talent. Four of their stars have been called up by their national teams for World Cup qualifying later this month. Romell Quioto has gotten off to a hot start in MLS, scoring twice. Cubo Torres’ revival continues under Cabrera, he has also scored twice in 2017. Saturday night’s game will be one to watch.

Atlanta will see another much improved team come to visit on Saturday in the Chicago Fire. They have finally invested in upgrading their roster and Dax McCarty and Juninho make them a much tougher team to break down. Nemanja Nikolic has the potential to be a top striker in this league, and David Accam is a game-breaking talent. Atlanta will need to be sharp to get a result this weekend.


Domestic

NYCFC’s Andrea Pirlo says that MLS needs to worry about competing with China for players (ESPN)

Minnesota United’s president addresses the club’s supporters (E Pluribus Loonum)

David Beckham’s Miami expansion bid could be falling apart (Miami Herald)

Leaders behind the Nashville MLS expansion bid hopeful for strong Gold Cup attendance (Spring Hill)

USMNT roster predictions ahead of World Cup qualifying (Stars and Stripes FC)

International

Would a Champions League for the Americas work? (World Soccer)

Group tries to bring the USL to the Bahamas (Tribune 242)

Mexico bans two players for one year after altercations with referees, ending the referees’ strike (BBC)