My debut edition of DSS Does MLS did so well, so I’m having another crack at it this week. Like last week, I’m leaving Atlanta United’s result against the Red Bulls completely out of it because that has (and will) be dissected to death here, but suffice it to say that Atlanta players - and fans - weren’t happy.
Some things that caught my eye in Week 13:
-NYCFC kept pace with Atlanta with their victory against Colorado on a day that started with the organization honoring David Villa for his 400th goal for club and country. Naturally, the the 36-year-old Villa (there’s no way) went on to bag a brace for the hosts against the Rapids. NYC truly showed their class against a Rapids side that were always going to face a challenge at Yankee Stadium, and the good thing about them - and this was mentioned by Joe Tolleson and Janusz Michallik on the YES Network broadcast - is that they showed that they’re more than just David Villa and a bunch of other players:
From the opening kickoff, City was looking forward and dedicated as much effort as they could into the attack. Everyone pulled their weight and filled their role appropriately. David Villa was — obviously — the star of the contest, scoring a brace on his own holiday.
Overall, it was a party-like atmosphere from beginning to end in the Bronx on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
UPDATE, 12:15pm: Off the field, things look to be getting pretty serious between Patrick Vieira and Nice - as in, it’s basically a done deal at this point according to reports. So there’s that detail for NYCFC, a situation that certainly bears watching as it will have to adjust to a new man in the technical area.
Hearing Vieira will train NYCFC once more tomorrow before leaving for Nice. Will ask for confirmation from Vieira post-training #NYCFC— Dylan Butler (@Dylan_Butler) May 22, 2018
-For Colorado, remember that World Cup performance from Tim Howard? It’s clear that we’re watching the twilight of what has been a spectacular career for the New Jersey native. That’s not to take away from the great things he’s done as the No. 1 keeper for the national team, but unfortunately he looked poor on a couple of the goals by NYC, especially the first from Villa and the second-half tally that made it 3-0.
-Big, big result for Toronto FC against Orlando City. It wasn’t a “must win” in the classic sense, but it was a match that the Reds needed to dig out of the East’s basement. However, says Waking the Red, they’ll need to keep that momentum rolling and take full advantage of the win.
It could end up being the turning point in Toronto’s season. It only becomes that, however, if Toronto FC follow it up. That’s why while tonight’s win against Orlando City was big, getting a win next Friday against FC Dallas becomes even bigger. Because, as Greg Vanney put it after the match: “winning is a habit, just like losing is a habit”.
Toronto’s next five: @ FC Dallas, Columbus, @ Philadelphia, @ D.C., @ NYCFC. I’ll go out on a limb and say that it should get nine points out of that stretch at worst.
-Meanwhile, that’s not a good look for Orlando City coming off a home loss to Atlanta United. Granted, it was missing Dom Dwyer, but it had a great chance to go into BMO Field and defeat a TFC side that was missing Jozy Altidore (injury) and Sebastian Giovinco (red card ban). It’s far from time to panic for the Lions - especially with a very winnable game against Chicago coming up - but other players will need to contribute in case Dwyer’s out for any length of time:
It doesn’t seem anyone else can handle the workload up top that Dwyer puts in, game in and game out. (Justin) Meram, who has a history of playing forward, struggled early in the season when playing the striker position. (Chris) Mueller is a solid player, but is still a rookie who needs time to develop and help from veteran players to set himself up in solid situations. (Stefano) Pinho has been spotty at the striker spot, getting bullied by opposing defenses. Dwyer is a special player, but I think it would be smart of (coach Jason) Kreis to consider a two-striker formation, such as a 4-4-2, to take the load off of his strikers and wingers so that they can help each other when Dwyer is out.
-More from Orlando City:
Orlando City has identified 38 individuals who will be banned for one to two years based on their "level of involvement" in the incident at the end of the Atlanta match.— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) May 21, 2018
Stadium is transitioning to an all pour venue. Meaning no cans or bottles, only plastic cups.— Austin David (@AustinDavid22) May 21, 2018
Unfortunate to see this, but the club really had no choice and did well to send a message here that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated.
-The Portland Timbers keep rolling, getting a nice home win against LAFC in a match where it showed great composure to get a beautiful game winner after Carlos Vela’s brilliant strike leveled it. All of a sudden, Giovanni Savarese’s side are just seven points from the top of the West and have run off five wins in a row after a 0-3-2 start. Yes, three of those wins have come against Minnesota, San Jose and Seattle, and let’s not forget that this is the same group that lost to LA, were played off the field against the Red Bulls and gave up a late lead to Chicago earlier in the year. But credit to the Timbers for their resilience, and with Colorado and the Galaxy coming up on the schedule before a key West matchup on June 9, things could really turn in its favor.
-Funny how one win can quickly change the outlook of the standings. LA Galaxy came into its match against Montreal having lost four in a row and five points behind a Houston side that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead in less that 20 minutes. So they really, really needed a win to keep pace, and while Zlatan’s red card made things look bleak on the road, they broke through courtesy of Ola Kamara to leave Stade Saputo with full points. They’re now a pair of points behind the red line with a good margin in goal differential (-4) over Minnesota.
-Can’t leave Columbus off this list. They topped the Revs on the road, just in time for a big-time Sunday showdown. Starting to feel that there might be something to this group.
This was going to be Carlos Vela’s equalizer in the Portland vs. LAFC match, but the one after that gets my vote.
SCENES IN PORTLAND!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 19, 2018
What a solo effort from @SamArmenteros. #PORvLAFC https://t.co/uU0Agt6GJr
Most obvious “did you really think they weren’t going to call that, Zlatan?” infraction and sending-off
After Video Review, Zlatan Ibrahimovic receives a red card for violent conduct. #MTLvLA https://t.co/qF8UcCZYuy— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 21, 2018
More LGP: The Josef goal? What did he say. It’s stupid. It’s stupid. Because Parker runs to one side and Josef runs to the other side? He says foul. This is a foul? This is real? This is stupid. The referee every week, every single week, the same.— Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) May 21, 2018
OK, I had to include something about Atlanta.
MLS Week 13 viewing guide
|Fri., May 25||Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas||8:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Fri., May 25||Houston vs. NYCFC||8:55 PM||ESPN+/Twitter|
|Fri., May 25||LA Galaxy vs. San Jose||11:00 PM||ESPN+/Twitter|
|Sat., May 26||Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake||5:00 PM||FOX/FSGO|
|Sat., May 26||FC Dallas vs. Vancouver||5:30 PM||ESPN+|
|Sat., May 26||New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia||7:30 PM||ESPN+|
|Sat., May 26||Orlando City vs. Chicago||7:30 PM||ESPN+|
|Sat., May 26||Minnesota United vs. Montreal||8:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Sun., May 26||Colorado vs. Portland||9:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Sun., May 26||LAFC vs. D.C. United||10:00 PM||ESPN+|
|Sun., May 27||Sporting KC vs. Columbus||6:00 PM||FS1|
Non-Atlanta United match you should watch: Atlanta’s off until Wednesday, so you basically have your pick of matches this week before United play the Revs. My easy pick: Sporting KC vs. Crew SC. The West tabletoppers vs. a strong East side led by Gyasi Zardes, and on national TV to boot. Crew win, and they take the points lead for the Shield although Atlanta will still have a pair of games in hand.
Non-Atlanta United match you shouldn’t watch: Minnesota vs. Montreal. It’s not that this is a complete dog of a match - Minnesota are right below the red line - but it’s hard to get super excited for this one. And shame on the Impact for not being to salvage at least a point at home against 10-man LA on Monday.