It seemed like we were set to get the best Matchday of the Year. Normally though, the opposite of exactly what you expect to happen happens. So in a way, I was expecting…you know what, let's not talk this one out.
Let's just say that this Matchday delivered. Here's what went down on the wilwn.
CHARLOTTE FC - 1 | NASHVILLE SC - 2
B. Bronico (6') | H. Mukhtar (39', 90'+3' PK)
What happened?: Brandt Bronico muscled his way to an early goal against Walker Zimmerman-less Nashville, but you just can't outrun Hany Mukhtar.
So, did we learn anything?: Nah. The big takeaway is just a reminder that Mukhtar is really, really good at this. Nashville have climbed up to second in the East and remain one of the hottest teams in the league.
FC CINCINNATI - 3 | COLUMBUS CREW - 2
L. Acosta (17', 23' PK), J. Moreno (67') | L. Zelarayán (40'), M. Amundsen (52')
What happened?: A lot. Cincy and Lucho Acosta took an early 2-0 lead, Columbus clawed their way back to life, and Junior Moreno finally delivered a double tap on the Zombie. The best Hell Is Real ever?
So, did we learn anything?: Cincy are hellbent on winning every single home game. They're 8-0-0 at TQL Stadium this year. And that's a really good way to end up with a Supporters' Shield at the end of the season. Other than that, not much learning. We saw an outstanding game between two great teams and there's not much more to say other than good teams are good.
D.C. UNITED - 3 | LA GALAXY - 0
C. Benteke (71'), C. Dájome (73'), M. Klich (80')
What happened?: A slow burn into a beatdown. D.C. took off late and pummeled the Galaxy.
So, did we learn anything?: You check the standings lately? D.C. United are sitting in sixth place with 19 points this season. The Wooden Spoon won't be anywhere near Audi Field after this season. They've had an excellent turnaround and may just be a playoff team. They've been happy to beat up on some struggling teams as of late. And they've even pulled out draws against red-hot Nashville and Philadelphia sides in the last couple of weeks.
LA…I dunno, man. It's just bad. What do you add at this point?
INTER MIAMI - 1 | ORLANDO CITY - 3
L. Campana (57') | E. Kara (19'), M. Ojeda (68'), Rafael Santos (86')
What happened?: Leo Campana matched Ercan Kara's opener with a stunner, but the Lions took off late and picked up a huge road win over their in-state rival.
So, did we learn anything?: Ercan Kara seems to be putting it together. I'm not sure he'll be able to score from a flicked-on header from a long throw-in every game, but he has scored four times in his last five games now. Along with Duncan McGuire, Orlando's strikers are getting the job done and the results are coming along like you'd expect.
NEW YORK RED BULLS - 2 | CF Montréal - 1
A. Reyes (23'), C. Burke (38') | J. Waterman (29')
What happened?: Andres Reyes and Cory Burke made the difference for the Red Bulls with two very Red Bulls-looking goals.
So, did we learn anything?: The Red Bulls are regressing toward the mean. In the good way. Their underlying numbers have been great all year and they're starting to get the results that accompany that kind of thing. That's seven points from their last nine since parting ways with Gerhard Struber.
PHILADELPHIA UNION - 3 | NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - 0
D. Gazdag (56', 74' PK), J. Carranza (88')
What happened?: The Union did Union things and it was not close.
So, did we learn anything?: Classic Union stuff here. They're healthy, they're getting better each week and they're going to keep piling up points.
As for the Revs, they're not quite as healthy and there's only so much Djordje Petrovic can do.
AUSTIN FC - 1 | TORONTO FC - 0
G. Zardes (90'+1')
What happened?: Gyasi!
So, did we learn anything?: Gyasi Zardes is starting to find his way a bit in Austin. That's two key goals in two straight big wins for Austin. I'm not sure that means Los Verdes are back on track or anything, but it's been a really good week. That's at least way more fun than…whatever else was happening for a while.
Meanwhile, all that whatever else is definitely still happening to Toronto. The Reds are by themselves in last place in the East.
CHICAGO FIRE FC - 3 | ATLANTA UNITED - 3
Juanjo Purata (42' OG), M. Haile-Selassie (49'), G. Koutsias (89') | A. Gutman (29') , G. Giakoumakis (55', 65')
What happened?: Everything. Just…everything. Chicago went down to 10 men in the 26th minute and immediately conceded a goal. They followed that disastrous sequence with two goals despite being down a man. Then Giorgos Giakoumakis got subbed on and Atlanta got good again. And then Luiz Araujo got his second yellow. Then Chicago scored late. And then I took an exhaustion nap.
So, did we learn anything?: Not a darn thing other than Giorgos Giakoumakis might be the best striker in the league. He's scoring at rate of about 1.36 goals per 90 at this point. He has the best mark in the league. Now, Atlanta just needs him to get fully healthy.
The rest of this nonsense can all firmly be thrown into the "Lol MLS" pile.
FC DALLAS - 1 | HOUSTON DYNAMO - 1
J. Obrian (53') | T. Úlfarsson (85')
What happened?: Thorleifur Úlfarsson saved the day for Houston.
So, did we learn anything?: Nah, feels pretty standard for all involved.
COLORADO RAPIDS - 2 | REAL SALT LAKE - 3
D. Wilson (33'), L. Abubakar (74') | P. Ruiz (12'), D. Musovski(21'), D. Kreilach (44')
What happened?: The Rapids made it close in the end but RSL took it to them in this one.
So, did we learn anything?: The Rapids have had a rough week. RSL have had a rough season, but this is a step in the right direction. I think that's all I have to say right now about the 11th and 12th place teams in the West.
ST. LOUIS CITY SC - 4 | SPORTING KC - 0
E. Löwen (19' PK), I. Vassilev (25', 75'), N. Gioacchini (55')
What happened?: Nothing appropriate for a family friendly newsletter.
So, did we learn anything?: When St. Louis gets their teeth into someone they chew down into the bone. Good lord, they can break out the whooping stick from time to time. Just another huge moment in a season full of huge moments for the league's newest team.
LAFC - 2 | SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - 1
S. Biuk (3'), C. Vela (90'+5' PK) | M. Trauco (52')
What happened?: Stipe Biuk scored early and it looked like LAFC might get some revenge for a big Quakes win a couple of weeks ago. Instead, Miguel Trauco scored one of the weirdest goals you'll ever see and San Jose stole a point on the road and… lolololol nope just kidding, forget all of that, LAFC got a penalty in stoppage time. Three points for LAFC. None for San Jose.
So, did we learn anything?: Felt hilariously fluky to get the goal but far less fluky to keep LAFC from building on a one-goal lead. That's (nearly!) a great point for a very good Quakes team that hasn't been their best away from San Jose. Oh well. LAFC just have a little too much talent to handle sometimes.
PORTLAND TIMBERS - 0 | MINNESOTA UNITED - 1
B. Hlongwane (90'+5')
What happened?: Bongokuhle! Hlongwane!
So, did we learn anything?: Probably not! But who cares! Bongokuhle! Hlongwane!
The Loons are sixth in the West after 13 Bebelo Reynoso-less games.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS - 2 | SEATTLE SOUNDERS - 0
P. Vite (44'), S. Frei (58' OG)
What happened?: The Whitecaps just outplayed them. I mean it really wasn't even close.
So, did we learn anything?: *That* is exactly the kind of performance we've been waiting for from a Caps team that we've been swearing is actually good but didn't have the results to show for it. Now, best guess here, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Caps struggle to follow this up. That's just kind of been their MO for a while. But maybe, just maybe they can build on this one.
Anyway, uhhhhh, are we worried about Seattle? Yeah, super weird thing to say about the team in second place in the West. But they've now lost to SKC, Austin and Vancouver in the last four games. It's weird. We all know they're better than that. Something just feels a bit off right now though.
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Good luck out there. Take care of folks before they have to head home.