MLS The Daily Kickoff

By Anonymous (not verified), March 16, 2023
MLS Soccer
Good morning, y'all. Your pal Sam here. Let's soccer.


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MLS Kickoff Story
One round down and everything is looking about how you'd expect in the Concacaf Champions League. Except for…well, you know. For the most part, though, you're looking at a CCL bracket that still has two MLS favorites and a not-quite-as-favorite on the bottom half. That's pretty decent odds that we'll see an MLS team in the final again. We'll take a quick look at each team's remaining path, but first a couple of quick notes about our two teams who have gone on to the loser's bracket in the sky.What went wrong for Austin?In the most non-joking way I can approach this and without just saying "regression to the mean lol" over and over, I think there's legitimate criticism to have for everyone involved on their approach to the away leg in Violette. They understandably went in blind to that one due to a lack of available knowledge or tape. At the same time, whether it was the coaching decisions on the heavily rotated lineup or a strange lack of effort from that same lineup despite being given an opportunity to fight for more playing time or both (both, it's always both), it would be fair to describe the entire thing as a "potential growth experience for the culture of a still relatively new team." It can oftentimes take a top-down understanding from everyone involved to execute in a moment like that and, three years in, it might be a moment before Austin is at that level. Basically, what I'm saying is regression to the mean and you absolutely cannot teach tall… they really should have guarded the tall guy with two players stacked on top of each other in one very large, avant-garde striped jersey.What went wrong for Orlando City?There's nothing to complain about with a team that went into a tough spot for any group, let alone a group still working to gel and incorporate new pieces, and nearly came out with the win anyway. However, I'm going to bet a lot of you had the same exact thought I did when Tigres went up 1-0. "There's no way Orlando have two goals in them." That's just where we are right now with this team in attack. All you can do now if you're an Orlando fan is hope time and continuity starts paying off before it's too late. Which, to be fair, in MLS you have until like August to figure it out, so no real worries here.What went right for Vancouver Whitecaps FC and what's next?I'd say the whole "thumping Real España 5-0 in the first leg" thing was a good move on their part. Things are about to get a whole lot more difficult though. The Caps take on an LAFC team that's looked straight-up terrifying over the first few weeks. If they pull off a huge upset, they'll be facing Atlas or Philadelphia. That's a tough, tough road. But, first off, full credit to them for taking care of business in the Round of 16. It feels like this team is a serious confidence boost away from being a playoff contender in the West. Maybe this can be a jumping-off point. Second, as good as LAFC is, they are a familiar opponent. Vancouver aren't going in blind here. They should at least have a pretty good idea of how to approach this. That may not be enough, but it can't hurt. Unless they, I dunno, overthink it so much that it actually circles back around to being detrimental. Not that Vancouver has ever done anything like that...What went right for LAFC and what's next?Literally everything went right for LAFC over the first leg against Alajuelense. Just a perfect approach and performance. Maybe not as much went right over the second leg, but they still got the job done. Still not quite sure what happened there to be honest, but weird things happen when you're sitting on a lead sometimes.Now they'll face Vancouver with the possibility of a CCL matchup for the ages against Philadelphia up next. They're going to be heavily favored against the Whitecaps, but it almost feels like a trap. They didn't overlook a new opponent in Alajuelense, however, a familiar opponent that doesn't quite spark the same emotion as your potential opponent in the following round could potentially lull the Black & Gold into a false sense of security. Now, I don't think that's actually going to happen. I'm just trying to lay out the scenario where this goes wrong. If LAFC ends up in some trouble, I'd bet it looks something like a team lacking intensity as they think about what's next.What went right for the Philadelphia Union and what's next?Now, Austin rotated in their away leg and it didn’t quite work out. Philadelphia rotated in their away leg and had the depth and experience to keep things steady and level before their home leg. It just feels like one of those things that come with time. Either way, the Union executed this perfectly. They didn’t add extra miles to their starters’ legs and took care of business in a typical Union way in the second game of the tie.They've got Liga MX's Atlas next and that's frankly not as scary as it typically sounds. Atlas have been struggling this season and very, very nearly lost to Olimpia. To their credit though, they pulled off a tremendous comeback in the second leg, winning 4-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. They might be a little more confident after that. Whether they're at their best or not, I can't imagine the Union taking this lightly either way. Atlas are the only thing standing between them and a chance to go up against LAFC. I can't imagine the Union want anything more.  


  • Seattle Sounders sign defender Nouhou to new contract: Seattle Sounders FC have signed left back Nouhou to a new three-year contract with an option for 2026. The fan-favorite Cameroonian defender first joined Seattle's organization in 2016, starting with their second team before becoming a first-team mainstay in 2017. Over the last six-plus years, Nouhou has become a 2021 MLS All-Star and 2022 Concacaf Champions League Best XI selection.



Good luck out there. If you're on your way out, leave with style.

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