The MLS run in the 2017 CONCACAF Champions League has come to an end with FC Dallas and Vancouver both losing their second-leg semi-final matchups, meaning that MLS fans will have to wait at least one more year before seeing an MLS team win the cup for the first time.
All focus now goes back to the main league, where there is no shortage of subjects to talk about. Newcomers Atlanta United had a wonderful start to their debut season and is currently sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference. Forward Josef Martinez won MLS Player of the Month honors for March after scoring five goals in three games before suffering a quad injury while playing for Venezuela that will reportedly keep him out for four to six weeks. This will definitely test Atlanta, but they look like a strong side that has potential to power through like many people predicted.
German superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger made his first MLS appearance for the Chicago Fire and did not disappoint. Although he looks like a 70 year-old, Schweinsteiger played like the top tier player he is, getting stuck in every chance he got, playing perfectly weighted balls to teammates in seemingly unreachable places, and scoring a wonderful header in the 17th minute that helped Chicago secure a point at home against Montreal. He will definitely add some much needed experience to Chicago’s midfield, which could help them have a shot at the playoffs this year.
Toronto FC and their power-packed offense is off to a bit of a slow start, scoring only four goals in four games and tying three out of their first four, including a 0-0 draw against Sporting KC last week. They will have to step up to the challenge that Atlanta United will surely bring this week, or they may find themselves in an early season conundrum. The LA Galaxy do not seem to be reacting too well to their post-Bruce Arena era as they moved below Minnesota United in the standings last week after losing 4-2 to Vancouver. New players and coaches seem to be having a hard time with chemistry and the result is something that LA fans are not used to; losing. In my opinion LA just needs a little more time, and could possibly be a team that makes a late-season push at the playoffs.
Real Salt Lake (RSL) have probably been the most disappointing team to watch this season, especially after losing to Minnesota United last week 4-2 in a game that was full of defensive errors, bad passes, and sloppy touches. RSL lack a spark and new Head Coach Mike Petke will look to provide it in his first week. He has stated that he wants to make Rio Tinto a “Fortress” once again and is urging his players to play more aggressively. Things may be looking up in Salt Lake, but only time will tell how important the change will be.
This weekend’s games start on April 7th at 10:30 PM CST with LA Galaxy vs. Montreal Impact on MLS Live.