Week 7 was a good one in MLS. As usual, there was controversy over bad calls, some wonderful skill and big name players either returning or gaining in form. A brief analysis of the season so far, reveals the Montreal Impact is well placed to top the Eastern Conference as key rivals are struggling early.
Let's look at seven key points:
- While the Colorado Low might be a weather phenomenon that brings havoc across the continent ... it also makes for instantaneous classics when all ingredients are present ... Jermaine Jones played the role of the Abominable Snowman and the Rapids continue to show they are for real. With Tim Howard coming in the summer, there could be playoff games in the Rockies later this year. Meanwhile, the nightmare continues for the Red Bulls. In many leagues, Jesse Marsch's job would be in jeopardy already.
- The King returns! The Montreal Impact showed they could do admirably without Didier Drogba in the line up. However, with him, the attack gains another dimension as was displayed in the second half against the Chicago Fire and the IMFC must be considered a contender for the MLS Cup if le Roi Didier and other key players stay healthy: Laurent Ciman, Ignacio Piatti and Evan Bush. With key teams like RBNY and the Crew showing weaknesses in the East, Montreal's path to the top looks less bumpy.
- The "debacle in Orlando" ... Although not unique to MLS (see link here to Leicester City's game ) bad refereeing is often an issue in the league. That's particularly bad when it decides a game ... a good match featuring Kaka and more than 40,000 fans in the stadium. However, "Blindomero Toledo" did his thing and ruined a good game.
- FC Dallas roars on. Even with the absence of Mauro Diaz, the Texas team is the class of the league so far this season with the bad loss to rival Houston now a distant memory. They rightly sit near the top of the MLS power rankings with RSL which is also a very strong Western-based team. The Impact should be real glad to play in the East!
- Big names show their worth for the Galaxy ... There were many questions about Giovanni Dos Santo and especially Steven Gerrard. Could it be that the game on Friday night announced Stevie G's full acclimatization to MLS ? LA needs him to boss the midfield if they are to be considered MLS cup contenders. Houston looked totally discombobulated.
- Wonderful Wondo! There are very few players in world football (never mind the MLS), that have his sense of positioning and his ability to sniff out an opportunity. He's not the most gifted with skills, the fastest, the tallest ...he's simply the smartest in terms of football sense. The Earthquakes are extremely lucky to count on Chris Wondolowski.
- Seattle and Portland rebound. The Cascadia power houses are not having the expected start to the season. Their Northern rivals in Vancouver are also struggling early. But both teams have now have a base to build on with Jordan Morris scoring his first pro goal for the Sounders and Fanendo Adi continuing his fantastic play for the Timbers. Meanwhile in Vancouver, Octavio Rivero and the team's other young players are not performing up to expectations.