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MLS Week 2 recap: Overreactions, Sesame Street and a big week for USMNT players

Reviewing Week 2 MLS performances. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Overreacting is one of the things we’re best at in the social media age. 

Even though it’s just two weeks into the 2019 Major League Soccer season, the over-the-top opinions are flying left and right. 

At the forefront of the conversations are the pair of third-year clubs, Atlanta United and Minnesota United. 

The Loons are one of three teams with six points at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings. The other two, Seattle and LAFC already look like unstoppable machines. Two victories, road victories nonetheless, have the Loons in great shape and they’re building excitement ahead of the first game at their new stadium, Allianz Field. 

Darwin Quintero is the real deal, but you already knew that, while Osvaldo Alonso and Jan Gregus have formed a solid pairing in the center of midfield. The defense has even upgraded by giving up two goals in two games to San Jose and Vancouver, and if the back four keeps silencing attacks, the Loons could sniff the playoff race for the first time. 

There were countless reasons why Minnesota didn’t come close to the postseason in its first two seasons, and manager Adrian Heath delivered some honest commentary about that after Saturday’s win in San Jose. 

Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer also made headlines in Week 2 following the Five Stripes’ draw with FC Cincinnati in their home opener, but it was for all the wrong reasons after he called fans ” a little bit spoiled” by the last year’s results.

While Heath is likely right in his assessment of his squad, De Boer sounded a bit out of his touch with his remarks about the best fanbase in the league. 

Our over reactionary impulse tells us the Loons are going to be a much-improved side and the Five Stripes might struggle more than anyone expected.

But using more perspective: The Loons beat up on two of the worst sides in MLS right now and harder challenges await. As for the Five Stripes, they’re still going through an adjustment process with de Boer and Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez. Once that’s over, which it should be in less than a month, they could take off and again become the league’s elite franchise. 

Using the 2018-Orlando-City-early-season-overreactions-can-change-fast metric, we advise checking back in a month to see how both teams are doing.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff from Week 2. 

Goals of the week 

Memo Rodriguez

More like Memooooooooooo Rodriguez. What a hit into the top corner from the Houston Dynamo Homegrown player. 

Bryan Acosta, FC Dallas

If you vote for MLS Goal of the Week based off level of difficulty, this should be your choice. 

Roland Lamah, FC Cincinnati

It wasn’t the flashiest of goals, but Roland Lamah’s equalizer carried plenty of importance, as it handed FC Cincinnati its first MLS point. 

What a weekend for USMNT players

Gyasi Zardes, C.J. Sapong, Christian Ramirez, Jeremy Ebobisse and Miguel Ibarra all scored in MLS over the weekend — a welcome sight for fans of the U.S. men’s national team.

But the goal-scorers weren’t the USMNT stars of Week 2. Goalkeepers Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and Zack Steffen all put in tremendous performances

Hamid and Johnson went head-to-head in the 0-0 draw between New York City FC and D.C. United and flashed the skill sets that made us fawn over them in the past when talking about the future of the USMNT in between the pipes. 

Steffen is still the clear-cut No. 1 goalkeeper on the USMNT depth chart, but if Hamid and Johnson have strong first halves of the MLS season, they’ll both be seriously considered for Gregg Berhalter’s Concacaf Gold Cup squad. 

#PlayYourKids: Paxton Pomykal edition

There’s still plenty of room left on the Paxton Pomykal hype train, but space may fill up fast. 

The FC Dallas Homegrown player and U.S. U-20 international shined in FC Dallas’ win over the LA Galaxy and delivered a terrific assist on Acosta’s 61st-minute goal.

Pomykal’s performance serves as a reminder to all MLS clubs that if you have young homegrown talent, don’t keep it on the bench, or play it out of position like San Jose putting Tommy Thompson at right back.

Bizarre stats of the week 

Minnesota United had four road wins, and zero against Western Conference teams, before the 2019 season. They now have a pair of road wins over Western foes in two weeks. 

Kelvin Leerdam came into the 2019 season with one goal in his Seattle Sounders career. He’s scored once in each of the Sounders’ games.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Marco Fabian became the first MLS player to miss a penalty kick and earn a straight red card since Chivas USA’s Edgar Mejia in 2013.

Tim Melia appreciation corner

Speaking of Chivas USA (two references in one article, what a thrill!), former Goats goalkeeper Tim Melia came up with another penalty save for Sporting Kansas City in its 2-0 win over Philadelphia on Sunday. 

Melia, who is arguably the best goalkeeper in MLS right now, has saved eight of the 21 penalties he’s faced in MLS play. 

Seattle, LAFC are really good — like MLS Cup-winning good

Seattle and Los Angeles FC are in a class above everyone else right now, and they are the early-season favorites to win MLS Cup. Yes, they’ve both played that well. 

Now, opinions could change once they hit the road, but the Sounders and LAFC have taken care of business at home in the first two weeks. 

LAFC is the most impressive team in MLS at this stage after dispensing of two legitimate contenders, Portland and Sporting KC, in back-to-back weeks at Banc of California Stadium.

Managerial candidate emerges from Sesame Street 

If your club ends up firing its manager at some point this season, it might want to consider Grover, who made an appearance at Yankee Stadium.




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