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MLS Week 5 Review: Blowouts, slam dunks and waterlogged fields

Mar 30, 2019; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Gutierrez (21) celebrates with team mates after scoring during the first half against the Montreal Impact at Children's Mercy Park. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Week 5 was the most lopsided of the Major League Soccer season by far, and it was also one of the more lopsided weekends in recent memory. 

All you have to do is look at the scoring disparity to understand how dominant a three-day span it was for the victorious sides. 

But the significant margins of victory taught us more about the have nots in MLS than the known quantities who curbstomped through Week 5. 

We know Sporting Kansas City is one of the best teams, and whatever concerns there were about its forward line have been erased. 

LAFC has looked like the class of the league since the start of the season, and we expected Toronto FC’s high-priced new acquisition to make a significant impact on the team.

Houston doesn’t get much shine in the national conversation, but if you’ve watched the team even once in the last 12 months, it was no surprise Alberth Elis took over the final third once again.

Mar 16, 2019; Vancouver Whitecaps defender Derek Cornelius (13) battles for the ball with Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis (17) at BBVA Compass Stadium. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

So that leaves us with the clubs that left the field feeling all sorts of embarrassment, and unfortunately there were many of them. 

Sure, Matias Almeyda has a long-term plan in place with the San Jose Earthquakes, but what exactly has changed in a month to convince us there are positives to build on? 

The Quakes haven’t shown any defensive improvement. They’ve given up a league-high 14 goals in four games. FOURTEEN GOALS IN FOUR GAMES. That’s not just bad, that’s get-a-manager-fired-in-one-month level horrendous. Luckily for Almeyda, he appears to have a long leash and a summer transfer window to make improvements. 

The Colorado Rapids are only one rung above San Jose in the Western Conference only because they’ve earned a point at home compared to San Jose’s zero. 

At least there was clear roster improvement in Colorado during the offseason. A handful of MLS veterans like Benny Feilhaber, Kei Kamara, Diego Rubio and Keegan Rosenberry were added, but red cards and poor play have kept Anthony Hudson’s side from improving on the field. 

Mar 30, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids fan cheers for this team during the second half against the Houston Dynamo at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Then there’s New York City FC, which has experienced a significant drop since former coach Patrick Vieira returned to manage in Europe. 

NYCFC has two regular-season wins, both from October, since Aug. 18, and it doesn’t help that the model of consistency in the Eastern Conference lies just across the Hudson River. 

Montreal’s loss may be the least concerning of the teams on the wrong end of blowouts since it was missing Ignacio Piatti, but it does beg the question of capable the Impact are without the league’s most underappreciated star on the pitch. 

The blowouts across MLS handed us some memorable moments from the weekend, but there were also plenty of other standout moments from Week 5 in the games with tighter margins of victory. 

Goals of the Week 

Carlos Vela, F, LAFC

I’m not sure how you vote against this for Goal of the Week. 

Wayne Rooney, D.C. United

This is the only reason why you should vote against Vela’s golazo for Goal of the Week.

Dueling Panenkas

Alejandro Pozuelo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic book ended the Week 5 schedule with Panenkas from the spot. 

Almost Goal of the Week

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first-half attempt on Sunday night would’ve been a Goal of the Year nominee if it went in. 

Controversy of the Week 

Dom Dwyer and Wayne Rooney are likely both at fault for this incident Sunday night between D.C. United and Orlando City.

Dwyer was whistled for a foul due to violent conduct and Rooney took advantage of it by scoring the eventual game-winning goal.

We won’t be surprised if the debate surrounding this play rages on for weeks. 

Atlanta United Panic Button Update

On a scale from 1 to 10, Atlanta United fans are at 100 with the glass in front of the break-in-case-of-emergency hammer shattered. 

It doesn’t help that the 2-0 loss to Columbus played in poor conditions (we’ll get to that in a second) came right before a bye week. 

But as hard as it to say right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Five Stripes, with New England and Colorado on the schedule in April.

If Atlanta leaves the month of April with less than two wins, then you’re more than welcome to smash the panic button and overreact to a rough start. 

Ohio Is For Rainstorms

Both Ohio teams hosted games in treacherous conditions Saturday, and while FC Cincinnati got through 90 minutes against Philadelphia without little issue, Columbus’ home clash with Atlanta was disrupted by way too many puddles caused by downpours. 

Pro Soccer USA’s own Ben Ferree did some great work getting details on the madness that ensued on the field after a lengthy weather suspension. 

Rocky Mountain Reds

Colorado and Real Salt Lake are fighting neck-and-neck for the most red cards in MLS. 

The Rapids have had three different players sent off in their first three home games, with Tommy Smith being the latest culprit against Houston on Saturday. 

RSL upped the ante Saturday, when Damir Kreilach was handed the club’s fourth red card of 2019 against FC Dallas. 

In fact, four of RSL’s five games have featured a red card. The Claret and Cobalt earned four in the last three games, and Houston went down to 10 men in the season opener. 

Trust the Celebration

Let’s end with the best celebration of the short season. 

Noted NBA fan Marco Fabian celebrated his goal against FC Cincinnati with a dribble drive and slam dunk into the arms of Alejandro Bedoya. 

We’ll ignore the fact that Fabian traveled a few times and needs to work on his left hand in order to keep defenders guessing.

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