Los Angeles FC is the clear-cut favorite to win MLS Cup through six weeks of the 2019 season.
This isn’t a team overhyped because it started strong. This isn’t a potential contender exceeding expectations. This is a juggernaut built by one of the best American managers ever that is ready to steamroll all of its competition.
LAFC was expected to receive its first major challenge Saturday at Audi Field, but instead Bob Bradley’s side put away D.C. United by halftime and finished the match with a 4-0 victory.
Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi haven’t been slowed down by any opponent yet, and Rossi moved closer to his teammate in the Golden Boot race with a hat trick against United.
Vela has officially played a role in 11 of LAFC’s 19 goals with seven goals and four assists, and he’s made a significant contribution in the buildup to a few other tallies. He is a frontrunner for Most Valuable Player.
Rossi has six goals, five of which have come in the last three games, and he’s quickly turning himself into the latest bright, young talent who could force a move from the selling league to Europe.
Although LAFC’s success is headlined by Vela and Rossi, the club has so many other strong parts to its roster, which has been carefully built by Bradley. MLS veterans Jordan Harvey and Steven Beitashour anchor a strong back line that includes a centerback star in Walker Zimmerman.
The midfield was built with the shrewd acquisitions of Eduard Atuesta and Mark-Anthony Kaye, and the expansion draft selection of Latif Blessing reaps rewards on a week-by-week basis.
LAFC has also quietly built up its depth, especially at forward with Adama Diomande and Christian Ramirez providing a scoring punch behind Vela and Rossi.
Sure, LAFC could experience a dip in form at some point, but don’t expect the valleys to be too deep.
FC Cincinnati and Vancouver are the next two opponents on LAFC’s schedule. If the club’s unbeaten streak runs to eight games, back-to-back matches against the Seattle Sounders April 21 and 28 could provide a potential Western Conference final preview.
While LAFC stole most of the Week 6 headlines, there were plenty of other moments worth recognizing during the 11-game slate.
Goals of the Week
Alejandro Bedoya, Philadelphia Union
Bedoya received a chipped pass from Ilsinho on the right wing and scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time for the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
Ayyy, @MLS, how's this for a Goal of the Week contender?
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) April 7, 2019
Reto Ziegler, FC Dallas
The opening goal of Saturday’s game at Talen Energy Stadium was a beauty as well. Reto Ziegler whipped his free kick around the wall and left Andre Blake flat-footed.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 6, 2019
Nicolas Lodeiro, Seattle Sounders
Just your casual one-footed volley while falling to the ground.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 7, 2019
Immaculate First Touch of the Week
Chicago’s C.J. Sapong pulled down a long ball with perfection while sprinting past a defender on the way to scoring his third goal of the season.
— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) April 6, 2019
Often Imitated, Never Duplicated
Vancouver’s Ali Adnan tried to be like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and score a Panenka. To say he failed miserably is an understatement.
Dare to Zlatan? 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/dWYPWlthkj
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 6, 2019
Bizarre Stats of the Week
New York City FC played its second scoreless draw of the season Saturday against the Montreal Impact. Two of the three goalless draws in 2019 have come at Yankee Stadium.
All three of MLS’ California teams recorded clean sheets in Week 6. It marked the first time since LAFC entered the league last year that LAFC, LA Galaxy and San Jose all earned shutouts in the same weekend.
Minnesota United picked up its third road win of the season Saturday at Red Bull Arena. In their first two seasons in MLS, the Loons had four road victories.
Quakes Bounce Back In Major Way
Typically when mentioning the San Jose Earthquakes in this space, it’s about the impressive performance a team put up against them.
But not this week.
Matias Almeyda’s bunch tore through the Portland Timbers on Saturday night to leap out of the Western Conference basement and hopefully set the wheels in motion for more positive results.
Wooden Spoon Update
Colorado, Vancouver, Portland, NYCFC and Atlanta United are the five teams in MLS without a victory.
We didn’t expect to see NYCFC, Atlanta or Portland in this discussion, but that just goes to show how different MLS can be from season to season.
Wins from NYCFC and Atlanta in Week 7 would get them back into the Eastern Conference playoff discussion, but the same can’t be said about the teams in the West since there’s already a four-point difference between the seven playoff teams and the bottom five squads.
Replace Your Divots
Yankee Stadium and Talen Energy Stadium received plenty of criticism for field conditions Saturday.
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) April 6, 2019
— Joe Tansey (@JTansey90) April 6, 2019
The first midweek games of the regular season take place Tuesday in D.C., when Montreal visits, and Wednesday in Colorado, which will host the Sounders.
Sporting Kansas City will try to reverse its five-goal deficit against Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions League at Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday.