Another MVP campaign by Hany Mukhtar, back to reality for Galaxy and more


Hany Mukhtar, reigning MVP and Golden Boot winner, seems determined to make more MLS history. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The action is heating up in Major League Soccer as we quickly approach halfway through the season. It seems that ailing teams have plenty of time to gain ground, but points and specific games are becoming increasingly important. Here’s a look at what happened in week 15.


Hany Mukhtar: What Mukhtar has accomplished since arriving in MLS has been nothing short of spectacular. The reigning MVP and Golden Boot winner finished last season with 23 goals and 11 assists, and it doesn’t seem like he’s planning on slowing down. He has nine goals and seven assists in just 15 games this season.

The German ended Nashville’s 3-1 win over Columbus with another highlight goal to add to the collection. While it would be nice if he got some help up front, it’s okay to watch him dominating like that. No player in league history has ever won consecutive MVP awards, and Preki is the only one to win that award twice (1997, 2003). Mukhtar seems determined to make more history.

Toronto FC and Bob Bradley: To say the past week has been chaotic for Toronto would be an understatement. It all started with Federico Bernardeschi criticizing the Reds’ playing style, or lack thereof, following the recent loss to Austin. It was a direct attempt for head coach Bob Bradley to make an already chaotic start to the season. Bradley replied that it was a “coach’s decision” to bench Bernardeschi. An exposé from The Athletic on Friday revealed some harrowing information about the general disruption, player disunity and displeasure with Bradley.

So how would underperforming Lorenzo Insigne and his colleagues react? With their best game of the season, of course, beating DC United 2-1. Insigne delivered his most convincing performance in the Toronto jersey, providing two assists and looking engaged throughout. While the main focus will be on the Italians, it’s a new change that both scorers are 20 on Saturday.

There’s no doubt that Toronto still has a lot to address and fix, but perhaps after so much adversity, this can be a spark. Defense attorney Matt Hedges told MLS 360 Team after the win that the tough week lit a fire for the Reds. There was so much more to this win than just 3 points.

Houston Dynamo: Hector Herrera is finally looking like the star player Houston Dynamo expected him to be, and unsurprisingly, he’s leading to soccer victory. It was nice to beat Minnesota United 4-0 in the US Open Cup earlier in the week and finishing off with a 2-1 win over rivals Austin FC was even sweeter. The star Mexican scored the opening goal in the first half and set up the winning goal in the 87th minute.

Houston has put together a nice little series of games, having lost just two of the last eight. While they haven’t managed to pick one away yet, Dynamo’s 5-1-1 home record is spot on in the crowded West.

Miguel Perez: City native Miguel Perez just turned 18 a month ago and is living the good life. He graduated from high school on Thursday. On Saturday, he scored his first MLS goal of his career in added time in a 3-1 win over Vancouver, sending CITYPARK into complete chaos.

St. Louis continues to exceed expectations, becoming the fastest growing club in league history to reach 25 points. For a young talent to have such an impact is a testament to how St. Louis have thrived from early development in the academy to building a competitive roster. And of all his friends he’d likely hang out with after the game, there’s no way anyone could have a better graduation present.

“It’s now our job as coaches, as parents, as people and as teammates in the dressing room, to keep him guided and focused as we move forward,” said head coach Bradley Carnell. “Who knows where his blanket is. But we are happy to be close to Miggy and to accompany Miggy on this journey.”

Gyasi Zardes: Zardes became the 13th MLS player to reach 100 goals in the regular season. Aside from that historic achievement, scoring a goal is crucial to Austin FC’s success this season. Unfortunately, that moment was a defeat for the club, but monumental nonetheless.


LA Galaxy: The emotions of beating the fledgling LAFC team in the US Open Cup were short-lived for the Galaxy. Saturday was a reminder of the nightmare they live in when they lost 1-0 at home to Charlotte.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, who hasn’t been good this season, was sent off after receiving his second yellow card after a nasty foul on the studs. His first card, kicking the ball and wasting time out of frustration, was easily avoidable, as seems to be the case with many of the galaxy’s self-inflicted wounds.

Javier Hernandez and the LA Galaxy continue to struggle this season. (Photo by Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Not much changes week after week and the mentality of the club has just gone haywire. Head coach Greg Vanney says it’s not about tactics or a split locker room, but that doesn’t sit well when you’re bottom of the table and keep losing games.

“That is our task. If you’re not fully focused, why are you doing that?” asked midfielder Mark Delgado after the defeat.

Delgado also mentioned that players need to be able to not let their ego get in the way. It’s not difficult to read between the lines. This is a burning house and no one is safe right now.

Portland Timbers: It seemed like the Timbers were finally about to turn things around after a rocky start, but to be winless in your last three games and scored just one goal is tough.

Traveling to Kansas City is never an easy task and they certainly weren’t ready for it, having been overplayed and dejected in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to SKC. That lack of consistency will haunt this team as it’s no longer the Timbers of the past who can rely on Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco to fix problems.

The good thing for Portland is that nine teams are now making the playoffs and head coach Giovanni Savarese is more than battle-hardened in dealing with tough situations in this league. The bad thing for Portland is that the next game is a trip to rival Seattle, currently at the top of the Western Conference.

InterMiami: Inter Miami and Montreal surprised many with a swap in mid-April that saw Kamal Miller sent to South Florida in exchange for Bryce Duke and Ariel Lassiter. Since then, Miami has slipped to bottom of the table while Montreal has stayed afloat, with Duke playing a key role in beefing up their attack.

There’s no need to argue about who won the trade, but with the teams going head-to-head this weekend, it was a perfect opportunity for a little reminder. Lassiter took advantage as he started a goalless game early in the second half and immediately had a shot on target. A few minutes later he shot a great ball across the penalty area and set up the only goal in the 1-0 win. Advantage: Montréal.

Source link

Leave a Comment