Sounders still best, Revs legit, Cade Cowell promising

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Three weeks into the Major League Soccer season, some things came as a bit of a surprise while others are just as expected. Here are the latest headlines after another full weekend of promotions.

Still the west of Seattle: It seems like every year we find ways to analyze why the Sounders might fall off a little and they just keep closing people out. Jordan Morris is out this season while Nicolas Lodeiro is working his way back, but none of that seems to matter. Seattle have scored eight goals in three games, the best in the MLS, while Raul Ruidiaz shoots and the defense remains stingy. Brian Schmetzer’s tactic of alternating between a backline of three or five at any point in time was difficult code for the opposition. As much as things change in the club, the product remains elite. Knocking out the LA Galaxy 3-0 on Sunday was just another memory. “You can talk about any other team in the league, they are still the standard,” said Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney after the defeat. The standard indeed.

Raul Ruidiaz from Seattle (right) and the Sounders are still the “standard” in the MLS, according to Galaxy trainer Greg Vanney. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

Cincinnati FC just isn’t good: The fighting in Cincy is well documented. It’s not just that orange and blue are constantly giving up goals, it’s the sloppiness and how it happens. Saturday them Orlando City rightly gave the start 33 seconds after the start of the game with a pass back to the goalkeeper that is as bad as you will see. That way, you don’t want to react to a 5-0 fix against NYCFC a week earlier. Even Brenner’s $ 13 million signing cannot cover up the holes that curse this team. You allowed 10 goals and only scored two in the first three weeks. 2020 was an horror and this year seems to be heading in that direction.

All aboard the Cade Cowell Hype Train: If you are new to the name, consider this my gift to you. The 17-year-old San Jose local has been the most exciting player so far this season. Last week he had an absolutely ridiculous assist and after that, minutes later, in the 3-1 win over FC Dallas, he danced around the defenders in the penalty area for a dirty goal. On Saturday, the earthquake gem striker continued to show his speed and class two more assists and one more goal in a 4-1 win over D.C. United. Head coach Matias Almeyda has praised the youngster for his talent, but above all for his humility and approach. It also helps Cowell learn from Chris Wondolowski, the all-time leading scorer in MLS history. In Northern California, the stock is rising rapidly.

New England actually seems legitimate: The opening schedule was pretty straightforward for New England, but the Revs are showing clean, tactically solid football, proving that the trip to last year’s Eastern Conference final was no accident. All parts of a team of championship caliber are there: experienced coach, top-notch goalkeeper, solid defense and top-class players. After beating Atlanta United 2-1 at home on Saturday, Bruce Arena called Carles Gil “one of the league’s elite players”. It’s another side of the Revs when Gil is healthy and in command of the offensive – something they missed out on in an injured 2020 season for the midfielder. Expectations are high in Foxboro and it seems more than justified for Arena’s roster currently at the helm of the Eastern Conference.

What’s going on in Minnesota ?: Speaking of expectations, the Loons were a team that was among the best in the MLS this season. They are currently light years away and the only team with zero points in the league. You lost three straight defeats to open the campaign for the first time in franchise history. The biggest off-season player, Roman Abila, made his first start of the season on Saturday with a loss to Austin FC and scored an uneventful 58 minutes. Their main player, Emanuel Reynoso, limped off the field with a painful calf injury at the beginning of the second half. They are not organized defensively and the attack did not exist. Coach Adrian Heath admittedly hopes to take a break somewhere that will trigger a change. “There’s no magic wand for that,” he said on Saturday. There is a theoretical panic button, however, and the urge to smash it goes nowhere until they’re in the profit column.

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