Do you like drama? Did you miss MLS this weekend? Sucks for you.
MLS was almost as dramatic as possible this weekend with seven goals scored in the final 10 minutes that either won or draw a match, four of which came in stoppage time. It was a hot mess in the best way possible.
It was also pretty informative.
Real Salt Lake isn't missing a beat with Jeff Cassar
Real Salt Lake brought back almost their entire squad from a year ago -- one that came within a penalty kick of winning MLS Cup. With the expected progression of Luis Gil, Joao Plata and Devon Sandoval, things were looking up for RSL.
Except they lost Jason Kreis.
Nobody was quite sure just how much RSL would fall off without their manager. Apparently, the answer was "not at all."
RSL made a major statement on Saturday, thrashing Toronto FC, 3-0, and ending the perfect start for MLS's new glamour team. RSL was every bit as good as the scoreboard suggested, putting the TFC midfield under so much pressure that they couldn't move the ball, let alone create scoring chances with any regularity, while Alvaro Saborio caused fits for the Toronto defense.
Ryan Nelsen's squad weren't at full strength, with Jackson and Jonathan Osorio both out, and they are still coming together, while the manager's lineup decisions were curious at best, but RSL still hammered them. With Salt Lake having also taken four points from two matches against the Galaxy, the questions about Cassar's ability to replace Kreis are beginning to subside. RSL look as good as ever.
Sporting KC found their attack
Through three matches, Sporting has zero goals from open play.
On Saturday, they scored three.
There were real concerns about Sporting's ability not just to score goals, but even to create chances after the first three matches of the season. Coming off of last season, when Sporting did manage to win MLS Cup, but struggled to get production from their strikers at times, getting more in the attack was a priority and in the early going, they had failed miserably.
Saturday will go a long ways to assuaging those fears as Sporting didn't just score three goals, they were a threat throughout. Graham Zusi notched two assists when one is a rarity from open play for him, Dom Dwyer gave more reason to believe that he may be the answer to Sporting's striker conundrum and they still have Chance Myers' return to look forward to.
Sporting will never been a dominant, overwhelming attack, but with the best defense in the league, they don't need to be. They just need to be pretty good, and on Saturday they were that (and more) for the first time this season.
Whitecaps are simply a different team at home
After a very impressive opening week, we were as guilty as anyone of buying into the Vancouver Whitecaps-hype machine. Following a breakout win over the defending Supporters' Shield winners, the Whitecaps followed up with a couple far-less-impressive road ties to teams that will probably struggle just to contend to make the playoffs.
Perhaps it's telling that those two performances - in which the Whitecaps scored just one total goal and were probably lucky to get out with two points - came on the road.
Upon their return to BC Place, the Whitecaps again looked like a breakout club during their 2-1 win over the formerly undefeated Houston Dynamo.
The Whitecaps were passing the ball all over the field, attacking from all directions and generating chances with remarkable ease.
And it wasn't like the Dynamo played poorly, either. Although they suffered their first loss, in some ways they looked and played as well as they had all year.
Maybe we're looking for trends where there are none, but a simple explanation seems to be that the Whitecaps are simply more comfortable playing on their unique - at least to MLS - turf. The ball simply moves faster and differently on the Polytan surface than it does on anything else. The Whitecaps have always been a better team at home - duh - but maybe now they have the talent to really exploit that without falling apart on the road.
By Jeremiah Oshan
The Revs won!
The Revolution entered the weekend winless, but they weren't as bad as their record suggested. Or maybe they were, but there was hope!
After a disastrous opener, New England had been getting better and a week ago, they should have come away with a win. They didn't, as their dominant play through the midfield went for naught, but it was a step forward, and against San Jose on Saturday, they made the final jump.
It wasn't easy for the Revs, who waited until stoppage time to score the winner, a great goal by Lee Nguyen on the counterattack, but it worked. They had their win, they got it away, and they out-Goonied the Goonies. Maybe best of all for the Revs, they didn't play their best -- they still have room to improve.