There was a ton of great soccer on display during Week 2 in MLS. Also some USMNT players insulted each other, then quickly walked back their insults. Great timing! The United States men’s national team plays a crucial World Cup qualifier in just two weeks.
If USMNT drama isn’t your thing, there was plenty of other intrigue around MLS. Galaxy captain Jelle Van Damme was undeservedly sent off, and Portland’s David Guzman could get suspended for diving to draw his second yellow. NYCFC and Atlanta delivered beatdowns to D.C. United and Minnesota, respectively. Houston and San Jose continued to impress, despite preseason predictions that they’d struggle.
But we have to start with the Bedoya-Altidore spat, don’t we?
Chicago Fire 2-0 Real Salt Lake
New York Red Bulls 1-0 Colorado Rapids
Philadelphia Union 2-2 Toronto FC
Montreal Impact 2-2 Seattle Sounders
Houston Dynamo 3-1 Columbus Crew SC
Sporting Kansas City 0-0 FC Dallas
San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 Vancouver Whitecaps
OK, let’s talk about this USMNT fighting/not fighting
The biggest story in MLS this weekend wasn’t about a result on the field. It was about whether or not Alejandro Bedoya meant to insult his USMNT teammate Jozy Altidore.
Altidore won a penalty for Toronto FC against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, which Bedoya discussed with reporters after the match. This went poorly.
Bedoya on the foul leading to Toronto’s penalty: “Knowing Jozy, he tends to go down easy in the box, so let’s just leave it at that.”
— PantsBurnLegWound (@RohnJossi) March 12, 2017
Altidore was far from impressed with that comment and tweeted his displeasure (the tweet has since been deleted). Bedoya tried to smooth things over by saying that the quote Altidore saw was taken out of context.
It’s a shame quotes get taken out of context. All love man. Congrats on your goal and see you soon bro. https://t.co/jPMM5V0z9M
— Alejandro Bedoya (@AleBedoya17) March 12, 2017
Was it taken out of context? Well … kind of. Bedoya definitely had a smile on his face when he said it. It seems unlikely that he was mad, or 100 percent serious.
— 215pix (@215pix) March 12, 2017
But there are problems with Bedoya trying to walk back his comments. Given Altidore’s reaction, it’s clear that this is not an established inside joke between the two players. “You have a lot to say but never to anyone’s face” is not the kind of comment you make about someone you have a strong joking rapport with.
Second, shouldn’t Bedoya know better than to make comments like this? He’s 29 years old, eight seasons into his professional career. He’s been dealing with reporters for a while now. Rookies know how to give smart answers to reporters’ questions that don’t get themselves into trouble, but Bedoya couldn’t envision his comments blowing up the way they did?
If you’re thinking about calling a player a diver as a joke, and they’re not in the room, either explicitly say it’s a joke or don’t say it at all. This blowing up isn’t the media’s fault, it’s Bedoya’s.
NYCFC has some bite, and Maxi Moralez is just fine
To replace Frank Lampard in the offseason, New York City FC has added 5’3” Argentine playmaker Maxi Moralez as a Designated Player. He got bullied a little bit in NYCFC’s opener against Orlando City, but as he has in other leagues, Moralez appears to have adjusted to physical play just fine. He was arguably the best player on the pitch for the Blues against D.C. United, and this assist was his best play.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 12, 2017
Moralez also had a very nice hockey assist on David Villa’s first goal and got on the scoreboard himself.
Anyone concerned about NYCFC’s attack after they were shut out in Orlando can probably relax now. And if you want to watch all the highlights from their demolition of the Black and Red, they come highly recommended.
SNOW SOCCER!!! (Also Minnesota United is bad)
Y’all, Minnesota vs. Atlanta was so great. The Loons had to play their home opener on what was essentially a hockey rink, and it made for some wild play. Plus, there was this guy with a leaf blower.
— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) March 12, 2017
Unfortunately, the home fans did not leave happy. Atlanta hung six goals on the Loons, with Josef Martinez scoring a hat trick and Miguel Almiron dominating the match. Minnesota also lost goalkeeper John Alvbåge to a potentially serious leg injury.
We might get a diving suspension
LA Galaxy captain Jelle Van Damme was sent off in the first half of his team’s match against the Portland Timbers under dubious circumstances. He didn’t make contact with Portland’s David Guzman on the offense he received his second booking for, and that could be bad for Guzman. If the league’s disciplinary committee determines that Guzman took a dive, he could be suspended because it caused Van Damme to be sent off, which had a “material impact in the match.”
Wondering about what the DC’s guidelines are for dives? Here you go: pic.twitter.com/wZsZuVHmaR
— Stumptown Footy (@StumptownFooty) March 13, 2017
Portland will make the case that, while Guzman went down, he was not faking contact for the purpose of manipulating the official. I don’t know why I’m embedding this tweet by Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, since he’s a notorious tweet deleter, but here’s what he thinks.
MLS Live power rankings
This is not a ranking that has anything to do with how good a team is at soccer, which should be very clear based on who sits at No. 2. It’s simply about how likely you are to be entertained if you choose to watch their game on MLS Live.
- Atlanta United
- Minnesota United
- Portland Timbers
- Seattle Sounders
- FC Dallas
- Houston Dynamo
- New York City FC
- Toronto FC
- New York Red Bulls
- LA Galaxy
- Orlando City
- Vancouver Whitecaps
- San Jose Earthquakes
- Montreal Impact
- Chicago Fire
- Sporting Kansas City
- Colorado Rapids
- Real Salt Lake
- Columbus Crew SC
- Philadelphia Union
- New England Revolution
- D.C. United
The Quakes and Montreal make big jumps after very good performances in Week 2. Minnesota, despite getting dump trucked, also moves up. They play zero defense, and therefore their games will always be worth watching, if only for the other team. We remain very skeptical about the Houston Dynamo, but the entertainment value they provided over the first two games cannot be denied. Check them out if you haven’t gotten a chance yet.
RSL and Columbus might be crap, both to watch and at getting results. Orlando and New England are unchanged because their game was postponed.
Here is a list of way-too-early takes that are not worthy of an entire column. You should argue with me about them.
- Tim Howard earned the USMNT No. 1 shirt with his performance against the Red Bulls.
- The Chicago Fire will be as good as they are healthy. Their starting XI rules, but their depth is bad.
- I’m still unalarmed by Toronto and Seattle’s starts. Both were slightly better in Week 2 than they were in Week 1. I still think they’re the best two teams in the league.
- Sporting KC’s forwards just don’t have it. It’s not going to come together consistently.
- The Houston Dynamo, while cool, are not for real.
- The San Jose Earthquakes, while not sexy, are for real.
- Mike Petke will be RSL’s manager by July.
- Miguel Almiron will finish top three in MVP voting.
Here is a photo I love from this week’s games
Have a great week!