Here are the ten things we learned from Week 19 of the 2017 MLS season.
1. The Fourth of July Massacre
There were plenty of entertaining and important games in MLS’ midweek, fourth of July-centered Week 19 slate. But for pure shock value, nothing we saw over the last two days compared to what happened on Tuesday night at the StubHub Center.
Real Salt Lake – the league’s worst club – dumped six goals past Clemont Diop and beat the LA Galaxy 6-2 in Carson. It was as jaw-dropping a result as we’ve seen in the recent history of MLS.
Consider: RSL entered this game having been outscored 18-6 in their last six games. They woke up Tuesday morning on pace to finish the season with the worst goal differential in MLS history.
LA, meanwhile, had only been defeated in its annual July 4th home game twice in the last fifteen years. The Galaxy had only lost four times at home in the last three seasons.
But they didn’t show up on Tuesday night. And while a certain amount of disorganization would have been understandable, given that the Galaxy are still missing the majority of their starting lineup, the abject indifference that LA played with – in front of a sellout crowd, no less – was stunning.
Especially troubling was that many of the players who simply stopped in the second half were young players who have played for Curt Onalfo for years and should be doing everything in their power to stick with the first team.
There was clearly a void in leadership on Tuesday night. Jelle Van Damme’s absence had something to do with that, but it doesn’t bode well for Onalfo.
In the bigger picture, this isn’t a good time for the Galaxy to be fielding their worst team since 2008 and sending big crowds home with bad impressions. LAFC, now being linked to international stars and finishing its stadium in the heart of the city, debuts in just eight months.
The pressure is on.
2. Sebastian Blanco Settling In
Sebastian Blanco has been plenty good all season for the Portland Timbers, but – considering what the club paid for him and what it is paying him now – his production through the first half of the year had been somewhat disappointing.
But that could be changing. Blanco scored his first goal at Providence Park on Wednesday night in the Timbers’ hugely entertaining 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire, capping a fantastic all-around display.