Here are the 10 things we learned from week five of the 2015 Major League Soccer season:
1. Crisis in Philadelphia
What’s the worse feeling for Philadelphia Union fans right now? That the Union became only the seventh team in MLS history to go into stoppage time winning and finish it losing, or that there’s next to no hope that next weekend and the weekend after will be any better.
Things are about to get bad in Philadelphia, and when things get bad in Philadelphia, they get bad. Much of the blame for the Union’s MLS-worst start isn’t being placed at the feet of manager Jim Curtin.
There’s little he can do with an overmatched and undermanned roster that has failed to make meaningful upgrades and devoted its limited resources to all the wrong places.
Union owner Nick Sakiewicz has lost his entire fan-base. It hasn’t helped him that the controversial signing of Algerian goalkeeper Rais M’Bholi has backfired; then again, it hasn’t helped him that he made a foolish signing. The once-vaunted PPL Park is quickly losing its status as one of MLS’ better atmospheres. Philadelphia have been courting total disaster for some time. Now, it appears they’re getting it.
The next month will be crucial for the fate of the franchise going forward.
2. Sporting KC win, but fail to impress
Sporting Kansas City’s win against Philadelphia was almost an embarrassment in itself, considering that they needed a two-goal stoppage time comeback to get it.
That the goals were scored by fringe-players Jalil Anibaba and Krisztian Nemeth was fitting. It was that kind of night.
The truth is, Kansas City are struggling. This team absolutely fell apart last year when they sold Uri Rosel, and for all their new faces, they haven’t replaced him. On Sunday, the result was a disjointed attack with Benny Feilhaber overcompensating for midfield uncertainty and taking himself out of the game.
Peter Vermes is looking for a major summer addition – someone on the level of a Rafael van der Vaart – but his immediate concern is establishing a style for a team that has been lost since the 2014 World Cup.
3. Joy in Chicago
It was the Fire who got another win in the first match on Saturday, somewhat surprisingly beating Toronto FC 3-2 at home.
If Chicago are going to compete for a playoff spot, it’s going to happen like it happened against TFC, with Shaun Maloney playing a major role, a reliance on terrific team speed, and – don’t forget – some luck.