Here are the 10 things we learned from week six of the Major League Soccer season.
1. Orlando can be as good as they want to be
The Lions made one of the longest road-trips in MLS to play the newly confident Portland Timbers, and dismantled them in a convincing 2-0 win.
Very few teams make the Timbers look pedestrian at Providence Park. Orlando did it with panache. They have the cohesion and interchange in midfield of a team that has been together for five years, not five months. It starts with Kaka, but when Aurelien Collin is on, Orlando has one of the league’s better defenses as well.
The only problem to this point had been finishing up top, and Cyle Larin could be the answer. The #1 overall pick was dangerous, if not potent, all day against the Timbers, and scored the game-winning goal.
Orlando was due a breakout win. Their performances have been worth it even in the losses to DC and Vancouver. Their early-season form has been a clinic for expansion teams. Adrian Heath said they’d play good soccer, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. They could threaten for the Eastern Conference crown this season.
2. Can’t predict MLS, part 1: Colorado
The Rapids went to FC Dallas, the best team in the league in March, and thumped them 4-0. It was Colorado’s first goals and win of a season that was entirely hopeless, but now has glimmers of light.
Certainly, if Colorado plays without the lethargy of their first handful of games and with the energy they showed against a totally flat Dallas team, they’ll be a tough out in plenty of games. This still isn’t anywhere near a playoff team, but they have plenty more potential than they’d lead you to believe.
Pablo Mastroeni simply has to get the best, each and every week, out of the young players that made a playoff run under Oscar Pareja in 2013. That, or he loses his job no matter how exquisitely mustachioed he is. With veterans like Marcelo Sarvas and Kevin Doyle jelling as a core around them eventually, the Rapids’ situation isn’t hopeless.
3. Can’t predict MLS, part 2: Philadelphia
The Union were in full crisis mode last weekend after conceding twice in stoppage time to lose at Sporting Kansas City, and to his credit, Jim Curtin responded.
Curtin, whose stoicism and response in the face of adversity last year won him this job full-time, dropped fumbling goalkeeper Rais M’Bholi, not just from the team, but from the entire organization. He’s back in France.