Here are the 10 things we learned from week eight of the MLS season.
1. Univision’s MLS English-language broadcasts are a disaster
With MLS’ new TV deal, Univision was pushed into the spotlight with an exclusive Friday night game each week. It hasn’t been pretty.
Univision had a double-header on Friday night, and to be brutally honest, watching MLS on the network is a severely trying experience.
The announcing is inane and atrocious. From day one, there have been major problems getting the SAP function to work to get the broadcast in English, and if you do get the broadcast in English, you have to listen to Raúl Guzmán call the game as if it was a WWE match.
It’s often difficult to find the game because Univision occasionally switches which network they’re broadcasting on like they did on Friday, and depending on your cable provider, you’re not getting Univision in HD even if you have an HD package.
Production quality has been lackluster at best, and the network has had few if any real classic games to speak of yet this year. MLS’ new TV deal has been a major upgrade on ESPN2 and FS1, but watching on Univision has mostly been a disaster so far this year.
2. Seattle Has Portland’s number
The first Sounders and Timbers clash of the year on Sunday night was very evenly played. Cautious, tight, and understandably lacking the fervor of previous derbies because of how early in the season it was being played.
Everything about this game had draw written all over it. Seattle hasn’t quite figured out their attack outside of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, and they were more than content to sit Gonzalo Pineda and Osvaldo Alonso in to track Darlington Nagbe.
Portland, meanwhile, leaned on their terrific defense, played two defensive midfielders, and stroked the ball around with zero intent for the majority of the evening. Still without three starters on offense – including Diego Valeri – it’s hard for them to do much else.
But Seattle scrambled a winner home through Clint Dempsey, while the Timbers couldn’t manufacture a late equalizer. It was a scene we’ve seen time and time before – Portland is zero for six in the regular season in Seattle, Dempsey has scored six goals against the Timbers in his last four games, and the Sounders have won four straight in all competitions against the arch enemy.