3. Finally! Goals!
Saturday night – there were only four games thanks to the Impact’s Champions League run and five nationally televised Friday and Sunday games this week – had 17 goals.
Houston and Sporting Kansas City finished 4-4, Columbus put four past the Union, and the Revs pounded four more by a hapless Real Salt Lake. Maybe, finally, this incredibly dull season is sparking to life.
4. The Blas Perez Problem
Blas Perez is one of the best goalscorers in MLS. He’s been incredibly potent in the last three years, and has been terrific – when he’s been on the field – so far this season.
But playing Perez comes with incredible risk. He was given a straight red Friday night against the Rapids. It was Perez’s third red card in the last eighteen games he’s started.
Dallas has a discipline problem. It extends from Perez to the team’s coaching staff and through its young players like Fabian Castillo. It’s going to cost them points this year. It already has as the Hoops dropped two in Commerce City after Perez’s red. Of course, Perez is suspended again, and as Dallas draws the reputation of being hot heads, other teams will look to exploit them more – a la the 2013 Sounders. It’s a storyline to watch going forward.
5. The New York Red Bulls problem
The New Jersey club has a lot going for it right now. The best team in the league in the first part of the season and a playoff lock, an attractive brand of soccer, and probably the best new soccer stadium in the country in Red Bull Arena.
Problem is, watching games at RBA – in person and on TV – very often feel extremely flat. The Red Bulls can’t fill the venue. They can’t come close, even for its biggest regular season games like the one against the LA Galaxy on Sunday, or its first two playoff games last year.
That sucks, because when Red Bull Arena is sold out – think USA v. Turkey last year, or the Supporters’ Shield winning game of 2013 – it rocks like no other venue in MLS. Bigger than Sporting Park, prettier than Providence Park, the Red Bulls against New England Eastern Conference Final leg at RBA last year was one of the best playoff atmospheres in league history.
This is why New York City FC should be the metro area’s premier club as soon as next year. By every metric – Twitter followers, general interest, season tickets, community imprint – they have raced past the Red Bulls.