5 thoughts from MLS gameweek 3

vancouver-whitecaps

Major League Soccer’s week 3 was another that showed anything can happen in the league. Here are 5 things we learned from Major League Soccer’s week 3.

Penalty!

After three weeks of MLS fixtures, the league has seen 12 penalties given by referees. Of the 12 penalties awarded this season, all but two have been converted. Four penalties have been given each week, which either shows an eagerness by referees to whistle for a spot kick; or poor, overly eager defenders. In Seattle Sounders’ 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, Mark Geiger awarded two penalties to the Canadians. The first was due to Joevin Jones tripping Vancouver winger Christian Bolanos in the 18-yard box. While the first incident was a penalty, thanks to Jones’ clumsiness, the second wasn’t so clear cut – unless you are a Whitecaps’ supporter. Chad Marshall, while lumbering, fairly beat Blas Perez to a 50/50 ball. Contact was made, but after the ball was away and itt was both players’ momentum that caused Perez to fall over Marshall. Geiger’s immediate penalty call changed the game, and kept the Sounders pointless in 2016.

Sporting KC off to 100% start

Peter Vermes has built something special in Kansas City, and it has shown over the last few years as Sporting KC won the 2013 MLS Cup and a pair of US Open Cups in 2012 and 2015. This season, Vermes has Sporting off to the best start in the league. The team has conceded a mere one goal, keeping two clean sheets. The attack may not be scoring at will, but Sporting have found timely goals when needed. After a week off, Sporting will host their arch-rivals Real Salt Lake, which will test Sporting’s credentials as the best team in MLS.

Seattle Sounders need a change

At the end of the 2015 season, there were rumblings of Sigi Schmid’s possible exit from Seattle Sounders. In charge since the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2009, Schmid has taken the Sounders to four US Open Cup triumphs. Yet, the team have failed to replicate that in the MLS Playoffs. This season he and the team have got off to a terrible start with the Sounders losing their three opening matches. Most significantly, Seattle sold striker Obafemi Martins in January to Chinese Super League side Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. Martins had scored 40 goals and tallied 23 assists in 72 matches. The club failed to address the striker’s exit and thus far have paid for the sale in 2016. The hype around rookie Jordan Morris has been just that, and designated player Clint Dempsey has made little impact for the team in their opening three fixtures. It’s too early in the season to change coaches with the parity that runs through the league, but a trade or transfer is needed immediately. MLS roster rules in 2016 allow for trades or transfers until May 11th. The club need to shake things up.

Strike power

Seven players currently sit atop the MLS goal scoring chart on three apiece according to WhoScored.com. Two names immediately jump out: Chris Wondolowski and Will Bruin. Wondolowski is off to a great start with San Jose Earthquakes as the striker has tallied three of San Jose’s four goals in 2016. The 33-year-old has notched 11 or more goals in each of the last six seasons, and barring injury, this season should be no different. However, having 75% of the team’s scoring shows just how dependent the ‘Quakes are on Wondolowski this term. While San Jose is reliant on one man, currently, Houston Dynamo have got scoring from different areas. However, Bruin’s three goals have him as the team’s leading scoring in the young season. Bruin has scored in or assisted a goal in each of the Dynamo’s three matches. Since joining the Dynamo in 2011, Bruin has been a consistent player, tallying 49 goals in 150 games. While the Dynamo are still looking for stability under coach Owen Coyle, Bruin has been fantastic as the team’s lone striker, and is benefitting from the likes of Giles Barnes, Andrew Wenger and Cristian Maidana playing behind him.

Odds on favourites

According to UK betting website Bet365, the LA Galaxy are favourites to win the MLS Cup at 4/1 odds. This is far from surprising after the offseason signings the Galaxy had. In addition, the Galaxy’s notoriety is far reaching compared to other MLS sides. Chicago Fire currently have the longest odds at 125/1. Currently, Eastern Conference leaders Montreal Impact are 16/1, a good value for those MLS fans in the UK looking to put down a bet.

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