Hello everyone and welcome to the latest installment of Hot or Not! Pulso Sports looks back over the last week regular season matches throughout MLS and decides which clubs are good, bad and perhaps ugly. Without further ado, buckle up and hold on tight for another edition of Hot or Not. We are into the heart of summer!
The Rave Green returned from international break without Nicolas Lodeiro and Stefan Frei, picking up where they left off. Since league play resumed on June 19, the Sounders have played 3 games in the span of a week winning 2 of 3 claiming 7 of 9 points possible. Sure, the 2-2 draw against the lowly Vancouver Whitecaps at Lumen Field Saturday June 26 never should have happened and the Sounders should have put the match well out of the Whitecaps reach. Remember Seattle was in the midst of a record heatwave that weekend and the Sounders themselves had a home match on Wednesday June 23 to Real Salt Lake. Raul Ruidiaz being left off the Peruvian national team certainly helped the Sounders cause too. The Peruvian netted his 50th goal as Sounder in the 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake and what better way to score his 50th goal but score in front of the Emerald City Supporters Section with a Panenka Chip from the penalty spot. Cheeky.
After years plagued full of mediocrity, Orlando is playing like the animals on their crest. The return of American striker Daryl Dike from his loan with Barnsley in the English Championship (2nd Division) certainly ignited and encouraged team morale. On Tuesday June 22, the team’s enthusiasm was on full display for fans in attendance at Exploria Stadium who watched Orlando pummel the San Jose Earthquakes into submission 5-0. While the New England Revolution hold first place in the East, most of the usual cast of clubs that hold down the top positions of the conference haven’t. Orlando is making that be known to clubs such as Atlanta and Toronto. Orlando doesn’t only want to be best in the East but after years of being the joke they are the big bad bully kicking sand on everyone.
Like the Sounders, the Loons had three matches in one week when league play resumed although their situation was worse having been winless in their first 5 matches. The Loons defeated newcomers Austin FC 2-0 Wednesday June 23 before going to Providence Park in Portland, Oregon for the June 26 match robbing the Timbers of three points with a lone goal scored by Adrien Hunou scored in the second minute! The lone goal threw out the Timbers game plans and they never recovered from conceding the early goal. For the first time in 2021, Minnesota has won back to back matches enough to slingshot them into fifth place of the Western Conference.
Oh boy! This is going to hurt for any TFC fans reading this. Turns out Greg Vanney’s departure was so bad that now Toronto FC’s contenting window is being shut and the club is reverting back to the mediocrity that doomed the club. The team hasn’t won a game since May 12 and the international break didn’t do the team any favors whatsoever. They have only one win all season so far and sit second to dead last above the Chicago Fire. The club’s management wants nothing to do with Jozy Altidore (known for being vocally critical off the front office) and want to drop him off the roster at the soonest possible chance they can. If resuming league play losing to Orlando 3-2 June 19th and Nashville midweek by the same score line was bad enough, well it was about to get worse. Much worse. TFC capped off last weekend off losing to FC Cincinnati 2-0. Yes, losing to FC Cincinnati! When you lose to a club like FC Cincinnati, it exposes how many problems are plaguing your club. It sure exposed everything wrong with Toronto FC in the Chris Armas era. Failure to beat DC United in their upcoming July 3rd match brings Toronto past the point of no return.
I had no incentive nor reason to put FC Dallas in the “Not category” but now I’ve got it. This team is neither good nor bad yet they manage to make the second to last or last spot to go to the playoffs only to be eliminated in either the round one match or the western conference semi final match. Yes, this is the team that emphasizes “youth movement” developing players through their academy system before being signed to the first team. Sure, they won their weekends match over the first place New England Revolution 2-1 but I’m not infatuated and never will be about this team. They have had a plethora of talent come through academy system to the first team only to be sold out to clubs in Europe with FC Dallas management unable to see what could have been in building a juggernaut of their own. Normally they would be hovering right above or right below the red line.