The second week of the 2021 MLS season is in the books! Welcome to Pulso Sports for the second Installment of “Hot or Not. We are not determining results by club’s position in the standings but rather by the on-field result and the potential it could carry over to the following week. We won’t go through every club but rather the match results that stood out in both the good, the bad, and perhaps the ugly. Which clubs are hot or not!
Having lost their inaugural match to LAFC a week ago, new kids on the block Austin FC proved in Commerce City, Colorado against the Rapids that their loss a week earlier was a fluke. Going down a goal to nil in the first half, Austin responded with three goals in eleven minutes in the second half! Diego Fagundez scored not only the equalizer in the 59th minute but had the honors of scoring the first ever goal in Austin FC’s history! Then Cecilio Dominguez capped it off with a brace scoring goals only 4 minutes apart in the 67th and 71st minute. Each goal gave them more confidence as a unit and they very well could have scored a fourth goal. Alright, alright, alright!
Los Angeles Galaxy
For the second straight week the Galaxy go under the hot category. Correction they are scorching hot. This time in front of the home faithful at Dignity Health Sports Park, Chicharito scored a hat trick in another 3-2 victory against the New York Red Bulls! He already has five goals in two matches and is showing no signs of stopping with this renewed energy for the game. Bringing Greg Vanney over from Toronto as Head Coach has proved to be a difference maker. Now the Galaxy aren’t playing awe inspiring futbol but their drive, their hunger, and their tenacity to win matches is what’s made them terrifying.
The Galaxy may very well be in returning to their red-hot form since the days the team was coached under Bruce Arena while the pitch was ruled by Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and David Beckham. Like a volcano, the Galaxy may have been dormant for the last several seasons, but they may be waking up from their sleep, ready to erupt again bringing more devastation across landscape of MLS.
The Higuain brothers supplied the two goals late in the second half in a come from behind win against the 2020 supporters shield champions Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park on Saturday. Now here’s what might be going for Inter Miami this year then last, it’s not the offense but the defense. This offseason, management brought in former Sounders fullbacks Joevin Jones and Kelvin Leerdam in. With those two in the backline and Leandro Gonzales Pirez anchoring the center back pairing could make Inter Miami one of the more difficult defenses for opponents to score goals in this season.
You remember how I wrote last week that Cincinnati’s two goal lead should have been the rallying cry for a new change in their fortune only for themselves to throw way a two goal-lead? Well the soccer gods handed down their punishment to the club for the following weekend during a Saturday afternoon visit to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. It was a cruel punishment alright. NYCFC obliterated FC Cincinnati 5-0. This time Brenner was held off the score sheet and Luciano Acosta was unavailable for selection. I’m sure after that draw in week 1 the players said “We’ve got it next week.” After giving up a draw in the first week and losing in humiliating fashion this last weekend, I’m pretty sure the players of FC Cincinnati as well as their supporters are wishing they had a massive restart button they could use right now.
What is going on with the Loons? First a 4-0 loss to the Sounders at Lumen Field then first week, then a 2-1 loss at home in Allianz Field to Real Salt Lake. In a season of uncertainty for many MLS clubs, the Loon’s had the fortune of not letting go players but actually strengthen the squad. They brought players such as Juan Agudelo, Ramon Abila, and Emanuel Reynoso will have his first full season in MLS this year since arriving midsummer in 2020.
It’s their fifth year of existence in MLS and they are much stronger club when they started off in 2017. 2021 hasn’t gone off to the start they would have liked. Ozzie Alonso has appeared off the bench as a substitute in both their first two matches and hasn’t started a match yet this season. Are his defensive contributions in midfield what the Loons are missing or are there more problems in more areas of the pitch?
The goalkeeping situation is also a difficult matter for Head Coach Adrian Heath to make. Young Dayne St. Clair performed admirably in between the sticks when Tyler Miller opted to undergo season ending hip surgery in August. It only made sense for Heath to give St. Clair a chance to earn the starting job this season. In only two matches St. Clair has on average conceded three goals a match and that’s not a stat any goalkeeper wants to have trying to impress the Head Coach to get more playing time.
Their upcoming match against Austin FC on May 1 will determine their course very early in the season.