With the World Cup in Qatar kicking off in just a few month months, we’ll take our weekly look at how MLS-based players with a chance to make the trip are performing.
We’re primarily focusing on MLS-based players who have featured regularly, or at least occasionally for Gregg Berhater during World Cup qualification. As the season winds on, we’ll surely be adding new names to this list, and see a few fall out, particularly when the upcoming summer European transfer window opens in a few weeks.
As always, if there is some up and coming hotshot superstar on your local team who might be a late and realistic entry to the pool of players fighting for those coveted 23 plane tickets for Qatar, leave us a note in the comments or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting with one of the possible next great hopes to the USMNT’s endless quest to find a productive #9, 21 year-old Jesus Ferreira scored what would end up being the goal to secure Dallas a point in their 2-2 draw at Sporting KC.
His score for the temporary 2-1 lead in the 42nd minute was a demonstration of skill, receiving a through-ball from Paul Arriola halfway between the midfield line and 18-yard box, and beating a fleet of defenders before looping a shot to the right side.
Apart from the goal Ferreira had one other shot off-target, completed 7 of 12 passes, had two successful dribbles against opposition defenders, and earned his first yellow card of the season.
Paul Arriola served up the assist on Ferreira’s goal, but also played a role in the first score for Dallas, drawing the foul that led to Alan Velasco’s spectacular free kick. He did force an early save by the Sporting keeper, and overall completed 72% of his 18 passing attempts.
Both Miles Robinson and Brooks Lennon started in the defense for Atlanta United in their 2-1 road loss to CF Montreal, with each playing the full game.
The USMNT starter Robinson completed close to 90% of his 72 pass attempts, set up an early chance for Thiago Almada, won thee of his four duels, hit six of ten long balls, and won his only tackle.
Lennon was also active, forcing a save from the Montreal keeper at the end of regulation, setting up two chances, winning seven of eight duels, but only firing two accurate crosses in eight attempts from his position as right-back.
Off-and-on USMNT starting keeper Matt Turner finally returned to action for the New England Revolution after a long injury lay-off, coming back in style to make three saves and earn a 2-0 shut-out victory over Inter Miami.
Sebastian Lletget played 87 minutes for the Revs as a right-sided attacking midfielder, completing 26 of 32 passes, coming close to scoring with a header off the post in the 71st minute, and generally having the upper hand on his opposing defenders.
DeAndre Yedlin went the distance for Miami in the loss, setting up one chance and completing 84% of his 25 passes, but only winning one out of five duels and being beaten twice on the dribble.
Gabriel Slonina had another difficult outing for Chicago Fire, allowing another two goals – bring his tally to five allowed in the last two games – in their 2-1 home loss to the New York Red Bulls.
For the visitors, Aaron Long went the distance in the team’s central defense, winning just under half of his 13 duels, completing three-fourths of his 40 pass attempts, hitting one out of six long balls, but more importantly helping to limit Chicago to only a single goal to keep the Red Bulls in second place in the Eastern Conference.
Gyasi Zardes is still waiting to get on the scoreboard for his new team Colorado Rapids, however did play more of a provider role in their 2-0 win over visiting Portland, setting up three chances for his teammates.
Sean Johnson made three saves on the way to a 3-0 home win by New York City FC over the San Jose Earthquakes, earning his third shut-out of the season. On the opposing side, Jeremy Ebobisse forced one save by Johnson in the 14th minute, but otherwise was limited at center forward.
Nashville SC opened their new soccer-specific stadium with a 1-1 draw against visiting Philadelphia Union. Walker Zimmerman celebrated his new four-year, $10 million contract by playing the full game in the center of his team’s three-man back line, having two headed shots from corners, completing 43 of 56 passes, winning 12 of 16 duels, and generally having the typically strong sort of performance that has made him a current lock starter for the USMNT.
In Los Angeles, Kellyn Acosta also played his usual dominant role in the midfield, helping his team to a 2-0 home win over Minnesota United. He took three shots, one of which forced a save, completed 86% of his 49 pass attempts, had two of three accurate crosses and long-ball attempts, won both of his tackles and five of six duels.
Finally, Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan had the weekend off as Seattle prepares for their crucial home leg in the CONCACAF Champions League final against UNAM Pumas on Wednesday night.