With the MLS season in the thick of the summer action and the next round of USMNT games still several months away, we’ll take a look at how our domestically-based nats are doing in league play.
The summer transfer window for all major European leagues has opened, so the biannual exodus players to European leagues has officially begun. While hardly a surprise since the transfer was agreed upon months ago, Matt Turner falls off this list after he recently flew across the Atlantic to warm the Arsenal bench.
More players mentioned below will possibly follow Turner to England or Europe between now and the end of August when the summer transfer madness ends, although there are also a few names that are heavily rumored to be headed the other way, and could become regulars in this feature in the coming weeks.
Astute readers might also notice a few names below who weren’t in the most recent (or in some cases, any recent) rosters from Gregg Berhalter. However, since these are in most cases players who are performing well in a position of need, surrounded by clouds of uncertainty, it’s worth keeping tabs.
As always, if you have any tips for excluded players who are making a strong case to earn a spot in the narrowing window of chances before November, leave a note in the comments or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll give them a nod.
Without further ado (and definitely without any Adu), let’s get to it.
The Los Angeles Derby saw Kellyn Acosta as the only active USMNT representative on either side of the ball. The midfielder delivered the corner for LAFC’s opening goal by José Cifuentes in the 17th minute, and generally had a strong game on the left side of the three-man midfield, to keep the Galaxy constantly playing catch-up despite holding the edge on the run of play.
LAFC are already top of the Western Conference, and will likely get a further boost when ageing superstars Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini join the active roster in a matter of days.
In what would have been a battle of two hopeful USMNT keepers earlier in the season, Sean Johnson earned the win despite allowing a pair of goals in New York City FC’s 4-2 win over New England Revolution.
Johnson perhaps gave Sebastian Lletget’s run to the endline a bit too much attention for his own good on New England’s opener by Gustavo Bou, then was simply caught off-guard, along with the rest of NYCFC’s defense, for Bou’s second goal late in the game.
Still, his five saves, along with a strong outing by the NYCFC attack was enough for the victory.
Seattle Sounders were dismantled by a 3-0 margin at home in their Cascadia Cup rivalry against Portland Timbers. USMNT players Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan had two of the better performances amongst the Sounders players in the loss.
Roldan was the better of the two USMNT players from his position on the right wing, forcing one save amongst his three shots, creating a pair of chances for teammates, hitting four of five long-ball attempts, and generally completing 80% of his 46 attempts.
Morris was less effective and saw less action on the left, having his only shot blocked, managing only 30 total touches over 90 minutes, although setting up three ultimately unsuccessful attempts for other Seattle players.
A generally unspectacular run of results for USMNT players stretched to the Southeast US, where Walker Zimmerman and Nashville were thumped by a 4-1 margin at Charlotte FC.
As usual, Zimmerman’s main offensive threat was on corners, where he had one missed shot. On the defensive side of the ball, he neither better nor worse than the rest of the inept Nashville back line. While not the primary defender at fault, he could have been more aggressive in defending Karol Swiderski on Charlotte’s second goal, and was simply outfoxed on the two late scores that sealed the blow-out win for the hosts.
San Jose’s Jeremy Ebobisse stayed in the hunt for the MLS Golden Boot award by scoring the opening goal for San Jose Earthquakes in their 2-2 draw in Toronto. While still on the outside looking in as far as recent USMNT call-ups, his ten goals on the season are keeping him at the fringes of the conversation.
Similarly, FC Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez is also staying on the edge of the radar for Berhalter, and he scored his ninth MLS goal of the season in his team’s 1-1 home draw against the New York Red Bulls.
For NYRB, recent USMNT starter Aaron Long played the full game in the team’s central defense, and was one of the main culprits on the goal from Vazquez, being caught somewhere between lazy defending and committing carelessly to playing the offside trap.
More notably, he did incite Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta to aggressively respond to a late tackle deep into second-half injury-time with a petulant head-butt, earning the Argentinean munchkin a straight red card, and immediately squashing any late momentum that the hosts had in their quest for a late winner.
Inter Miami’s DeAndre Yedlin played the full game at right wing-back in the team’s 1-0 loss to their northern Florida panhandle neighbors Orlando City.
In what was effectively a scoreless draw until Miami’s Damion Lowe gave up a 92nd-minute own-goal, both defenses held their opponents in check. Yedlin had 50 total touches, completed 83% of his 36 passes, won half of his six duels, and only committed two fouls.
Gabriel Slonina is rapidly falling behind Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath in the race to the USMNT’s #3 keeper, and Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to Columbus Crew didn’t help his case.
The 18 year-old was simply done in by poor defending on the Crew’s opener, was a step too late to commit to the attacker making a run into the area on their second, and lost a one-on-one for the third, and eventual winning goal from Columbus.
While the Chicago defense must share most of the blame in all three goals by the guests, Slonina’s inexperience was evident on the final two goals, and is likely to keep him off the roster in November barring a remarkably strong run in the summer and fall months.
Jesus Ferreira kept scoring for Dallas over the weekend, this time putting away a late go-ahead goal in their 2-2 draw against intrastate rivals Houston Dynamo.
Ferreira needed until the 93rd minute to score, by which point he had already picked up his third yellow of the season. He took four shots in total, forcing a pair of saves to go along with his score. While having a rough time to see the ball, with only 36 touches in over 100 minutes of play including injury time, his 11th goal of the season was enough to continue his remarkable breakout season.
Paul Arriola also played the full game on the right wing, creating three chances, hitting 15 of 21 pass attempts and winning two of his five duels.
On the injured list are Atlanta’s Miles Robinson, who is out for the season with an Achilles rupture and certain to miss the World Cup, Montreal’s Djordje Mihailovic, who is still recovering from an ankle injury that forced him to withdraw from Berhalter’s most recent roster