MLS Week 11: What We Learned

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By RYAN BRISTER

searchMore than 40 goals were scored across 12 games from Wednesday through Sunday in Major League Soccer’s Week 11. Justin Meram of the Columbus Crew led the way with a hat trick against Montreal. Here’s what we learned.

Toronto Is the Team to Beat

Toronto (7-1-4, 25 points) has made it clear that it is currently the class of the Eastern Conference. With two more wins this week, TFC extended its winning streak to six games. That’s the longest in franchise history, and the longest in MLS this year. It was not easy. On Wednesday, TFC needed two late goals from Tosaint Ricketts for a comeback win at Columbus. Toronto returned home Saturday and came away with a 3-2 win over Minnesota United (3-6-2, 11).

There is, however, cause for concern. Sebastian Giovinco had to leave Saturday’s match in the first half with an injury. He had missed the previous two games and is probably question for Friday night’s match at the Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls Are Reeling

From one of the league’s hottest teams to one of its coldest: the New York Red Bulls (5-6-1, 16) have lost three in a row, with only a single stoppage-time goal to show for it. The 3-1 loss on Sunday to Los Angeles (3-5-2, 11) was New York’s first at home in more than a calendar year. Romain Alessandrini scored twice in the opening 10 minutes, and while the Red Bulls dominated possession (67.7%-32.3%), they did not break through the Galaxy defense until the game was out of reach. 

Orlando vs. SKC

The best game of the weekend ended in a 2-2 draw between Orlando (6-3-1, 19) and Kansas City (5-2-4, 19). Cyle Larin and Kaká scored the goals for the hosts. Sporting was without Dom Dwyer, but got a pair of goals from Letif Blessing. SKC is the first visiting team to manage a point at Orlando City Stadium, where the Lions had been perfect.

Chicago’s Big Night

Chicago (4-3-3, 15) smashed Seattle (2-4-4, 10) in front of a rare sellout at Toyota Park. The Fire were doubly fortunate to score the game’s opening goal. First, they received a soft penalty, then were afforded a second chance after David Accam’s attempt was save. Nemanja Nikolic scored the do-over. But there can be no downplaying their second-half performance, in which they burned the Sounders for three goals. Nikolic added an assist and a goal from open play.

DC and RSL Are Struggling

Seattle was not the only team to be blown out over the weekend. Four different players scored for New England (3-4-4, 13) as it trounced Salt Lake, 4-0. RSL (2-7-2, 8) has now lost four games in a row by a combined score of 12-1. At RFK Stadium, Philadelphia’s (2-4-4, 10) win over DC (3-5-2, 11) grew lopsided after Luciano Acosta was sent off. Haris Medunjanin, Oguchi Onyewu, and Fafa Picault all scored their first goals in MLS in a 4-0 win.