The 2020 MLS season has been somewhat of a nightmare for Atlanta United. While the Five Stripes sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, they continue to make things difficult for themselves. Midweek, they traveled to Florida to face Inter Miami CF in a big conference matchup. Inter Miami, through two goals from Lewis Morgan, dispatched Atlanta United, 2-1, giving the expansion side its second win of the season. If things couldn’t get any worse, Atlanta United was pounded by another expansion side. Nashville SC made Atlanta United’s night a living hell with a goal in the first minute. After Jeff Larentowicz tied it up in the 17th minute, Nashville added two more before the half and another one in the second half. The victory helped Nashville leapfrog the Five Stripes and into a playoff spot.
The two top teams in each conference had mixed results over the weekend. Columbus Crew SC needed an incredible second-half comeback to rescue a point against the struggling Chicago Fire. After conceding two goals in the first 14 minutes, former FC Cincinnati midfielder Fatai Alashe notched his first goal for the Crew. Gyasi Zardes tied the game up with a goal in the 88th minute, giving the Crew a massive point, keeping them atop the Eastern Conference. Out west, Johnny Russell powered Sporting Kansas City into first place with a goal in the 80th minute, giving Sporting a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United. With first place in the conference on the line, Sporting Kansas City came out and dominated Minnesota, not allowing the Loons into the match.
The Western Conference is incredibly tight as seven points separate first and 10th. Unlike out east, every week in the Western Conference sees teams beat up on each other. That was the case again this week as Real Salt Lake pounded Los Angeles FC 3-0 midweek before LAFC rebounded with a 4-2 win over the Portland Timbers over the weekend. After the Seattle Sounders throttled the San Jose Quakes 7-1 midweek, the Quakes came back with a 0-0 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Colorado Rapids claimed the Rocky Mountain Cup, their first since 2015, with a convincing 5-0 win over Real Salt Lake on the weekend. As the season moves on, each match gains more and more importance.
North of the border, the Montreal Impact had mixed results, falling 2-1 to Toronto FC midweek before rebounding with a big 4-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. With the win, Toronto FC stayed just three points off of first place Columbus Crew. The Impact continued to stay close in the standings, just five points back of Toronto FC. The Whitecaps continue to struggle and currently sit at the bottom of the West.
In transfer news, 22-year-old United States men’s national team defender Reggie Cannon is leaving FC Dallas and heading to Portuguese side Boavista FC. The reported transfer fee is around $3 million, sending another young American player to compete in Europe. FC Dallas was not done as it also transferred forward Zdenek Ondrasek to FC Viktoria Plzen in the Czech First League. The details of the deal were not disclosed, but the move sends Ondrasek back home to the Czech Republic. Nashville SC bolstered its attack after acquiring Venezuelan froward Jhonder Cadiz from Benfica on loan. The move also includes the option to buy, giving Nashville SC its third designated player. The biggest move of the year is still in process as some numbers have been released regarding the Frederico Higuain move to Inter Miami. Reports in Italy are saying the deal is around $8 million, making him the highest-paid player in the league.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
Upcoming schedule (Subject to Change)
FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids – 8:30 p.m.
San Jose Quakes vs. Portland Timbers – 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact – 9:30 p.m.
Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles FC – 10 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas – 3:30 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. New York City FC – 4:30 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Inter Miami – 7 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. FC Cincinnati – 7:30 p.m.
Columbus Crew vs. Nashville SC – 7:30 p.m.
DC United vs. Toronto FC – 7:30 p.m.
Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire – 7:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United – 8 p.m.
Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 9:30 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m.
San Jose Quakes vs. Portland Timbers – 10:30 p.m.
Montreal Impact vs. Philadelphia Union – 7 p.m.
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we take a look at the upcoming matches for FC Cincinnati as it heads to New York to face the New York Red Bulls in a big weekend matchup.