Local Weekend Recap
FC Cincinnati survived their trip to Chicago, and while there may be some questions of where this performance came from, I think it’s worth remembering that it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend. And really, who amongst us hasn’t struggled to bounce back with vigor after getting in touch with their Irish roots?
So we’ll chalk it up to the consequences of a green beer weekend, and check out what other incidents occurred around the league.
At Bat: Mar. 25 – Nashville SC: 7 pt, 4th in the East
Despite the city of Nashville’s reputation of being a party town, the party fever did not make it to the Nashville squad. The fever they caught instead, was a gift from the flu; with some Nashville stars like Walker Zimmermann only practicing for a single day.
As a result the usually chipper low block into a counter that Nashville plays was replaced with a dour and sickly low block into a counter that allowed for the New England Revolution to get a 1-0 win.
They will likely return to their usual chipper low block, but with some members of both squads missing due to call-ups to their national teams, it may encourage each coach to approach the game with a more open mindset.
On Deck: April 1 – Inter Miami: 6 pts, 7th in the East
Miami’s heart and soul of the midfield Gregore was diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury this past week after being carried off against New York City. Meaning Phil Neville’s side will try to survive without their best ball winner, and try to discover a new path towards victory.
However, they will need to go back to the drawing board because their 2-0 defeat to Toronto, left much to be desired. They struggled to create many chances and seemed to be noticeably affected by the frigid temperatures over the weekend. They will go into the upcoming weekend hoping a late collapse by the Chicago Fire will give them an opportunity to figure some things out.
In the Hole: April 8 – Philadelphia Union: 6 pts, 6th in the East
Philadelphia likely went into the weekend thinking this will be a good chance to pick some points. They had some rotation for a 4-0 thumping of Concacaf Champions League opponent Allianza in the midweek. However, Montreal and the referee decided that wouldn’t be the case.
Leading 2-1 late in the second half the Union’s Julian Carranza got a red card for a poor tackle, and they opened the door for a Montreal comeback win. They scored both goals after the 90th minute and the Impact claimed their first win of the 2023 season.
When asked about the game afterward, Philadelphia manager Jim Curtain described the game as:
Union head coach Jim Curtin is live post-game.
“The word shit show comes to mind.” pic.twitter.com/NjMShAhvzb
— Philadelphia Soccer Now (@BrotherlyGame) March 19, 2023
Checking in on the West
Portland Timbers were on the receiving end of the Goal of the Season, after Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada decided to put the ball where only postage stamps go. If that had been the only goal, the Timbers may have been able to walk out with their head held up high, but a squad that has been quite diminished due to injuries was thumped 4-1.
They still sit a point outside of the playoff spot but have to be looking over their shoulder as their Western Conference foes start warming up. Houston got their first win of the season thanks to a late Hector Herrera goal, Minnesota United took down the Colorado Rapids who seem to have lost stalwart Jack Price to a non-contact injury, and Sporting Kansas City scored their first goal of the year, but gave up two late ones to lose to FC Dallas.
The most anticipated game of the weekend was LAFC and the Seattle Sounders battling to a scoreless draw, but they fall further behind conference leaders St. Louis who have yet to taste defeat.
Things that Made us go oooOOOOooo!!!! (best highlight of the week)
March Madness is alive and well, but the spirit of busting brackets (Thanks Arizona…) got a kick start as Haitian club Violette AC advanced to the second round.
Any team from Haiti will always have an uphill battle, as the island has been ecologically and economically devastated across history. So bad is the situation in Haiti that when the team was gearing up for Concacaf Champions League, they had to move their home game to a stadium in the Dominican Republic (beneath a stunning tree), and haven’t been able to play a competitive game since May of 2022.
Despite that, they were able to dispatch their MLS opponent 3-0 in the first leg with two counter-attacking goals. Then a final goal comes courtesy of an all-time absurd own goal. They then traveled into the heart of Texas looking to hold out for a second victory but had come up with a makeshift squad after struggling to acquire traveling visas into the US. This forced several of their players to not make the trip. As a result, they lost 2-0, but it was just enough to win the two game affair on aggregate 3-2 and book their ticket to a second round matchup.
While Fairleigh Dickenson is going to get all of the major Cinderella storylines, no team has accomplished such an improbable upset as Violette did this past week.