Discover more from Score Secondary
MLS Watch Grid for 4/1/2023
Eight Games at Once! An Artisan's Evening! Kevin Cabral!
I both forgot and didn’t want to put together an April Fools gag for this entry. You’ll have to either accept that there is no April Fools gag in this entry, or take the outright lie I present in the following sentence as an April Fool from me. Here it is: I am personal friends with both of the musicians who make up the pop group Tears for Fears.
That was a falsehood. I don’t know either of the men in the pop group Tears for Fears. I don’t even know either of their names, and I’m not fucking looking it up. If you believed that, then you are the true Fool of April. On to the matches!
Window 1 (6:30pm)
Season Pass Window Winner: MLS 360
We have eight matches to choose from in the first window, which is the most of any single window so far this season. There are a number of good choices here: Orlando and Nashville should be goalsy. Miami only scores Goal of the Week candidates and Cincinnati’s simply a very complete team that tries and succeeds in defending, so you get an interesting mix of styles. Atlanta’s Miles Robinson and Thiago Almada made great cases for Best XI spots in absentia last week, and they’ll be back home against a Red Bull team that seems to be doing that thing where you run in circles laying down on the floor. The Revs and NYCFC have been powerfully enigmatic so far and I don’t think we’ll get answers about who they are this weekend. Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC (who will lose their second ‘o’ when they win a game) have to lick their wounds on the road against teams that appear to be far better than them. Seattle and the Galaxy are also playing in this window for some reason. I would probably not watch Toronto and Charlotte.
I was initially going to say that I’m hamstrung to my established format and have to call one game a Window Winner, but I make the rules here, and I think this will be MLS 360’s time to shine! If you’re on the Season Pass, then I’d recommend watching that and cleaning your living room or something during the commercial breaks. Plus, apparently Jesse Marsch will be on!
Free Window Winner: NYCFC at New England Revolution
If you’re on the free plan, then I’m starting to talk myself into Revs/NYCFC. They’re not rivals as decreed by whomever in the upper echelons of Heineken decides that, but the last match between the two of them at Gillette featured an Andrew Farrell red card and three conceded penalties, and the one before that was the infamous 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinal upset. There’s still bitterness between the two, and it might show itself on the artificial turf in Foxborough on Saturday.
Window 2 (7:30pm)
Free Window Winner By Default: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas
This is a hard sell. Portland has been purely uninspiring so far this season and Dallas hasn’t looked fully up to their potential in attack quite yet despite having such good options for it. The most intrigue here comes off the field: Portland’s Aljaz Ivacic’s spat with his coach over a lack of playing time and all of the unfortunate trials which seem to be revolving around Dallas’ Sebastian Lletget at the moment… However, both of those bits of intrigue seem to manifest in neither of those players being on the field, leaving us, at the end of the day, with FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers.
Free viewers, I would probably just stick with whatever’s still going on in the first window and switch over to… oh god, we only get LAFC/Colorado in the third window. Free viewers might just flip over to basketball between 8:30 and 9:30pm
Game of the Week: Minnesota United FC at St. Louis CITY SC
St. Louis is a must-watch team until they lose their first match. They go up against a surprisingly effective still sans-Reynoso Loons team at home this week. The entertainment here will be threefold:
First, there’s the obvious intrigue — Either St. Louis will continue this unbelievable run or hit their first snag. You may see St. Louisans in joyous euphoria unknown to any other expansion team in history and you may see them handle defeat for the first time.
Second, this will be a clash of styles despite a shared spirit. St. Louis will run at you in perfect coordination with every member of the team screaming at the top of their lungs, while Minnesota will sit… wait… and theoretically pounce at some point. This will be perhaps the matchup of the year when it comes to names that you don’t recognize attached to players that seem to be quite good: Fragapane. Lowen. Lod. Vassiliev. Hlongwane. Stroud. Amarilla. You’ll think “Oh, those guys seem to be pretty good! Why don’t I think about them more?” and then you won’t think about them.
This leads into the third point of intrigue: Spitefulness regarding whether or not anybody believed in them at the beginning of the year. Neither team is quite yet reaching for the laminator, but both are outperforming the external expectations placed on them in the preseason. They’re playing with venom and extra motivation. This should be an entertaining match.
I would like to go back and tell me in mid-February that I’m going to tell readers to pick St. Louis against Minnesota over Portland against Dallas in early April. That is completely unexpected. DC United and Chicago Fire should be a fun one, too!
Window 3 (8:30pm)
Window Winner By Default: LAFC enters the RAPIDS ZONE
I can’t see how this is anything but a terrible blowout. I will gladly walk back here with egg on my face next week if it isn’t, but Colorado is spinning their wheels, LAFC has been so good and just signed a kid from a Premier League side (though he won’t yet be available for this match), and it’ll be the only game going for a solid 20 minute period from about 10:20pm and 10:40pm while the 9:30 kickoffs are at half (we call that the RAPIDS ZONE here).
Kevin Cabral was able to score on the road for Colorado last week to take a point on the road in Austin, which surely must mean something. For the love of god that must mean something. If Kevin Cabral scoring a goal, a once per contract event, is meaningless, then what the hell in this whole endeavor could possibly have any meaning?
Window 4 (9:30pm)
Truly, I feel that nobody with the Artisan heart can go wrong this evening, paying or non-paying. We have two pseudo-rivalries dripping in heart and blood and moxie, with a lot of recent late clutch goal scoring. On one hand, there’s Houston and San Jose, a matchup that had the potential to develop into a rivalry had either team been good at the same time, twins separated at… well, maybe they’re brothers separated when one of them was eight, and then the eight year old was gone for a few years and then came back as the other one turned three… That’d be a terrible thing if that was real, I apologize to those fictional brothers. Houston was San Jose at one point, is what I’m trying to get at here. Houston’s not quite to the point where they’ve developed a clearly identifiable tactical identity, but they’re bringing what moxie they can, Hector Herrera has come out and performed well this year, and it’s paid off with two straight wins! San Jose’s played, at their best, some of the most intriguing attacking soccer in MLS this year when they have Jamiro Monteiro, Cristian Espinoza, Cade Cowell, and Jeremy Ebobisse working in tandem together and if they score enough goals at home, you’ll see more and more guys take their shirts off in their Ultras stand.
From what I can tell, Vancouver and Montreal both really dislike Toronto, and have sort of a begrudging acknowledgement that they are in the same country (well, not all of the Montrealers are in agreement there) which could resemble a rivalry. They are both coming off of late match goals in their last matches, Montreal getting a late winner against Philadelphia two weekends ago and Vancouver salvaging a 1-1 draw on the road in Minnesota last weekend. Neither will spend much time looking like a playoff contender and neither will Say Die.
I swear that Sergio Cordova should be perfect for MLS After Dark, but he hasn’t panned out yet. It might be that they play in that indoor stadium so you can’t tell that it’s night time when you’re there, though.
We’ve got it on the Putt-Putt Carpet in BC behind the Season Pass Paywall running into the wee hours.
Who’s Off This Week:
Austin, you’re off this weekend! Put on your ElectricLarryLand LP, Crack open a case of Lonestar Beer, and watch… The obvious thing would be to recommend Slacker, but I’m actually gonna recommend Richard Linklater’s forgotten 2001 classic Tape, which is probably available for viewing somewhere. Everybody else, enjoy the soccer!
ALSO: I’ve dipped my foot back into the rancid waters of Twitter to share this as well over at @JoeBushdotNet , so go check that out if you’d like