According to Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer
Editor’s Note: MLS Footnotes takes you to the major conversation points in the league and in American football.
It’s almost like that Seattle Sounders dare us to doubt.
With almost 40% of the 2022 MLS season already played into Sunday’s match between the recently inaugurated CONCACAF kings and expansion club Charlotte FC (9:30 pm ET, FS1/FOX Deportes/FOX Sports app), Seattle sits 23rd overall in a 28-team league and on pace to miss the playoffs for the first time in trophy-filled history.
We’ve seen a slow start from the Sounders before. In 2016, Seattle scored just 20 points from its first 20 games and was in ninth position in the Western Conference before suffering a tear at the end of the season that ended with him lifting his first MLS Cup at the club. A year later, the Sounders started the season with a 2W-5L-3T record but again advanced to the final, where they lost in a rematch against Toronto FC.
the man Brian Schmetzer has been much earlier in over the past few years; they started 2021 with 13 games unbeaten, but were interrupted by Real Salt Lake, on penalties, in the first half of the postseason.
The reason for this year’s struggle in MLS play is obvious. Seattle rightly dominated the CONCACAF Champions League, becoming the first team in MLS history to win the tournament when they defeated the Mexican Pumas in the final two -legs earlier this month. The Sounders have .500 since, including a 1-0 defeat last week in Colorado.
Now comes the best opportunity to get up the table and try to return to the MLS Cup for the fifth time in seven seasons. Seattle’s next five games are at home. Star players Nicolas Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz will get the rest they need when the two -week international break begins after the Charlotte match. After Sunday, the Sounders will be idle until the June 14 makeup date with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“Nurus a game at home is going to be very important,” Seattle quarterback Cristian Roldan told FOX Sports when asked what the club needs to do to maintain the playoff record. “I’m sure in our group we can run and get there.”
Lodeiro (Uruguay) and Ruidíaz (Peru) are not called up by their countries for next month; The only Sounders who will miss the Vancouver game due to national team commitments are Roldan, US teammate Jordan Morris and Roldan’s brother, Alex, who captains El Salvador. The Americans and Salvadorans met on the CONCACAF State League group stage on the same night.
Previously, all focused on earning three points on Sunday.
“Charlotte is a small and very good team,” Roldan said, noting that the new players will lose in the U.S. Open Cup mid -week against the Red Bulls. “It’s going to be a tough game, but he’s traveling around the country after playing in New York on the turf. He might be tired, and we have to bring him in early.
“Hopefully, we have an attitude that is out of the gate.”
1. Djordje relishing USMNT back
Since leaving the Chicago Fire after the 2020 season and moving to CF Montreal, Djordje Mihailovic has become one of the best playmakers in MLS. With seven goals and four assists in more than 1000 minutes this season, he is a potential league MVP. His very hot appearance was also enough to bring him back into the U.S. national team picture for four tuneups before next month’s World Cup.
Mihailovic scored his first goal under US coach Gregg Berhalter in early 2019 but has not been a regular for the past three years. However, with the sport’s quadrennial global championship coming up this fall, the timing couldn’t have been better.
“It’s every youngster’s dream to play in the World Cup and represent their country,” the 23 -year -old told FOX Sports earlier this week. “I’ve worked hard for this opportunity to come back, and now I have to make the most of it [it]. “
2. Make an impact
Montreal were the hottest team in MLS two weeks ago, unbeaten in eight games. He then lost two in a row, in Nashville and at home last weekend against Real Salt Lake. But he returned to the midweek track with a 3-0 Canadian Championship win against Forge FC, and will try to bring that momentum into Saturday’s contest against a Cincinnati FC team that has won four of the past five.
CF Montreal, which changed its name to Montreal Impact before the start of last season which attracted many long -time fans, unveiled a new logo on Friday that better understands the club’s 30 -year history. But the club stopped going back to its previous nomenclature, which was before MLS.
It will be interesting to see if supporters embrace the new / old look. Anyway, the question needs to be asked about what kind of consumer research led to the three unsuccessful rebrandings on MLS over the past three years. The face of Montreal is similar to that of Chicago and Columbus – all driven by the fans.
Maybe the MLS club should listen to his concerns. If it weren’t for the fans in Seattle demanding that the team keep the Sounders name when it jumped to the highest level in American and Canadian professional football in 2009, the club would have been nicknamed Seattle FC. However, Sounders may now be the most powerful and most authentic brand on MLS.
4. June hiatus weaving
With the June FIFA international window set to open, MLS will generally be dark for two weeks after this weekend. Only a handful of teams will act before the league returns with a full schedule in mid-June: Vancouver plays the RSL on June 4, with three more MLS games scheduled over the weekend of June 11-12.
5. Answer the call
It’s quite surprising that Peru didn’t invite Ruidíaz Seattle for the June 13 World Cup playoffs against Australia or the United Arab Emirates, especially after the veteran striker scored twice in a 3-0 win against the Pumas that gave Seattle the CONCACAF title.
However, Mihailovic isn’t the only MLSer to play in the league so far in 2022 to have earned a national team invitation. Raheem Edwards ’impressive form with the LA Galaxy made him remembered by Canada this summer. Same for Galaxy teammate / Mexico right back Julian Araujo, who is still trying to force his way into it El Tri Tata Martino’s boss is the start of the lineup.
Austin FC, Cincinnati and Columbus are the only teams without a call-up. Montreal has the most with six.
6. LAFCThe next DP?
LAFC has led the Shield Supporters race almost all year, and after briefly overtaking Austin two weeks ago, he is now back in the top spot.
While he lost in the middle of the week to rival Galaxy at the U.S. Open Cup, LAFC is in a good position to get better this summer, with the club determined to add another nominated player, possibly a striker.
LAFC actually has two open DP boards, with only star striker Carlos Vela occupying one of three roster boards reserved for players exempt from the MLS salary cap.
7. Ochoa in mend
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa is one of the best stories about last fall’s playoffs. But 2022 has been a year to forget for 21 -year -old Californians. After suffering a quad and finger injury, Ochoa was recently given leave by coach Pablo Mastroeni before returning to action with third -level development affiliate RSL Real Monarchs.
“He’s plagued with all kinds of injuries, and a lot happens in his life and on the field,” RSL coach Pablo Mastroeni said of Ochoa, who is in the final year of his MLS contract and reportedly wants to move. to Europe or the MX League. “I didn’t walk a day in his shoes, so I tried to be empathetic. We think it’s really right to give him a play with the Real Monarchs. He’ll be back sooner rather than later.”
Each time he returns, Ochoa may find it difficult to get on the field. Zac MacMath has been very good in his place, and RSL has won three of the past four to move to fourth in the West.
One of North America’s leading football journalists, Doug McIntyre has covered the United States men’s and women’s national teams at several FIFA World Cups. Prior to joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer at ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow her on Twitter @By DougMcIntyre.
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