So, Week 11 in MLS was a thing that happened. Everyone sort of forgot what defense was and we got a ton of goals. No complaints here.
These are our takeaways from Week 11:
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Real Salt Lake are fighting to be the worst team in MLS
As we pointed out previously, the Colorado Rapids might be the worst team in MLS. But thanks to a 3-0 win at home vs. the San Jose Earthquakes, the Rapids have given Real Salt Lake an opening to take that distinction as the worst team in MLS. RSL now has the worst points-per-game average in the entire league and they it looked deserved this weekend. They have their share of injuries and absences, but their lack of depth is a big problem.
As much as Minnesota was lambasted for their rate of conceding goals earlier this season, RSL isn't that far behind now. Minnesota have conceded 28 on the season while RSL are at 22, both in 11 games played. If recent results continue, RSL will catch up sooner rather than later. RSL, meanwhile, has scored the second-fewest goals in the league behind the Colorado Rapids.
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Toronto FC are scary good
Toronto FC have won six straight games now. Even better, they didn't even start the likes of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco across all those games. TFC are the deepest team in MLS this season and they have depth of historic proportions stretching back through MLS. This is a team of more than just one or two players.
Toronto's schedule was a bit of a mess – they had to play a whopping five MLS regular season games in 16 days. But now with a full week off to rest and a more forgiving stretch coming up, there's no reason they won't be able to keep it going.
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Justin Meram is on fire
The Columbus Crew are quietly playing pretty well pretty consistently, and a big reason for it is Justin Meram. He scored a hat trick over the weekend vs. Montreal, but he has been the engine of Columbus' attack all season. He is tied for third in the MLS leaderboard in goals scored at seven, and he's been hovering at the top all season long. He may not be a superstar, but he is a player to keep an eye on this season.
Jean-Yves AhernJean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
The Red Bulls are still struggling without Dax McCarty
We have to wonder, at this point, if they will figure out how to play without him. In the Galaxy's dominant win on Sunday, it became apparent that the Red Bulls were hammered by the loss of Dax McCarty. The Red Bulls back line isn't shielded like it used to be and now Sacha Kljestan, who led the league in assists last season, ends up falling deeper and deeper to get on the ball. That's not where he wants to be to set up last season's Golden Boot winner, Bradley Wright-Phillips.
On top of that, the Red Bulls just haven't looked threatening or dynamic enough. They aren't getting the pace or creativity they need out of their wingers, and without Kljestan in prime position to play-make, their attack sort of hits a brick wall.
We wrote about New York's struggles (and the LA Galaxy's dominant performance) here.
Orlando City's streak ends, but Kaka continues to lead the way
The Lions win stream in their new stadium is over. After five straight home wins since moving to their new digs, they had to settle for a draw on Saturday. It had to happen at some point, but the Lions should feel pretty good about Kaka looking healthy again. He's playing well and he played a hand on both of Orlando's goals on Saturday. His double-chest trap and goal was a beauty.
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D.C. United are too dependent on Luciano Acosta
It was another bad week for D.C. United, as not even the return of Patrick Mullins to their starting line-up could get their attack going. They lost 4-0 to the Philadelphia Union and, what became clear was that once Luciano Acosta was red-carded out in the 55th minute, all hope was lost. The D.C. United midfield needs someone else who can be a creator, and right now everything just sort of runs through Acosta.
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Concussion protocols need improvement
It happened multiple times this weekend: Players got hit in the head and then trotted right back onto the field with seemingly minimal evaluation to ensure there wasn't a concussion. It happened with both Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges of FC Dallas on Sunday, Marlon Hairston of the Colorado Rapids and Yamil Asad of Atlanta United.
To be clear, this is not an MLS problem – it's a soccer problem and FIFA hasn't done enough to address it. But MLS is on the forefront of evolving the game with the use of technology like video replay, and they can lead the way in implementing better concussion protocols too.