Week 7 of MLS was a front-loaded week where all the action shook out on Friday and Saturday -- but in those two days, there have been some moments that might end up as some of the year's biggest highs and lows.
Here is a look at those big moments and the rest of the key storylines this week:
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The best defensive team in the league beat the best attacking team
If there were two teams that emerged as possible title contenders so far this season, it would the league's most dominant attack (the Portland Timbers) and its stoutest defense (Sporting Kansas City). In the end, defense won out on Saturday as a relentless SKC team smothered the Timbers in Portland and made it impossible for the best attack to score. It was the Timbers' first time failing to score a goal this season in a 1-0 score.
It doesn't take away from the Timbers' standing as the scariest attack in MLS, but what SKC did offers a blueprint for the rest of the league: Constantly be in motion, shut down space, and get physical. SKC are now undefeated and haven't conceded more than one goal in any game this season.
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The Howard situation is drawing criticism from all sides
It seems that there is no winner in Tim Howard's recent three-match suspension. Fans are upset that Howard is subject to such a harsh ban when the only public evidence of his transgressions is a video of him using profanity at fans. But reports suggest Howard also got in an altercation with a fan that included Howard grabbing the fan's arm. The MLS Players Union is upset that the fan was even near Howard and called for better security at MLS games. Either way, the situation is unfortunate and is a low for the young MLS season.
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When the Dynamo can't counterattack on the break, they are very beatable
For as good as the Houston Dynamo have looked, their game plan has been far from hard to figure out: They like to play quick and direct, punishing opponents almost entirely on counterattacks. So if they can't do that, they have trouble scoring, and Minnesota United managed to do it just enough to keep the Dynamo at bay for a 2-2 draw.
The concern here is that the Dynamo don't want a repeat of 2016, when they won their first few matches convincingly, and then fell apart to be the worst team in the West. The Dynamo aren't exactly on a skid, but it's something to watch.
Thomas SheaThomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
The Loons continue to make progress
Attacking has never been Minnesota's problem. Defending, however, was. But Saturday marked more progress for the Loons. They kept a strong Dynamo team to just two goals, which is a big step forward considering the rate at which the Loons have been conceding, and it allowed the Loons to get a draw, their third positive result of the season.
Marc Burch and Sam Cronin have been good additions, but coach Adrian Heath seems to be doing a better job of figuring out his lineup. He made more tweaks in a constant effort to find the right group, replacing Bashkim Kadrii with Rasmus Schuller on the left side of the midfield.
USA TODAY SportsBrace Hemmelgarn
The Fire are clicking, and it's not all about Schweinsteiger
Don't look now, but the Chicago Fire have put together a decent run of results since Bastian Schweinsteiger arrived. They have seven points in his three matches, and they sit third in the Eastern Conference. Schweinsteiger has been great for the Fire so far, notching another goal on Saturday, but it's been about more than him.
Dax McCarty has been a key as he has held down the central midfield and it's his discipline that is a big reason Schweinsteiger can play a bit higher. Nemanja Nikolic has added a much-needed second attacking threat up top so teams can no longer zero in on David Accam. And rookie Daniel Johnson has been an important attacking piece for the Fire, with his pace and off-the-ball movement creating options and opportunities.
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Mike Petke did it again
When Real Salt Lake fired coach Jeff Cassar just three weeks into the season, it was a head-scratcher. It's not so much that Cassar seemed like the best choice going forward, but to fire him after just three weeks made it seem like RSL had no plan. Well, plan or not, the coaching change has done something for RSL.
Mike Petke, in his second week at the helm, has gotten another win, beating the Rapids, 2-1, in Colorado. He's managed to do it despite injuries that have forced a rotating cast of players, including different centerback combinations across every game. The personnel in the attack haven't really changed, but he has them looking more cohesive than earlier in the season.
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What's up with D.C. United's lack of goals?
The worst attacking team in the league so far is D.C. United -- they've managed just four goals in six games, the worst scoring rate in the league. It hasn't helped that striker Patrick Mullins has been out with injury, but someone else needs to step up because their scoring form has been pretty bad as of late.
Although the team seems to be playing conservative "Benny ball" lately -- coach Ben Olsen's brand of attacking opportunism -- it's not like they didn't have chances in their 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls this weekend as they were barely out-shot, 15-12. They are having trouble finishing and they need to sort it out.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsTommy Gilligan
The Galaxy have a lot of questions and few answers
The LA Galaxy's transition to a new team has a ways to go, it seems. They lost 2-1 in Orlando and the score line looks closer than the game actually felt. Players routinely seemed to miscommunicate or gets into areas that left the Galaxy vulnerable. If Orlando had finished their chances a little better, it could've easily been a blowout. We delved deeper into why the Galaxy looked so poor and why the Lions looked so good, but a storyline to watch is whether the Galaxy can get a grip on their new identity and make this new-look squad work.
Gary A. VasquezGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
David Villa, ladies and gentleman
Have we already seen the best goal of MLS in 2017? It's way too early to say that. But then again, did you see David Villa's goal on Friday night? It's the farthest goal in MLS since at least 2012, but maybe longer -- earlier data wasn't available. Either way, it was a stunner. Even Villa seemed surprised he scored it.