Chicago forward Juan Luis Anangonó uttered a sequence of words perhaps inconceivable just a few short years ago: he consulted with the members of the Ecuadorian national team staff and received their blessing to join the Fire from Argentinos Junior, according to MLSsoccer.com. It is a curious decision – Anangonó nearly moved to Serie A before moving to Argentina – yet one that bodes well for the league as a whole. If players can use MLS as a stepping stone to either regular international football (an admittedly faint option here given the attacking talent in Ecuador at the moment) or a transfer to Europe, then the league could benefit by attracting better players from South America and beyond. Honorable mention 11. Houston Dynamo 12. FC Dallas 13. New England Revolution 14. Chicago Fire 15. Columbus Crew 16. San Jose Earthquakes 17. Chivas USA 18. Toronto FC 19. D.C. United
Everyone associated with the Sounders expects a dramatic uptick in form during the season half of the season. Home draws against Colorado – even bearing in mind the Rapids' recent form – do not tend to validate those claims. Next on the docket: Seattle hosts resurgent Chivas USA on Sunday.
Some points feel just a bit better than others. The stalemate at JELD-WEN Field probably falls into that category for the Union. John Hackworth's side traveled west in search of a result. The final outcome and the overall performance constitutes a fillip for this young side. Next on the docket: Philadelphia faces another Cascadia test at Vancouver on Saturday night.
Is it time to break up the Rapids? Colorado extended its unbeaten run to five with a midweek victory over New England and a draw at Seattle over the weekend. Imagine what this youthful side could do with a functioning center forward if it can churn out these sorts of results without one. Next on the docket: LA Galaxy will try to halt the Rapids' recent run in Commerce City on Saturday.
New York Red Bulls
Consistency? What consistency? New York beats Montreal 4-0 at home one week and then settles for a turgid 0-0 draw at Toronto FC the next. Needless to say, the performance at BMO Field left Red Bulls coach Mike Petke a bit flummoxed. Next on the docket: Petke will expect a response when the Red Bulls host Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Montreal responded to its recent wobbles with exactly the sort of curative measure most teams would love: it acquired a Designated Player. The arrival of former Almeria and Newell's Old Boys midfielder Hernán Bernardello increases the options available to Marco Schällibaum in the center of the park and provides some impetus for his new teammates to turn matters around quickly. Next on the docket: Bernardello could potentially vie for a spot in the lineup when the Impact hosts Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
Camilo continued his torrid run in front of goal. Vancouver finally scored against LA Galaxy in southern California. And yet the Whitecaps still suffered their first defeat in seven matches in that 2-1 setback at the StubHub Center on Saturday. Next on the docket: A home date with Philadelphia hands the Whitecaps a chance to claim a sixth win in nine attempts.
Gyasi Zardes stamped his mark all over the 2-1 victory over Vancouver on Saturday. His impressive second-half winner captured most of the attention, but he also submitted a comprehensive display that reinforced his ample potential. He isn't the finished product yet, but watch out if he ever reaches that point. Next on the docket: Zardes and the Galaxy visit Colorado on Saturday night.
Not every match can have the drama of a last-minute winner. Portland probably needed a dose of reality after that magical victory over LA Galaxy a week ago, and the 0-0 home draw with Philadelphia certainly provided it. Next on the docket: The prospect for another late show will increase significantly when the Timbers visit San Jose on Saturday.
Real Salt Lake
RSL held out for as long as it could with 10 men. It even managed to drag the game deep – and many Claret-and-Cobalt supporters would say too deep – into stoppage time. But the winner from Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara arrived in the 97th minute to send RSL sliding to its first defeat in nine attempts. Next on the docket: RSL will hope to start a new unbeaten run when it travels to Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting consolidated its current perch atop the league on Tuesday by agreeing to extend Peter Vermes' contract through to 2017. By tacking some extra time onto Vermes' pact, the club ensured most of its core – including U.S. internationals Matt Besler and Graham Zusi – will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Next on the docket: Vermes will celebrate his new deal by taking his side to Montréal on Saturday.