Week 6 in MLS is over. We got coach debuts, goals, and drama.
Let's get into the week's biggest talking points, shall we?
Peter AikenPeter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
RSL's Petke era is off to a good start
It looked like Mike Petke had his work cut out for him. With injuries and an overall lack of depth, Salt Lake looked like they were in some trouble. But RSL managed a first win of the season under their new coach vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps, even if it came in the middle of a snowstorm.
The conditions and the home field advantage might have helped a bit, but Joao Plata seemed to play with more freedom to cut in centrally, which made the RSL attack look a little more dynamic and created more chances on the day.
Jeffrey SwingerJeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
The Union might be in free fall
We wondered before who would score the goals for the Philadelphia Union and, well, we're still wondering. They've now lost their last three matches after falling 3-1 to the Portland Timbers and none of the players who were supposed to be their big players have stepped up. Alejandro Bedoya, C.J. Sapong, Chris Pontius and on down the list, none of them have come away from a match yet this season having had a really good and complete match.
It certainly doesn't help that they have Bedoya playing as a No. 10, a position he has said he's not comfortable in. A playmaker who can’t, well, make plays is going to hurt the attack. Jim Curtin needs to figure something out because they have no wins and sit last in the Eastern Conference.
Porter probably knows how to manage his subs just fine
The Portland Timbers coach made history a couple weeks ago when he used zero substitutes, and then he did it again the following week. Fans were upset and thought he needed to start using his subs after the loss and draw, respectively. He did that against the Union – to the point that the Timbers ran out of subs when Darren Mattocks had to be stretchered off the field in stoppage time. They finished with 10 men, but the 3-1 win was never in doubt.
Whether Caleb Porter felt the need to make subs because of the flak he took is unclear, but it's probably beside the point. Porter defended his earlier decisions to forgo subs by asking reporters who he should take off – Fanendo Adi, Diego Valeri, or one of the other starters on the field if they weren't gassed? He may have had a point. And when he used up his subs in Philly, he seemed to err on the side of avoiding second yellow cards and injuries. Either way, the Timbers sit at the top of the entire league, so maybe Porter should be trusted to manage the game however he sees fit?
Jaime ValdezJaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
The Red Bulls need to change things up
It's been a mystery why Jesse Marsch and the New York Red Bulls continued to try to make a 4-2-2-2 formation work. It wasn't producing goals the way it should and it's seemed to erode the partnership of Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips. They tried to take steps toward returning to their old selves on Sunday, moving closer to that 4-2-3-1 again, but were shut out, 1-0 to Orlando City, and it's clear more must change if the Red Bulls want to be more consistent.
There's no doubt the Red Bulls are still feeling the loss of Dax McCarty, but they should be able to produce more goals than they have been. A consistent return to the same 4-2-3-1 that unleashed BWP and Kljestan last year might help, but the players look too disjointed right now.
Adam HungerAdam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The Revs look ready to step up
The Revolution's start to this MLS season may have been one of the more disappointing ones in the league. After all, with an attack that has Juan Agudelo, Lee Nguyen and Kei Kamara, they should be a much tougher team to contain than they had been.
But a 2-0 win over an on-fire Houston Dynamo team is a good result to build from. Both Kamara and Agudelo got on the score sheet, and maybe they are finally clicking?
Greg M. CooperGreg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
MNUFC are getting better
The Loons got their first opportunity to reap the benefits of a good trade that brought in Sam Cronin, a defensive midfield piece, and Marc Burch, a left back. Unfortunately, it came vs. FC Dallas, one of the strongest teams in the league. Minnesota managed to keep FCD to two goals, which isn't bad considering their previous rate of conceding goals, but it's a mixed bag because they were also shut out for the first time this season.
A loss is a loss, and it's going to hurt a Minnesota team that, for morale's sake, wants to start winning. But it seems there is progress being made, and they shouldn't lose sight of that, even if they currently sit in last place of the Western Conference.
Atlanta United are a real contender
We're now six weeks into MLS and the "new car smell" of Atlanta United is starting to wear off. Now it's not about about the excitement of this new market, these new players and this new coach. It's about whether Atlanta can be a real contender – and it appears they can after a 2-2 draw to Toronto FC.
Atlanta have been without Josef Martinez due to injury, which is a huge loss, but Tata Martino has been keen to keep the team's speedy, counterattacking identity in tact by not just going to his bench, but by moving his pieces around. Hector Villalba played something between a winger and a striker, while Miguel Almiron started from the wing and drifted inside in a free role. It wasn't a setup we've seen from Atlanta, but it did a good job of making life difficult for Toronto FC.
Giovinco finally scored, and Altidore had a gorgeous assist
If you missed Sebastian Giovinco's first goal of the MLS season, or Jozy Altidore's second assist, it's very much worth going back and re-watching.
Altidore, who has long been known as a big target man who scores goals himself, has evolved a lot as a player who sets others up. His improved passing was on full display on Giovinco's goal.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY SpoJohn E. Sokolowski
What were Dwyer and Howard arguing about?
Dom Dwyer declined to get specific when asked about his altercation with Tim Howard, but it's clear that Howard was not happy with the Sporting Kansas City striker. This is the second public spat to catch people's attention so far this season, but a little drama never hurts when it comes to entertainment value.
(We had more thoughts about the Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City match aside from the drama, which you can read here.)