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Is Montreal a contender? Time to panic in Nashville? Taking stock after Week 2
Disclaimer: Due to my relationship with Austin FC, I will not be discussing that team on this site.
Sorry for the late and abbreviated post! Personal happenings got in the way a bit yesterday.
We’re two weeks in and we at least have some idea of what these teams will look like in 2021. The picture is far from a full one — but the more data we get, the better. With that said, let’s take a look at some of what we have seen so far and decide if we expect that trend to continue or not.
Montreal: A contender?
The Impact have soundly beaten Toronto FC 4-2 in Florida and drew Nashville SC on the road 2-2. This has been a bit surprising considering most pundits had them picked near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Montreal have scored six goals off just 1.67 expected goals. Scoring at this rate is something that is unlikely to continue. And it’s not like their difference has been anything special as the 5.22 expected goals against is the second-highest in MLS.
VERDICT: NOT REAL
Nashville SC: Sophomore slump
Piggybacking off that, Nashville have dropped four points at home to Montreal and Cincinnati. That’s not a good start to a season where they hope to reach the playoffs again.
Here’s the thing though — they’ve looked incredible for the vast majority of their matches. The four goals that have been scored against them have all come early, which has in part led to their impressive offensive output for the rest of the matches. Their 6.41 expected goals are by far the most in MLS over the first two weeks and though they’ve conceded four goals — that’s come with just 2.54 expected goals against.
These performances may not continue, but it’s clear that the results they have gotten so far don’t reflect the quality of their play.
VERDICT: NOT REAL
Seattle: Still Seattle
They lost Jordan Morris, Kelvin Leerdam, Joevin Jones and Gustav Svensson this offseason, leading many (including myself) to believe this might finally be the year we see Seattle take a bit of a dip.
That hasn’t happened through two games, even without the services of Nicolas Lodeiro. They dominated Minnesota and got a point at Banc of California, all while trying out a completely new formation and starting a 19-year-old in midfield. Once Lodeiro comes back and they add some pieces this summer, it looks like Seattle will still be one of the top contenders this year.
Chicharito Tha God
Look, he’s not going to score 85 goals this year. That’s what he’s on pace for at the moment. But he’s getting into the right spots — the Chicharito-type spots — over and over again and finishing. His first two goals both produced high xG totals and it’s clear he’s not relying on golazos to carry him. All this is repeatable, just maybe not at this pace.
VERDICT: MOSTLY REAL
Minnesota: In Trouble?
There’s no doubt that I thought they would win on Saturday. If not for some horrendous play at the back, the Loons might have scrapped together a win. They still looked dangerous going forward and once Ramon Abila and Adrien Hunou are fully integrated, this team will get back to their winning ways.
Only word of caution is if they open up a bit more offensively, it could leave their slow-footed backline in some trouble. But I think Adrian Heath’s calculus will be that they can outscore any opponent, which is probably right.
VERDICT: NOT REAL