Although we’re barely into a fresh MLS season, there’s no stopping observers when they feel like quickly reading into what’s already transpired through Week 2.
Naturally, there’s a difference between measured early analysis and jumping to conclusions. We’re here to judge which of the many fast takes are which. There’s a lot to dissect ahead of another busy weekend card, so let’s skip the ceremony and dive right in.
Take: Javier Hernandez will win the Golden Boot
Five goals in two games will definitely get tongues wagging, especially when we’re talking about a striker with Chicharito‘s pedigree and nobody else has produced more than two tallies. The fact that prime Golden Boot presented by Audi suspects Carlos Vela and Josef Martinez are dealing with an injury and trying to regain form while coming back from one, respectively, lends extra credence to this take.
Verdict: I’m not ready to say this conclusion is a lock, but it’s quite reasonable for two very good reasons. Right off the top, it seems clear that new boss Greg Vanney already has the Galaxy understanding how to make the best use of Hernandez. Perhaps more importantly, Chicharito has put a rough emotional year behind him to enter 2021 well-prepared and highly motivated to prove his worth in La-La Land.
Take: Minnesota United FC are in for a rough year
I get it. Even with some important players on the mend, it’s a big surprise to see Adrian Heath’s boys sitting on an 0W-2L-0D record with the joint-worst goal differential in the league. They got roasted by Seattle on opening day and then fell at home to Real Salt Lake. Their partially rebuilt attack is misfiring and netminder Dayne St. Clair isn’t able to cover for all the mistakes being made by the backline. Historically speaking, they’re off to the sort of rough start that typically doesn’t end with an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs berth.
Verdict: This one strikes me as premature. Attackers Ramon Abila and Adrien Hunou are just settling in with the Loons, and the defense is still missing a couple of key cogs. I’m guessing this team, which has everything needed to contend when complete, will rise up the Western Conference table soon enough.
Take: Ezequiel Barco is finally ready to star
The Atlanta United youngster has had trouble converting his talent into consistent boxscore impact during his first three MLS seasons. However, Barco‘s underlying numbers through two rounds are better than ever. He’s getting shooting looks, he’s beating defenders off the dribble and he’s teeing up chances for teammates, all at a rate well above most MLS attacking midfielders and wingers. His scorching opener in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Chicago has locals and outside observers alike thinking that the fourth time may be the charm for the 22-year-old Argentine, who arrived in 2018 for a reported $15 million transfer fee from Independiente.
Verdict: Yes, we’ve heard this song before. Nevertheless, my gut tells me…