MLS The Daily Kickoff

By Anonymous (not verified), September 29, 2022
MLS Soccer
Good morning, y'all. Your pal Sam here. Let's soccer.


  • Major League Soccer announces nominees for 2022 End of Year Awards: Major League Soccer on Thursday announced the nominees for the 2022 End of Year Awards. See the full list here.
  • San Jose Earthquakes legend Salinas announces retirement: Longtime San Jose Earthquakes stalwart Shea Salinas plans to retire from professional soccer after the 2022 MLS season. Salinas, 36, has enjoyed a 15-year MLS career, which includes 13 seasons in San Jose. The winger has also played for Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the ​​Philadelphia Union. Among all players in MLS history, Salinas ranks 10th in games played (374). He also ranks top-100 in MLS history in assists (53; 43rd) and minutes played (20,623; 83rd).


MLS Kickoff Story
Two weeks to go. We still know barely anything. Let’s take a look at which players may play key roles in deciding how this all ends.Mauricio Pereyra - Orlando City (@NYC, vs. MIA, vs. CLB)Orlando’s attack has not been good this year. In fact, you might even be bold enough to call it bad. The numbers certainly do. And I haven’t seen many dissenting opinions from the eye test. They’ve scored the fourth-fewest goals in the East and the underlying numbers have them as the second worst attack in the league.In fact….wait, hold on. I picked the players before I started writing the blurbs and I’m realizing something here. Let’s start over.Mauricio Pereyra - Orlando City (@NYC, vs. MIA, vs. CLB) / Lucas Zelarayan - Columbus Crew (vs. RBNY, @CHA, @ORL) / Karol Swiderski - Charlotte FC (vs. PHI, vs. CLB, @RBNY)Orlando’s/The Crew’s/Charlotte’s attack has not been good this year. In fact, you might even be bold enough to call them bad. The numbers certainly do. And I haven’t seen many dissenting opinions from the eye test. All three are 20th or worse in total goals scored and the underlying numbers have Charlotte as the worst attack in the league, Orlando as the second worst and Columbus as the third worst.I point all this out to show how the success of each player will be highly influential on their team’s success and the success of the teams around them. But I also point all this out to say HOLY SMOKES ATLANTA AND NEW ENGLAND HOW DID YOU NOT END UP IN PLAYOFF SPOTS???Like. My goodness. You were only going up against a collection of the three worst attacking teams in the league by expected goals and Inter Miami, who’s 21st. Catastrophic defensive mistakes are a heckuva thing in this league, y’all.Anyway, got sidetracked. Back to the main mission.Just look at the teams this group is facing and look at the standings! Not only do Orlando, Columbus and Charlotte still have work to do to ensure they make the playoffs over their final three games, but every game from here on out will have a major influence on every key storyline left in the East.Orlando and the Crew’s games against both New York teams this weekend will play a part in which New York team finishes ahead of the other and in who gets the last two home playoff spots. Charlotte will have a say in the Red Bulls’ fate and in the fate of the Supporters’ Shield race this weekend when they face Philadelphia. And somewhere in the middle of all these things, these three teams will either play each other or the Inter Miami team they’re fighting for a playoff spot.All three of these teams are set to have their moment, for better or worse. And the success of their lackluster attacks will be predicated on whether their streakiest and most influential attacking players get hot at the right time. In Charlotte’s case, Swiderski getting hot could just lead to a miracle playoff berth. In Orlando and the Crew’s case, it could just lead to an MLS Cup.But first we have to sort all this out. My goodness this league is a handful.Jefferson Savarino - Real Salt Lake (@LAG, vs. POR)Savarino fits in nicely with the group above. Just swap the conferences.RSL are a team that’s been average, not great or even good, in attack. But now they need their most productive player to step up and make a difference if they want to climb out of eighth place and into the playoffs. It should maybe clue you in on RSL’s struggles that their most productive player only has six goals and five assists on the season, but that doesn’t make him any less important.Besides, even failure will play a massive role in shaping the West. Wins for the Galaxy and Portland over the final two weeks would likely guarantee their spot in the playoffs.Dayne St. Clair - Minnesota United (@SJ, vs. VAN)DSC’s arc this season is fascinating. He went from being stuck on the bench, to quite literally stopping shots at a record-setting pace, to struggling and now he’s somewhere back around good to great. It’s been weird.Even weirder, it mirrors Minnesota’s season. It seems like his best moments have been in the Loons’ most difficult periods and vice versa. Well, now the Loons are in a difficult moment. Injuries are piling up and, suddenly, they’re just two points above the line with two games to go. If they’re going to make it in, it might just come down to St. Clair making a few plays that remind us just how good he can be when he’s on. Especially considering how much they’ve been hurting defensively since Bakaye Dibassy’s season-ending injury. The Loons have just one point in their last five games and have allowed 12 goals over that span.