29 Takeaways: One thought on every team after Matchday 3


Matchday 3 is in the books.

Inter Miami CF and LA Galaxy logged big rivalry wins. CF Montréal and Toronto FC might be better than we all realized. Real Salt Lake and LAFC played in a snowstorm.

Let's unpack what we learned.

Atlanta United were off in Matchday 3, but I highly recommend last week's Extratime interview with Garth Lagerwey. It's a must-listen as they aim big in 2024.

It was fitting that goalkeeper Brad Stuver started his 100th regular-season match for Austin, becoming the first player in club history to do so (and logging a shutout). Over the past three-plus years, it's hard to think of a player who better embodies the Verde & Black.

If Charlotte FC's reported deal for Celtic FC winger Liel Abada gets over the line (as is expected), Iuri Tavares is likely the odd man out in their attacking three.

For now, the MLS NEXT Pro product is more than deserving of his starting spot since being elevated from Crown Legacy. Pretty decent first MLS goal, too:

Who's going to supply chances to DP striker and club-record signing Hugo Cuypers? That responsibility, seemingly, falls on Brian Gutiérrez and Xherdan Shaqiri. But that duo might be better suited for the wings, and then Chicago use their open DP spot on a No. 10.

DeAndre Yedlin. Matt Miazga. Miles Robinson. That's three US men's national team pool defenders on FC Cincinnati after the reigning Supporters' Shield winners got Yedlin from Inter Miami in a trade. They form the spine of arguably the league's top backline, with Luca Orellano at wingback and Ian Murphy the third CB.

Colorado Rapids logo
Colorado Rapids

That late-game Jonathan Lewis handball notwithstanding, the Rapids played decent ball in their 2024 home opener. I don't know if I'd go as far as Djordje Mihailovic's post-game view, but I get the sentiment.

"We defended so well," Mihailovic began. "Especially in the first half, it seemed like we had the ball the whole time. It's huge credit to our back line, our midfielders, for the work that they did, for winning those second balls, and basically, you win the second balls and you go right to attack and that’s what we did.

"I think if we do this type of performance every weekend we're going to have no problems, honestly. The goals will come, but I felt like we were not under stress up until the penalty. And I don’t think this was a penalty."

Cucho's on an absolute heater, recording a goal contribution in 10 consecutive matches for the Crew (9g/2a). For my money, he's the clear Golden Boot presented by Audi favorite this year – by a country mile.

FC Dallas logo
FC Dallas

Petar Musa's debut goal was spoiled by the result, a 2-1 defeat to CF Montréal. And while FC Dallas can take solace in Jesús Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal returning from injury, the entire squad fell short. If Nico Estévez is saying this publicly…

"I’m not happy with what I saw. We did not try what made us successful all of preseason and it hurt us tonight. … I think we have to be patient, but it's a good punch in the face to wake us up and see that there is a lot of work to do."

D.C. United logo
D.C. United

When Christian Benteke was a late scratch from D.C. United's lineup, I thought they were done and dusted. Nope, and that's full credit to Troy Lesesne for inspiring fight and grit in this group.

Houston Dynamo FC logo
Houston Dynamo FC

There are rumors that Houston have attacking reinforcements on the way. This team needs it, to be clear, even when Sebastián Ferreira recovers from his hamstring injury.

Sure, LAFC lost 3-0 at Real Salt Lake. But that game was played in a snowstorm and it'd be entirely unfair to render any conclusions. They'll be just fine.

Joseph Paintsil looks like The Truth. And how is the DP winger acclimating so quickly? Don't forget he was midseason with Belgian side Genk and is coming off representing Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Inter Miami CF logo
Inter Miami CF

Lionel Messi. Luis Suárez. You've likely seen and/or read about (on multiple platforms) how brilliant they were in Saturday's 5-0 dismantling of in-state rival Orlando City.

But one part flew somewhat under the radar: Nicolás Freire, their veteran Argentine CB, hardly put a foot wrong in his club debut. Inter Miami will need much more of that in 2024.

Minnesota United FC logo
Minnesota United FC

Back in preseason, if you told any Minnesota fan their team would have four points from two games, all before a full-time head coach arrived, they'd likely take it in a heartbeat.

Well, here they are and head coach Eric Ramsay is set to soon take over now his Manchester United assistant duties are over. The vibes are high in the Twin Cities.

I'm not sure it's broken through nationally yet, but Montréal begin the year with six straight road matches. They won't play at Stade Saputo until April 13 vs. FC Cincinnati.

Get another result or two – Montréal are on four points thus far (1W-0L-1D) – and the early days of the Laurent Courtois era should be considered a resounding success.

Nashville SC logo
Nashville SC

By now, Nashville's limitations without Hany Mukhtar (and Sam Surridge) are well-documented. Here's to hoping the DP forwards are on the mend and can spark this attack back to life.

New England's No. 9 depth problems were exposed last weekend, with Giacomo Vrioni (red card) and Bobby Wood (injury) both unavailable. It's not that Tomás Chancalay was poor centrally, but he's much better on the wings. Maybe New England make a move here?

New York City FC logo
New York City FC

On paper, New York City FC's attack should be way better than this. Mounsef Bakrar and Jovan Mijatović at striker. Julián Fernández and Agustín Ojeda as wingers (Talles Magno is out hurt). Santiago Rodríguez and Hannes Wolf as chance creators. Long-term, I'll hedge on that group clicking.

New York Red Bulls logo
New York Red Bulls

With all his recent injury troubles, it's easy to lose sight of how good Lewis Morgan was for New York in 2022 – posting a team-leading 14g/4a. If this golazo is a sign of what's to come from the Scottish attacker…

Orlando City SC logo
Orlando City SC

We'll give Oscar Pareja the floor after his Orlando City laid an absolute egg in their first big test of 2024:

"We didn't show up today the way we are, and we will take that responsibility. This is a very bad day, to say it in front of our fans, and with the derby and all these things. But we have personality and responsibility to just put our backs into this result. We'll get better."

Philadelphia Union logo
Philadelphia Union

Alejandro Bedoya, the super-sub. Philadelphia's captain likely isn't an every-game starter nowadays, but he still brings tremendous value to the club – like Saturday's harder-than-it-look equalizer in the 95th minute.

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Portland Timbers

Is that Germán Berterame's music we hear? According to The Athletic's Tom Bogert, Portland are in hot pursuit of the Monterrey striker and willing to spend around $15 million on the Argentine (would be tied for the third-most-expensive acquisition in league history).

In the meantime, four points to start the Phil Neville era – without any minutes played from Evander – inspires confidence.

Real Salt Lake logo
Real Salt Lake

Again, not reading too much into a game played in a snowstorm. But full credit to forwards Andrés Gómez (2g/1a) and Chicho Arango (1g/1a) for stepping up.

San Jose are reportedly pursuing Carlos Vela, who would solve a lot of their chance-creation problems. But their woes extend well beyond that after Saturday's 3-1 Cali Clásico defeat to LA. Head coach Luchi Gonzalez intimated as much:

"It's a derby, and we didn't play with enough pride, physicality, or energy. We are just really disappointed. … If you don't focus on the future, you can't control the past, which is about how people respond. I do believe in our group.”

Despite taking 23 shots, the Seattle Sounders couldn't solve Austin FC's park-the-bus approach. Their attacking issues from last season aren't solved just yet, but let's reserve full judgment until Albert Rusnák and João Paulo are back from injury and setting the tempo in midfield.

Sporting Kansas City logo
Sporting Kansas City

Sporting KC need to get Alan Pulido more shooting opportunities. The DP striker's quality as a chance-creator and linker is undisputed, but he has just two attempts through two matches.

Joakim Nilsson has taken a lot of flak, not quite looking like a former backline staple for Sweden's national team and Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld. But he was really solid in St. Louis CITY's first league win of the year, forming an impressive partnership alongside Tim Parker.

Toronto FC logo
Toronto FC

As pointed out by John Molinaro of the excellent TFC Republic, Toronto have already equaled their away points total (4) from last season. Head coach John Herdman is getting buy-in from the entire squad, and game-changing moments from veterans like Lorenzo Insigne and Sean Johnson.

TBD if the recipe works in the long run, but these early days are promising.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC logo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

The Whitecaps played their first of six matches without suspended head coach Vanni Sartini and looked "a little bit sleepy," according to assistant Michael D'Agostino.

Playing in front of the largest home opener crowd (29,624) in the club's 50-year history, the 1-1 draw with Charlotte was a missed opportunity.