29 Takeaways: One thought on every team after Matchday 6


Another week, another set of data points on the 2024 MLS season.

Even with players away on international duty, Matchday 6 still brought the drama – ranging from Lewis Morgan's Player of the Matchday-worthy performance to Dénis Bouanga getting back to what he does best.

Atlanta were down five usual starters in their 2-0 loss at Toronto, most notably Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada. Without those two MVP candidates, their attack was understandably devoid of a serious threat.

Austin held 56% possession in their 2-0 loss at Orlando, but registered just one shot on target (three overall). All that passing and probing lacks punch if there's limited chance creation.

Patrick Agyemang is getting more run as Charlotte FC's No. 9 in the injured-induced absence of Enzo Copetti (thigh). He's looked every bit the part.

Side note: We're still waiting for Young DP winger Liel Abada to debut. He signed almost three weeks ago and was recently with Israel at Euro qualifiers.

TBD if Hugo Cuypers meets the expectations that come with being a reported $12 million signing. But we're starting to see some of the DP striker's instincts. He's scored in back-to-back games for the Fire, settling in following his wintertime arrival from Belgian top-flight side Gent.

It's flown way under the radar, but FC Cincinnati are back atop the Supporters' Shield standings with 11 points. Now that Concacaf Champions Cup is in the rearview, they should start stacking points.

Colorado Rapids logo
Colorado Rapids

Another tough setback for the Rapids, who were unlucky not to earn a point against Houston. The good news is they're showing week-over-week progress as Chris Armas instills his identity.

Considering all the absences heading into last weekend's match, and the adversity that ensued, the Crew aren't going to get rattled by a 2-0 loss at Charlotte. But there is some concern after first-half injuries to Rudy Camacho and Christian Ramirez – more so with their Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinal series vs. Tigres beginning on April 2. They'll need a full squad to overcome the Liga MX powerhouse across two legs.

FC Dallas logo
FC Dallas

FC Dallas had Matchday 6 off, giving them extra prep for Saturday's rivalry showdown at Austin FC (8:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

D.C. United logo
D.C. United

Getting Ted Ku-DiPietro back in the starting lineup was massive for D.C. United. He scored their opener in the 2-2 draw at St. Louis, injecting needed quality to their high-pressing style. Can he reach 10 combined G+A this year?

Houston Dynamo FC logo
Houston Dynamo FC

Sebastián Ferreira returned from his pesky hamstring injury and notched an assist in his 23-minute substitute appearance, playing Brad Smith in for the late 1-0 decider at Colorado.

That was his first goal contribution for Houston since Oct. 9, 2022! (Added context being he spent most of last year on loan at Vasco da Gama in Brazil.)

MLS defenses beware…

Dénis Bouanga woke up in a major way, tallying 2g/1a in LAFC's 5-0 rout of Nashville SC. He, as well as midfielder Eduard Atuesta, were at another level on Saturday.


The LA Galaxy's Serbian striker is on fire to start the year, thriving in an expanded No. 9 role. He's getting on the end of chances that Triple P – Gabriel Pec, Riqui Puig and Joseph Paintsil – generate at will.

It's not too late to get on the Golden Boot hype train, folks.

Inter Miami CF logo
Inter Miami CF

This was a ruthless assessment from head coach Tata Martino, per The Miami Herald: "Our team looked like a team that not only had no desire to win, but no desire to compete. It even makes one question how far we want to go, especially when we can look so different from one week to the next."

Sure, they were without Lionel Messi (hamstring) and Nicolás Freire (hamstring) due to injury. Drake Callender, Federico Redondo and Diego Gómez were among those missing on international duty, too.

But if you talk a big talk, it has to be better.

Minnesota United FC logo
Minnesota United FC

With a bye, Minnesota United got an extra week to prep under new head coach Eric Ramsay. The Western Conference leaders visit Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon (2 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

CF Montréal's six-game, season-opening road swing continues on Saturday at D.C. United (7:30 pm ET | Apple TV - Free). They had Matchday 6 off to rest and recover.

Nashville SC logo
Nashville SC

There's an interesting philosophical debate unfolding among Nashville SC's fans, whether their latest setback spoke to a larger trend. I do think they'll be okay (read: playoff team) in the long run, but I suggest listening to this full exchange to form your own opinion:

With one point from 15 on offer, it's simply not been good enough from the Revs. You can see Carles Gil trying to will New England towards results, but it can't all rest on his shoulders.

New York City FC logo
New York City FC

With strikers Jovan Mijatović and Mounsef Bakrar away on international duty, New York City FC played with Santiago Rodríguez in the No. 9 role. They promptly generated just 0.5 xG in a 1-0 defeat at Cincy. If they're going to turn this poor start around, he needs to be the creator – not the spearhead.

New York Red Bulls logo
New York Red Bulls

Should the Red Bulls still look to sign a DP striker this summer? I'm firmly in camp "yes," but Lewis Morgan and Dante Vanzeir's partnership was electric in a 4-0 rout of Inter Miami. Morgan scored a hat trick and Vanzeir provided four assists. To think that was without Emil Forsberg providing even more service/structure…

Orlando City SC logo
Orlando City SC

Orlando City SC, striker factory. The latest example of that tagline is Jack Lynn, the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro MVP who opened his first-team account with a right-place, right-time header during a badly-needed victory.

TBD how much Lynn plays once Duncan McGuire is back from US U-23s camp, and we're still waiting for Luis Muriel to hit his stride. But the SuperDraft product clearly knows where the net is:

Philadelphia Union logo
Philadelphia Union

Down at least five starters, the Union seemed destined for another early-season setback. We should have known better – Jim Curtin's team is at their best when they're doubted and need to grind it out.

“We talked in the pregame about being short-handed, but I promised the players if they gave maximum effort, I was certain we would get a result and bring points back to Philadelphia,” Curtin said after their 3-1 win at Portland.

“Another thing we said in the pregame, 11 guys together can beat any group of individual talent. And I thought that the players executed really, really well.”

Portland Timbers logo
Portland Timbers

Jonathan Rodríguez scored on his Portland Timbers debut, but that milestone got overshadowed by a poor defensive performance. Yes, goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau and defender Kamal Miller were away helping Canada qualify for Copa América. The collective needs to step up, though. And Phil Neville knows it:

Real Salt Lake logo
Real Salt Lake

We all got properly introduced to Fidel Barajas, RSL's 17-year-old winger who balled out for USL Championship side Charleston Battery last year. Now imagine what he does when Diego Luna is back from US U-23s camp.

Cristian Espinoza had his best game of the year and San Jose won 3-2. Are those two things a coincidence? I think not.

Yes, there are mounting injuries – João Paulo's yet to appear in 2024, prized offseason signing Pedro de la Vega is nursing a hamstring injury, and veterans like Stefan Frei, Yeimar and Albert Rusnák are only just returning to the fold.

But you still expect more from a club like the Sounders. Four games, four goals scored, two points. Not good enough.

Sporting Kansas City logo
Sporting Kansas City

"The sky is not falling, but we gave away a really big opportunity today."

That was Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes after a 2-0 lead turned into a 3-2 defeat against LA. Once the Galaxy found another gear during a 10-minute period, the hosts had no answer to regain momentum.

"If we can’t score from open play, we don't deserve to win the game."

That's a snapshot from goalkeeper Roman Bürki's postgame presser following a 2-2 home draw vs. D.C. United. That tells most of the story, as does Célio Pompeu saying "We can be more calm in front of the goal."

Those are important points, but St. Louis have combined to allow seven goals in their last three league games. They need to find solidity at the back, a task that's unfolding as center back Tim Parker recovers from a back injury.

Toronto FC logo
Toronto FC

May I present the latest example of John Herdman coaxing buy-in (and fun!) from Italian stars Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi:

The worry, though, is Insigne exited at halftime with a hamstring injury. If he misses time, can the injury-plagued Reds continue this sensational start?

Vancouver Whitecaps FC logo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Not all international absences are cut from the same cloth. Some have a more pronounced effect than others.

Look no further than Vancouver missing Andrés Cubas in last weekend's 2-1 loss vs. RSL. They're just not the same when the DP midfielder is away representing Paraguay.