The international break is behind us and it’s time for Major League Soccer to continue. With several intriguing matchups across the league this weekend, there are storylines aplenty for the 20 teams involved in action.
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PST takes a look at some of the most intriguing storylines as MLS heads into the fifth week of the season.
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Does Minnesota get its first win?
It’s safe to say things haven’t gone according to plan for Minnesota since the club’s entrance into MLS just four weeks ago. A league-high 18 goals allowed and one point is all the team has to show to this point, but can the Western Conference side get off the snide?
With Real Salt Lake coming to town Saturday night, the Loons arguably have their best opportunity to pick up three points during the young season. RSL has scored just once during the opening four weeks, but given the Loons defensive struggles, that could very well change.
Reinforcements could be on the way for Minnesota though after the club acquired Colorado Rapids duo Sam Cronin and Marc Burch on Friday.
How good can the Crew become?
Already sitting atop the Eastern Conference through four weeks, the Crew look set to get significantly better thanks to acquiring attacker Kekuta Manneh in a trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps this week.
When considering the fact that the Crew attack already features the likes of Ola Kamara, Federico Higuain and Wil Trapp, the sky is certainly the limit for the 2015 MLS Cup runners’ up.
Greg Berhalter’s side will certainly need to get its backline in order if they are to consider themselves one of the league’s elite, but the Crew front office surely knocked one out of the park with the Manneh move.
D.C., Union look to grab first win
Neither club has been impressive to start the season, however, one team could earn their first win of 2017 on Saturday if they play their cards right.
Ben Olsen’s D.C. United is the only team remaining in MLS that has yet to score a goal this season despite boasting a strong attack that features Patrick Mullins and Luciano Acosta.
The Union are coming off of a 2-1 loss to Orlando two weeks ago, while D.C.’s last time out came with a 2-0 defeat to the Crew.
Atlanta looks to prove itself in Seattle
The newcomers down in Hot-lanta have lived up to their hype so far, and Friday night’s test in Seattle could further validate Tata Martino’s side as they look for their third consecutive victory.
Although top goalscorer Josef Martinez will be out after suffering a quad injury, Atlanta still boasts an exciting attack that features Miguel Almiron and Hector Villalba. The Eastern Conference side is second in MLS with 11 goals scored through four weeks, but getting a result at CenturyLink Field will be quite the feat for the expansion side.
The Sounders picked up their first win prior to the international window and they looked like the side that won MLS Cup in 2016. With Clint Dempsey healthy and firing on all cylinders, Brian Schmetzer’s attack should be among the league’s best alongside that of Atlanta.
Whitecaps hope to find inspiration against Galaxy
With Kekuta Manneh gone, the Whitecaps must turn to other faces if the club’s struggling attack is to improve over the coming weeks. 16-year-old Alphonso Davies will be expected ti carry a greater load for Carl Robinson’s side.
With the Galaxy coming to town on Saturday, it will be a difficult test for the Whitecaps, who have allowed five goals in the last two matches.
The Whitecaps will have to deal with Giovani dos Santos and co. in the attack, although the Galaxy will be without Sebastian Lletget in the long term after suffering a devastating foot injury while on U.S. Men’s National Team duty.Follow @MattReedFutbol