8 Things We Learned from MLS Week 6: Chicago Duo, MacMath Come Up Big
As the Major League Soccer season progresses into its second month, we are beginning to learn more about each of the 19 clubs in the league.
Because of that, breaking down each week's games and finding more in-depth takeaways from each contest is easier to do, now that each team has laid a foundation for its respective 2014 campaign.
In Week 6, we learned that if you look a bit deeper, there are some great things going on on the pitch.
A few of those observations made it into this week's lessons from the past weekend of MLS play.
Mike Magee and Quincy Amarikwa Work Really Well Together
The answer to the second forward problem in Chicago has come from within in 2014, as Quincy Amarikwa has linked up well with Mike Magee in recent weeks.
The pair connected on the Fire's only goal on Saturday in the 54th minute, when Magee controlled the remnants of a corner and fired a pass into Amarikwa, who then scored his third goal of the season.
Although Magee has scored just once in four games, he has improved with each week because of his partnership with Amarikwa.
It would not come as a surprise if both players score 10 or more goals in 2014 if they both remain healthy.
Zac MacMath Is the Real Early-Season MVP for Philadelphia
For yet another week, Philadelphia keeper Zac MacMath kept his team in the game with a few big saves.
MacMath, who has made two penalty saves in the last two weeks, has not been afraid to step off his line and clear away an attacking threat either.
Against a dangerous Real Salt Lake side on Saturday, MacMath made very few errors, but he was let down by his defense once again.
Do not be shocked if the 22-year-old, who has made 15 saves this season, starts catching the eyes of the United States men's national team coaches.
Toronto FC Will Be Fine Without Bradley and Defoe in the Short Term
Without Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe in the starting 11 for Saturday's match against Colorado, Toronto held its own in the 1-0 defeat.
Bradley and Defoe were not the only two key players missing, as Jonathan Osorio and Doneil Henry both sat out for the second consecutive week because of injury.
In the place of the big-name players, Kyle Bekker, Bradley Orr and Jeremy Hall held the fort down for the Reds in what was a fluke scenario where all of their top players were out.
The performance by some of the reserves against Colorado showed manager Ryan Nelsen that he can rely on those players in the short term, but he will need his stars back on the pitch to contend for a postseason berth.
Bringing in Chris Rolfe Was a Stroke of Genius by Ben Olsen
After a bad start to the 2014 campaign, D.C. United manager Ben Olsen was forced to alter his squad.
When Olsen brought in Chris Rolfe from Chicago on April 2, the move flew under the radar, but after two solid weeks in midfield by the 31-year-old, it is beginning to gain more attention.
Rolfe has brought stability to the United midfield, and whether it is a coincidence or not, D.C. has won its last two games with Rolfe on the pitch.
Against New York, Rolfe's presence help the attack attempt 13 shots, while his work on defense contributed to a second consecutive clean sheet.
Seattle's Attack Is More Than Just Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey may be stealing all the headlines at the moment out of the Seattle camp, but his success up front in the last two weeks must be accredited to the players around him.
Dempsey has found the back of the net on five occasions in the last two weeks because of how well the likes of Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle and Kenny Cooper have played.
Martins, who is used to being the main goalscorer on any team he is on, has turned into the top provider in the league this season with four assists.
Neagle has always been a solid player for Seattle, but his contributions are being rewarded more in 2014, because he has two superstars and another experienced forward in Cooper playing alongside him.
Cooper was positioned on the right wing to start on Saturday, but he can star in a few different positions on the pitch if manager Sigi Schmid needs him to.
It Is Only a Matter of Time Before LA Is Firing on All Cylinders
In the last two weeks against Chivas USA and Vancouver, the LA Galaxy have shown us that they are just beginning to find their form, which is a scary thing for the rest of the league.
Robbie Keane is already in midseason form with three goals, while Landon Donovan is feeding off of the Irishman's success to keep the best forward partnership in the league rolling along without any speed bumps.
Up and down the starting 11 during the two-game winning streak, players like Baggio Husidic, Stefan Ishizaki and Omar Gonzalez have proved that when the Galaxy are at their best at all positions, they could be the team to beat in 2014.
Lest we forget to mention Jaime Penedo, who made his first start in goal since March 8, who was superb during the stretch run in net for Bruce Arena's squad in 2013.
Houston's Road Form Could Be Its Downfall
Houston started the year off strong with two wins at home, but ever since, it has struggled to gain any momentum in the standings.
Two of the three games since the early spurt of six points have been on the road, both of which were defeats.
The team's loss in Week 5 to FC Dallas at home was earned because of a questionable red card to David Horst, which means that result can't fully be brought into the discussion of the current slump the Dynamo are in.
However, we can focus in on the road form that has produced one goal in 180 minutes in Vancouver and Foxborough.
We all know that Dominic Kinnear's club will win the majority of their home clashes, but if this poor road form continues, the Dynamo could be fighting for a playoff berth come October.
There Is No 'I' in Team
Columbus delivered the best team goal of the season with its only strike against San Jose in Sunday's 1-1 draw.
Federico Higuain got credit for scoring the goal, but the accolades deserved to be spread all around, for the strike that started in Columbus' own half.
The build-up to the play was kick-started by Hector Jimenez's wonderful cross over to Waylon Francis, who then found Higuain in the box.
There was nothing over the top about the goal, but it is worth complimenting a team score like this in a day and age where individuals attract all of the attention.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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