MLS: 8 Things We Learned on Matchday 3
MLS Matchday 3 is in the books, and, as usual, there were some interesting storylines and takeaways.
The San Jose Earthquakes won in their first game at Avaya Stadium against the Chicago Fire on Sunday. FC Dallas earned its third win in as many games to stay perfect on the season. Finally, the New York Red Bulls defeated their rivals D.C. United.
There was also more refereeing controversy, another brutal injury and some incredible individual performances.
Here are eight things we learned this past weekend in MLS.
The Montreal Impact Received More Bad News
Two weeks after the Montreal Impact lost winger Justin Mapp due to a fractured elbow, another player suffered a nasty injury.
Striker Cameron Porter sustained a knee injury against the New England Revolution on Saturday. The 21-year-old was beginning to flourish after scoring the goal that qualified the Impact for the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Montreal hasn't revealed the severity of the injury yet, but it's assumed Porter will be out for a while. It's a cruel blow to the former Princeton forward and to the Impact, whose run in the CONCACAF Champions League has been extraordinary so far.
This will also force head coach Frank Klopas to adjust his system yet again. He already has limited options at striker and Dominic Oduro is replacing Justin Mapp, so Porter's absence will only cause a bigger headache.
Zach Pfeffer May Have Ruined His Prospects of Starting Another Game
Zach Pfeffer started for the Philadelphia Union against FC Dallas on Saturday after Cristian Maidana suffered an injury in training last week, per Kevin Kinkead of CBS Philadelphia.
However, Pfeffer's day was cut short after receiving a red card for hitting Mauro Diaz with his elbow. The 20-year-old said that it was unintentional, but the homegrown forward may have blown his opportunity.
Union head coach Jim Curtin clearly values Pfeffer, or he wouldn't have started in the game. Fans want to see him succeed given his homegrown status and his young age, however, he cannot be committing these questionable infractions.
Curtin may give Pfeffer another shot due to the lack of proven players in the No. 10 role, but Maidana is expected to return in a few weeks, so if the youngster wants to earn more minutes, he needs to capitalize on these chances.
Dillon Powers Is Inching Closer to a European Move
The Colorado Rapids have already lost one promising player in Deshorn Brown to Valerenga in Norway. Dillon Powers may be the second domino to fall in the near future.
Powers, who has an Italian passport, is arguably Colorado's best player. Thanks to his dual citizenship and improving abilities, several overseas clubs will surely be monitoring his progress.
If any potential suitors caught a glimpse of the 24-year-old on Saturday against New York City FC, they probably liked what they saw.
Powers recorded a team-high five shots, per MLS' official website. If it wasn't for a fantastic performance from NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders, the midfielder could have easily scored.
The 2013 first-round pick was also connecting with Gabriel Torres and Vicente Sanchez. It's clear that the attack looks more in sync with Powers as a No. 10. However, that may result in him garnering more interest from Europe, because he's rapidly improving every game.
Kekuta Manneh Should Have Been Sent off
Orlando City fans who are upset that Vancouver Whitecaps forward Kekuta Manneh didn't get sent off for this challenge have a legitimate argument.
Manneh dives at Aurelien Collin with his studs up and just grazes the Frenchman. However, it still warrants a red card, even if he didn't make significant contact.
Collin and several Orlando players were aghast when referee Jorge Gonzalez did not brandish a red card. They were even more aggrieved after Darwin Ceren's error in committing a foul resulted in a free kick. Octavio Rivero made the most of this opportunity and scored a terrific goal.
This still doesn't lessen Manneh's actions, though. It was a rash challenge and should be examined by the MLS disciplinary committee.
Tyler Deric's Reflexes Are Laser-Sharp
One week after Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric committed this howler, he delivered a man-of-the-match performance against the defending champions LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy only recorded four shots on target, per MLS' official website, but most of those attempts could have resulted in goals had it not been for Deric.
Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle won't be pleased with the chances his defense allowed, but he'll be relieved to know Deric can produce some clutch saves when necessary.
However, the 26-year-old will eventually need his team to score a few more goals. Once the other clubs are in top form, it will be significantly more difficult to earn points.
Dax McCarty Is Criminally Underrated
Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam scored for the New York Red Bulls en route to a 2-0 win against fierce rivals D.C. United. They took the plaudits, but one of their teammates deserves special recognition.
Dax McCarty was excellent against his former club. The Red Bulls captain had more touches (93) than any other player, per WhoScored.com. He also attempted more passes than anyone else (78) and provided a wonderful assist on Wright-Phillips' goal.
McCarty was outstanding in his own third as well. He led his team with four tackles and was rarely out of position.
MLSSoccer.com's Matthew Doyle described how valuable McCarty could be if he wasn't American. It's a slight exaggeration, but the 27-year-old is a solid midfielder who warrants more credit than he currently receives.
The Chicago Fire Are Hopeless
The Chicago Fire have begun a season with three defeats for the first time in franchise history, per Jeff Engelhardt of SB Nation.
Chicago finally scored its first goal of the season against the San Jose Earthquakes, but the team looked abysmal for most of the match.
Horrid defending and sloppy goalkeeping by Sean Johnson on two set pieces allowed the Earthquakes to score both of their goals. The attack also looks lifeless.
Forward Mike Magee is still hurt and he's a key player, but it's going to take some sort of miracle to help this team make the playoffs.
The Fire plays the Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC and the New England Revolution in its next three matches. It's not going to get any easier for head coach Frank Yallop.
There's an Alarming Lack of Goalscoring
There were three 0-0 draws in MLS this past weekend and only 10 goals were scored across eight matches. As Paul Kennedy of SoccerAmerica pointed out, not only is the goals per game ratio down from previous years, the shots are as well.
There have been 1.96 goals scored per game after three rounds of matches. The shots are registering at 7.96, which is nearly three full attempts below the average of the first 19 seasons (10.53).
Just by watching games, it's clear how wasteful some teams are this campaign. Orlando City are a perfect example. They had 12 attempts versus the Vancouver Whitecaps, but just one hit the target, according to the official MLS website.
The massive influx of new players could also be contributing to the decline in goals and shots as well. Chemistry needs to develop within these altered squads, plus fresh arrivals have to adjust to the league and to their new lives.
Goals may increase in a few weeks once everyone is settled and teams have shaken off the cobwebs. However, for the neutrals' sake, let's hope this is resolved soon.
Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @GalindoPW.