Introducing Once A Metro's weekly round-up of learnings from the MLS action...
1. Rental FC is coming
It's not technically a team yet: NYC FC has neither players nor a schedule. It is a concept and series of very well managed press conferences, but this week saw more details emerge about New York Red Bulls' soon-to-be rivals.
The gist of it: NYC FC will be Rental FC. A stadium deal was announced - you heard about it - and it will see New York City Football Club playing at Yankee stadium until...well, until it no longer does.
Claudio Reyna also described what sounds a lot like a plan to rent a talent development program from a network of local youth teams. There is also a plan to rent a training ground in Harrison (NY, but we get your meaning NYC FC - it's OK, we would probably have noticed you anyway).
But this team will not be forced into a narrative. Jason Kreis put a little distance between himself and the notion his side will be built on players rented from parent club, Manchester City.
Still, is there any more authentic way to arrive in New York than with a big bag of ambition and a check for the first and last month's rent?
2. Deja vu in Dallas
Of course, in 2013, FCD's form tailed off precipitously around the end of May, and the team ended up missing the playoffs. The club's efforts to avoid matching that unlikely achievement should be worth watching this year.
3. The league is serious about its anti-time-wasting initiative
Remember the odd moment in preseason when Luis Robles was called for time wasting and Philly got an indirect free kick inside the box, from which they scored? It was unusual, but MLS did say it was part of an initiative to crack down on the time wasting antics of goalkeepers.
Of course, it isn't just goalkeepers who waste time. RBNY fans watched virtually every Chivas USA player run the clock down when the Goats came to town. And we watched Tim Cahill perform his own series of time wasting rituals when RBNY was trying to protect a lead over the Union.
Neither of those games featured anything to suggest the referees were inclined to enforce the hard line taken in preseason. But this week, in the match between Houston and Philadelphia, Kofi Sarkodie lingered too long over a late-game throw-in and drew a yellow card from the ref for his trouble.
Unfortunately for Sarkodie and referee Armando Villareal, the Dynamo defender already had a booking against him, so his second signaled his exit from the game. Villareal appeared not to realize this until he checked his notebook, which reinforces two suspicions: first, refs do modify their thinking regarding bookings based on whether a player is already carrying a yellow card; second, the refs have been instructed to clamp down on time wasting.
Sarkodie may count himself unlucky that Villareal apparently forgot the earlier booking and was not therefore restrained by the unwritten rule which generally constrains referees from sending off players for relatively petty offences.
But the call sends a useful message: the league is serious about cracking down on time wasting, and the next guy to get sent off for it will have no one to blame but himself.
4. Nick Rimando is two shutouts away from a record
Kevin Hartman holds most of the MLS goalkeeping records worth having - including that for most career shutouts: 112 in 416 appearances.
In week 7, Nick Rimando posted his 111th career clean sheet in MLS. Hartman's shutout record would appear to be Rimando's for the taking - quite possibly in the four matches he has remaining before his expected call-up to join Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup training camp.
5. Landon Donovan's record-breaking goal is either going to be scored on the road, or after the World Cup
The Galaxy's 2-2 draw in Vancouver was its last match in April. May brings three more road games, and then any players called up for World Cup squads will be gone: May 18th is the last day FIFA allows Brazil-bound players to participate in club games (except UEFA Champions League finalists).
So either Landon knocks in his 135th MLS goal in Colorado (5/3), Portland (5/11), or Houston (5/17) - or he'll have to wait until his World Cup duties are over.
Interestingly, should USMNT's tournament end early in Brazil, the first match Donovan will realistically be available to play in after returning to LA will be the Galaxy's home game against the Timbers on July 4th. That is a date worthy of setting the league's all-time goal scoring record, surely?