There is only one question I receive more often than "Hey, Jason, what did we learn from MLS this week?" and that question is "Why are you dumping your recycling into my child's sandbox?" Since the latter question remains in litigation, I will address only the former here.
So...what DID we learn from MLS this week?
We learned Orlando has got some moxie.
You'd think gifting two goals to the first-place New England Revolution would have put Orlando City in too deep an Everglade swamp to swim out of, but this Florida team is not a capsized boat wreck like a certain other expansion team this year (cough cough -- NYC -- clap clap -- FC -- cough cough).
OCSC showed their pluckitude by dominating late possession and drilling two 71' and 90' minute goals off the respective noggins of Cyle Larin and Aurélien Collin to draw 2-2. And they probably could have scored a couple more from the 8-1 shot advantage they had in the second half.
Orlando fans would have been happy with another goal, but the viewing public at home would have been doubly happy, because we'd be treated to more uniquely emphasized words from Univision English-language play-by-play announcer Ramsés Sandoval ("Another pass into the BOXXXXXXXXXXXXX").
I imagine Sandoval's style of loudly accenting the ends of sentences must be interesting around the office. ("Someone ate my tapioca that was in the FRIDDDDDGGGGGGGGGE") ("Gary, I know it was YOUUUUUUUUUUU").
We learned Houston doesn't care about manners.
On what should have been a glorious occasion, Toronto FC returned from an eight-game road trip to their newly expanded, sold-out BMO Field, with the first chance for home fans to see off-season signings Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco in action, and they promptly...lost to Houston 2-1.
The stars didn't align for TFC in any form whatsoever: Giovinco was often in the right place but couldn't catch a break. Michael Bradley did catch something, but unfortunately it was the leg of Dynamo fullback DaMarcus Beasley in the box, leading to an early penalty for Houston. And Altidore caught the business end of a cross to head in a goal late in the game -- a fleeting moment of joy that painfully raised the home crowd's hopes, only to see those hopes dashed as the match ended joylessly soon thereafter.
I wonder if I was the Dynamo whether I would have gone easy on the home team. TFC was opening a like-new stadium, a true homecoming after months of cold, wet, soccerless existence in Toronto, and Houston decides to ruin the whole celebration by winning. It's like me showing off my new remodeled kitchen to friends, and the first thing they do is overcook salmon in the microwave and stink up the joint. So, Houston registers a win, but also a party foul.
We learned Columbus doesn't lose two in a row.
Sometimes in life, bad losses beget more bad losses (see: my romantic history). But that hasn't been the case for Columbus Crew this year. Coming into this weekend's match, they hadn't lost two matches in a row all season -- and they had no intention of starting Saturday night.
After a painful 2-0 loss at DC last week, the Crew hosted the Seattle Sounders at their own beautiful MAPFRE (pronounced "Mah-fray") Stadium and came away with a mapvelous (pronounced "mah-velous") 3-2 victory.
A Kei Kamara brace and a stunner from Federico Higuain gave the Crew control of the match early in the second half, added three points to their season tally, and solidified their fourth place position on the Eastern Conference table.
However, there was a moment of referee tomfoolery, when an offside Clint Dempsey scored his second goal of the match after he was determined to not be offside by the paid-to-make-offside-decisions linesman, despite standing in an aforementioned offside position and kicking the soccer ball towards goal from said position. To sum up, Dempsey was offside. (For a fuller explanation of why, read Jeremiah Oshan.)
We learned Robbie Keane is a good guy.
Many famous athletes steer clear of making political statements because they don't want to alienate their fanbase, but Robbie Keane is not a guy afraid of the risks inherent in standing up for what he believes in. And with his native country of Ireland having a referendum on same-sex unions on May 22nd, he felt compelled to pen an op-ed in Dublin's Sunday World to voice his support for a "yes" vote on expanding gay rights.
"Marriage equality is an easy answer for me," the LA Galaxy forward wrote. "I am a very proud Irishman and it is important to me that our country does, and is seen to, treat all of its citizens on an equal footing."
Keane has broad recognition in his home country, as he is the top goalscorer in Republic of Ireland history, and his support for same-sex marriage is expected to boost momentum for a yes vote.
Along with teammate Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay man in North American professional sports, Keane joins other Galaxy players AJ DeLaGarza, Charlie Rugg, Omar Gonzalez, and Dan Gargan to have advocated for gay rights causes in the past (h/t @gay4soccer). If I were wearing a hat, I'd tip it in the general direction of StubHub Center for their stellar work on this issue.