- MLS's two CCL semifinalists endured opposite fortunes in their returns to league play after demoralizing defeats at the hands of Liga MX opposition.
There are two ways you can deal with failure: Either get over it, move on and inch forward, or let it linger and impact what you do next. For MLS's two CONCACAF Champions League semifinalists, that certainly proved to be true.
FC Dallas responded from its heartbreaking, dramatic defeat to Pachuca by continuing its strong start to the MLS season, while the Vancouver Whitecaps capitulated at previously winless Real Salt Lake (though a snow storm certainly didn't help matters!) after its ouster at the hands of Tigres UANL. The two appear on opposite ends of the Power Rankings spectrum after Week 6 in MLS, one that saw the LA Galaxy get back on track, the Portland Timbers continue to find success on the road after having none of it last season and the Chicago Fire increasing its point tally with Bastian Schweinsteiger in tow after an impressive victory over a tough conference foe.
Here's how the league shapes up after six weeks:
FC Dallas rebounded nicely from its CONCACAF Champions League disappointment, though it helped to have Minnesota as the next game up on the schedule. Javier Morales and Michael Barrios's six-minute scoring spree was all that was needed in the tidy 2-0 win, which was aided by Mexican-American goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez's stellar outing.
The Timbers have apparently gotten over their road woes from last season and trended more toward their 2015 road form after a 3-1 win at Philadelphia. While seeing Darlington Nagbe and Fanendo Adi on the score sheet isn't that surprising, having them sandwich a Roy Miller goal (his first in 130 MLS regular season games–and the eventual game-winner at that), is a new wrinkle for PTFC.
Never mind the high-scoring outbursts we've seen from expansion Atlanta United thus far. A 2-2 draw at Toronto FC without injured leading scorer Josef Martinez may be the club's most impressive feat in its infancy, and it was another DP, Hector Villalba, that got the job done with two goals. Mixing in the sensational with the steady and gritty will make for a successful Year 1.
Toronto remains one of three unbeaten teams in the league, but at some point these draws are going to need to turn into wins. Take a moment to appreciate the Jozy Altidore set-up to Sebastian Giovinco, though. If that combination operates at that high a level throughout the summer, those wins will come.
Seth Sinovic entered his name into the Golden Boot race with his first MLS regular season goal EVER (in nine seasons!) in a 3-1 win over Colorado. Dom Dwyer also broke through, which is a key for SKC, while new DP Gerso got into the scoring act as well. All-in-all, a good day at the office for another one of MLS's last unbeatens.
After a 4-0 success against D.C. United earlier in the season, NYCFC was turned back and stifled by Bill Hamid and D.C. in a 2-1 defeat at RFK Stadium. David Villa's consolation goal was too little, too late, and NYCFC saw its three-game unbeaten streak come to a halt in the nation's capital.
The high-powered Dynamo attack was surprisingly stymied by the Revolution, with Cubo Torres's four-game goal streak snapped in a 2-0 defeat. Fortunately for Houston, Minnesota's defense should be more forgiving in the club's next game.
It was a nice week for Orlando City, which reunited Luis Gil with Jason Kreis and beat the Red Bulls 1-0 thanks to Servando Carrasco's first-half header. Orlando's 2.25 points per game trails only FC Dallas in all of MLS, with things trending toward stability after two playoff-less seasons for the Lions.
Columbus had its three-game winning streak snapped against Chicago, falling 1-0 on Saturday. Without Federico Higuain and Harrison Afful, perhaps it was asking a lot of Columbus to come away with points on the road, and the club will hope to be at full strength and full throttle when facing TFC in an Eastern Conference showdown next.
The Sounders were left disappointed by a draw vs. San Jose after Nicolas Lodeiro appeared to secure all three points with a sensational strike. That's the price you pay for letting Chris Wondolowski have a clear-cut chance, though.
The Dax McCarty-Bastian Schweinsteiger partnership is clicking, and so are the Fire, who took down Columbus 1-0 on the strength of Nemanja Nikolic's 22nd-minute goal. Notice the common theme between the three players? They're all new acquisitions. Kudos to GM Nelson Rodriguez for appearing to get it right, at least in the early going, as the club aims to reclaim its glory days.
The Revs turned in maybe the surprise showing of the week with a 2-0 win over the high-flying Houston Dynamo. Of course it'll be thrilling to Revs fans that Kei Kamara and Juan Agudelo both scored, tapping into the club's attacking potential, but more important is keeping a high-scoring club like Houston off the scoreboard. Props are due to homegrown player Diego Fagundez for hitting the 10,000-minute milestone, too.
The Red Bulls are in a funk, winless in four after a listless 1-0 loss at Orlando City. The Red Bulls have only scored multiple goals once in six games, and that was on opening day with a late rally in Atlanta. It's the question that seemingly gets posed every season: If Bradley Wright-Phillips isn't scoring, where are the goals going to come from?
The Rapids are winless in three after a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City and they would have been scoreless if not for a penalty kick deep into stoppage time. Worry signs are there for a Colorado team that got by on stingy defense and timely scoring last season. With Axel Sjoberg out another month, can the Rapids tighten things up and re-discover their winning formula?
As much as the Earthquakes have changed over the last few years, the one constant has been Chris Wondolowski, and Wondo delivered late again, when it looked like all points would be lost for Dom Kinnear's crew. His last-gasp equalizer salvaged a point against Seattle and prevented San Jose from enduring a three-game losing skid.
That's two straight wins for D.C. United, and it's no surprise that coincides with goals from playmaker Luciano Acosta in both games. D.C. is rounding into shape at a perfect time–it's next match is an Atlantic Cup rivalry bout at the Red Bulls.
Jermaine Jones has been a highlight reel both on and off the field this season, and he delivered for the former with a goal and a dubiously drawn red card as the Galaxy returned to the win column. More importantly, DP Romain Alessandrini scored in a second straight game, and Gyasi Zardes made his first start after injury, giving the Galaxy a much-needed boost in the attacking department.
Marco Donadel won't be sending Jermaine Jones a Christmas card this year, we wouldn't think, but the Impact have bigger problems on their hands after a fifth straight game without a win to start the season. There's a logjam forming for the majority of the Eastern Conference contenders, and Montreal isn't part of it.
Real Salt Lake embraced the elements on Saturday, making the USA vs. Costa Rica to turn around their fortunes in a Rocky Mountain snow storm. Albert Rusnak, Yura Movsisyan and Luke Mulholland did the honors, while Luis Silva provided the highlight of the night with a snowball throw at an opponent. Whatever it takes.
Unlike FC Dallas, Vancouver had no such luck bouncing back from a CCL semifinal ouster. You'd think if one team would thrive in a blizzard it'd be the one named the Whitecaps, right? There's plenty of work for Carl Robinson's team to do, now that it has its full focus back on MLS play.
Expectations were high for Philadelphia entering this season, but five games in, the Union have no wins and the pressure is rising on manager Jim Curtin. It started out well enough, with Richie Marquez scoring the opener, but three straight Timbers goals doomed the Union to another loss and more questions to answer.
Winning at Dallas was always going to be a difficult task, and save for a few-minute span sandwiching halftime, the Loons fared O.K. and didn't capitulate for another five-goal debacle. So maybe the standard bar isn't set all that high right now. New acquisitions Sam Cronin and Marc Burch made their debuts, and Minnesota will look to build toward better things against another Texas team, Houston.