No coach is safe in Montreal and that is where we begin this week’s MLS Big – 5.
1) Klopas Out in Montreal
They say coaches are hired to be fired, but very few teams take that notion quite as literally as the Montreal Impact who just named Mauro Biella as the fourth coach in it’s not quite four year history.
Klopas joins Jesse Marsch and Marco Schallibaum in the ex-Montreal manager fraternity, replaced by his assistant after compiling a mediocre 25-31-27 mark in an 83 game tenure.
That makes the former Chicago Fire supremo the longest serving coach in Montreal’s brief MLS history. Klopas’ best moment came in guiding Montreal to the CONCACAF Champions League Final earlier this year, although the Impact lost the decider to Club America.
2) Orlando’s Cyle Larin Breaks Record – or Does He?
Apparently not. Orlando’s rookie striker felt that he should have been awarded Orlando’s goal in Saturday’s 1-1 tie with Chicago, but the tally went down as an own goal credited to Fire defender Eric Gehrig.
With that ruling the number one pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft remains tied for the MLS rookie record with Damani Ralph with 11 goals apiece.
The young Canadian international still has seven games to knock Ralph from the record books, and is the runaway leader for Rookie of the Year honors.
3) Rocky Mountain High!
The Rapids won for the third consecutive time, with Sporting KC the latest victim. After propping up the Western Conference table for most of the season Pablo Mastroeni’s side has climbed above the epically disappointing Real Salt Lake and is making a late playoff push.
Maynor Figueroa and DP Kevin Doyle provided the goals in Colorado’s 2-1 home win on Saturday leaving the Rapids five points behind Seattle for the final Conference playoff spot.
That still leaves the Rapids with a mountain to climb, but Colorado supporters will finally be happy to see some upward movement from the longtime strugglers.
4) Giovinco and Pirlo Called in by Italy
After being left out of the last round of European qualifiers the MLS duo earned call ups from coach Antonio Conte for a two match set against Malta (September 3) and Bulgaria (September 6).
MLS watchers will interpret the pair’s inclusion as a sign of respect for the league, even if the Toronto attacker has been ruled out through injury.
5) Red Bulls Close on DC
DC United came to the Red Bull Arena on Sunday night with its hold on the top spot in the Eastern Conference looking very tenuous. 90 minutes and a 3-0 thumping later the team’s lead in the standings was down to two points with the Red Bulls holding three games in hand.
New York has famously turned the page on its star power strategy, declining to replace the likes of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill with similar bold faced names.
Former U.S. international Sacha Kljestan was the team’s biggest offseason signing and he has slotted into the midfield quite nicely next to hard grafting team captain Dax McCarty and versatile Brazilian Felipe.
Leading the N.Y. attack Wright-Phillips has 13 goals and seven assists and has answered any questions regarding his effectiveness minus the departed Henry.
Of course, games in hand are only a positive if you win them, but at the moment it is hard to see United holding off New York 1.0 for first place.
In fact, DC will have to keep an eye out for the rising Columbus Crew, just three points back of DC with one game in hand.