Weekend preview: Cardoso impresses, RBNY shakeup, top games to watch, & more
September 03, 2020
LABOR DAY WEEKEND is here and we have a mixed bag of news for the days ahead. European national teams are in action so most of the leagues are off. Still, there will be a lot of preseason games and transfer news to keep an eye on. The 2020 MLS rolls on with a full slate over Sunday and Monday. And it’s time to give the league’s its due with playing young American players. The past week has been historic in that regard.
So as part of our weekend preview, we’re going to look at the MLS slate of games but also break down the news.
Here are some takes on what is going on.
Red Bull shakeup
The New York Red Bulls announced it had fired head coach Chris Armas on Friday morning along with assistant coach CJ Brown. It marks a major move from new Head of Sport Kevin Thelwell who joined the club earlier this year from Wolverhampton.
The timing of this is rather telling. It did not fire Armas after the MLS is Back tournament (where the team failed to advance out of the group stage) and it is doing so with only two games until it takes on Philadelphia. The team must have believed the problems were correctable in recent weeks but the performance in the 1-0 loss to DC United on Wednesday was just too much and it required drastic action.
In that game DC United was playing with a squad decimated with injuries and the Red Bulls simply still could not score goals.
Armas had grown unpopular with fans but this was more of an upper-management problem than anything else. In recent years, the club has sold key players and other players have also aged out. The incoming players simply have not been as good.
As the head coach, Armas’s job was to maximize the team’s potential. Yes, there are fair questions about getting more out of Kaku and defensively with Tim Parker and Aron Long. But the reality is that even with an ideal coach at the helm, the ceiling or potential of this team is much lower than it was during the key years of 2013-2018. And on another note, Armas also had to deal with the challenges of having two of its top players in Long and Kaku see lucrative transfers fall through because of unrealistic prices set by upper management. When that happened, it became much more difficult to get the most out of them.
Perhaps the loss to DC United was starting to cause frustration and a change had to be made. But until the team spends more on imports who are correctly identified as being able to help the team and develops top young players internally, a coaching change can only improve the results marginally.
Cardoso impresses in first Internacional start
On Wednesday, Denville, NJ-born defensive midfielder Johnny Cardoso, 18, impressed in his first start for Internacional in a matchup away at Palmeiras. Internacional came into the game in first place while Palmeiras
The current schedule is condensed and the requirement for squad rotation helped create this opportunity. But Cardoso has done well in training and has earned this opportunity from manager Eduardo Coudet, who once played for the Philadelphia Union.
Cardoso ended up playing 76 minutes and impressing – particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Here are his numbers.
- 76 mins (left at 0-0)
- 55 touches
- 88.6% passing (39/44)
- 0 Shots
- 0 key passes
- 1 dribble
- 2x fouled
- 7 duals won
- 3 duals lost
- 0 fouls
- 3 tackles
- 2 interceptions
- 0 clearances & blocked shots
- 4/5 accurate long balls
- was tied for the most tackles and successfully completed passes in the game
This was a big start for his career and he should now have more opportunities in the games ahead to build from it.
Johnny Cardoso vs Palmeiras pic.twitter.com/BSXryENyG9— Internacional Academy. (@YoungsOfInter) September 3, 2020
Christian Cappis is in a tough spot right now and it was made public this week in the Danish media.
The bottom line is that Hobro did not turn in the paperwork for Cappis for his work visa. As a result, Cappis is not in the country legally until he has a hearing and his passport has been taken by Danish authorities. He also cannot train or play with Hobro – which also does not want to sell Cappis either.
Hobro was relegated last season and Cappis, as one of the team’s best players, should have been sold weeks ago. This situation devolved and the club looks very poor here in failing to help out a young foreign player in the process of complying with the legality of working in Denmark. It is a rough situation that needs to be worked out quickly and Cappis needs to be allowed to move on.
There are a few games this weekend from abroad involving American players but mostly that is early-round league cup games in England.
Most of the games involving American players this weekend are on the domestic side here are the top three games we are watching:
LAFC – LA Galaxy
Sunday, 10:30pm EST
The Galaxy were so poor during the MLS is Back tournament, it looked like a team that would struggle to make the playoffs. But Guillermo Barros Schelotto has his team on a three game winning streak and playing nice soccer – all without Chicarito. Instead, it’s been Carlos Pavon, Sebastian Lletget, Efra Alvarez, and Julian Araujo leading the way.
Meanwhile, LAFC has been tough to read as it has not been as dominant as last season and it has really struggled on the defensive end. After losing its first two games since the tournament in Orlando, it broke the streak with a convincing 5-1 win over San Jose.
The games between these two teams are always tough to predict and they can be quite eventful. Earlier this year, LAFC would be the easy favorite. That is far less likely now.
New York RB – Philadelphia Union
Sunday, 7:00pm EST
The Red Bulls fired their manager and will have an interim manager at the helm on Sunday. Will that be enough to get the team to play to its potential? This team struggles mightily to create chances and score these days. These team needs a lot of work long-term but in the short-term the shock of a managerial change might be a quick boost.
Meanwhile, the Union are coming off a disappointing 1-0 loss to Columbus midweek but had won their two previous games. The Union are generally a fun team to watch with no major weaknesses except for its very solid youth contingent is still somewhat inconsistent. But that combined with the murky status of the Red Bulls makes this one unpredictable.
Seattle Sounders – Portland Timbers
Sunday, 10:00pm EST
Portland was the toast of the league in Orlando last month when it won MLS is Back. Since then, however, it has not won a game and has played poorly. It has one point from its last three games and has conceded 10 goals over that span. Its defense has simply not gotten the job done. Plus, it has struggled to adapt to a condensed schedule with an old core of Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco, and Diego Charra.
Seattle has looked like the defending champions with seven points from three games. Jordan Morris is the best American in the league at the moment and it will be interesting to see how he can keep that up in this highly unusual year.