Weekend Recap: Analyzing the Philadelphia Union’s attack, stars shine in the NWSL, USL, and more

Quick Hits
  • MLS: It’s time to talk about the Philadelphia Union
  • NWSL: Stars to watch during the NWSL’s playoff race
  • USL: MVP candidates put in game-changing performances

We’re back with another edition of the Weekend Recap. Every Monday, we make it easier for you to keep up with the most interesting and important things in American soccer.

Today, we’re taking you through some of the past weekend’s key storylines, including the Philadelphia Union’s attacking outburst, stars impacting the NWSL’s playoff race, and MVP candidates putting on a show in the USL.

MLS

Lowery: It’s time to talk about the Philadelphia Union

It wasn’t long ago that Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union were talking about needing something more. Or, really, someone more. 

“What we are missing right now is that one player to make a play. Maybe it’s beat a guy or change how the defense is playing us,” Curtin, Philadelphia’s head coach, said in June. “We’re a little bit safe and stagnant to play against,” he added later.

After Philadelphia’s 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati on June 18 – their eighth draw through 15 games – Curtin made it clear that he wanted a playmaker. Not a box-crashing No. 10 like Daniel Gazdag. A true chance creator. But the summer transfer window came and went without any major players arriving in Philly, let alone an attacking game-changer. 

Even without any key summer signings, the Philadelphia Union are scoring goals by the truckload[Subscribe] [Read]

NWSL

Cascone: Stars are impacting the NWSL’s playoff race

The NWSL playoffs are on the horizon, people. After the weekend’s set of games, most teams have between four and five games left to play…unless we’re talking about North Carolina (7), NJ/NY Gotham FC (6), or Angel City FC (6). 

Our focus today isn’t on the team-level, though. No, we’re taking a look at a few key players to watch during the NWSL’s playoff race that has the top six teams separated by just five points.

Megan Rapinoe, OL Reign

The OL Reign are in fifth place in the league with 27 points and a 7W-6D-4L record. And while there have been question marks surrounding this team’s ability to build a cohesive attack that generates goals, it seems like they’re finally clicking.

Megan Rapinoe is a big reason why[Subscribe] [Read]

USL

Morrissey: MVP candidates put in game-changing performances

With barely a month left in the USL Championship season, it’s a good time to take stock of the MVP race. This weekend saw some of the top contenders for the league’s most prestigious award put in game-changing performances. 

Let’s run through my top five.

Rodrigo Lopez, Sacramento Republic

With seven assists, including the game-winning assist this weekend against Oakland, and 48 chances created, a top-ten tally in the USL Championship, Rodrigo Lopez is one of the elite creators in the league. The veteran midfielder sits to the left of the striker, bunkering into the midfield if the Republic need a defensive boost or a helping hand in possession. His timing for late runs into the box in attack is also unmatched. The U.S. Open Cup run shouldn’t factor into the USL MVP race, but Lopez has been a star in that competition while leading Sacramento to a respectable fourth in the Western Conference...[Subscribe] [Read]

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