Voices: Sacha Kljestan

Stock Up, Stock Down: Chicago Fire look inspired, St. Louis have sophomore slump


The summer of soccer is upon us and it's glorious – Euro 2024, Copa América and of course the MLS regular season rolls on.

Inter Miami, without Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, went into Philadelphia and got the most impossible, most improbable and most surprising win of the season. It wasn't because their two goal-scorers were missing, but because they did it with nine men after seeing two players sent off in the second half.

Let's take stock of the rest of the bunch after Matchday 20.


What more can I say about LAFC? It's now eight straight wins across all competitions after going to hot and humid Orlando and grinding out a 3-1 win.

LAFC finally gave up a goal for the first time in nearly 550 league minutes, but Denis Bouanga was again the star of the show, getting two goals and an assist. Don't count him out in the Golden Boot race as he aims to go back-to-back.

Solid defensively, good in possession, good in transition and with a dangerous goal-scorer, LAFC look like the Supporters' Shield favorite.

This is surely the first time I have the Chicago Fire in the Stock Up part of my column after quite a few weeks in the Stock Down section.

But after a 4-1 thumping of Toronto FC, Frank Klopas' team is four games unbeaten with back-to-back wins. All of this has coincided with Xherdan Shaqiri away from the team, representing Switzerland at the Euros. Coincidence? I think not. Chicago must find a solution to move on from Shaqiri this summer.

The way Chicago played this weekend was inspiring and impressive. It was refreshing to see them throwing numbers into attack with some beautiful patterns of play.

New England, another team that spent the first half of the season in the Stock Down section, find themselves on a three-game winning streak.

Caleb Porter has searched for ways to get his team to play better, and we are finally seeing the best of the Revs. Carles Gil was fantastic in Saturday's 3-2 win over Vancouver, Giacomo Vrioni got a well-taken goal, and Noel Buck made the most of his start by scoring a banger.

With nine teams making the playoffs per conference, the Revs have the talent to make a run after being stuck in the East basement for much of 2024.

Philadelphia Union logo
Philadelphia Union

This is not the Philadelphia Union we have grown accustomed to seeing over the last five years.

Playing against nine men after Inter Miami had two players sent off, the Union inexplicably left themselves wide open at the back and conceded a stoppage-time game-winner to Leo Afonso. Insert face-palm emoji here.

In their last seven games at Subaru Park, the Union have two draws and five losses. That is not even close to good enough to be a contender in MLS. Jim Curtin has to find ways to get the best out of what he's got, especially with Julián Carranza reportedly on his way to Feyenoord.

It has been a rough sophomore season for Bradley Carnell's men. Fortunately, they are bringing in some reinforcements when the summer transfer window opens on July 18.

They need more quality in the final third right now and it looks like the frustration in attack is starting to boil over. This was apparent last weekend at FC Dallas, as goalkeeper Roman Bürki (!) took it upon himself to shoot from 40 yards out late in the 2-0 defeat.

Winless in their last six games, CITY SC have lost four and drawn two.