Voices: Sacha Kljestan

Stock Up, Stock Down: Inter Miami take flight, New York City need answers


Another week of Major League Soccer is in the books.

The parity in this league is crazy – it's so hard to predict what will happen on any given weekend. Through two games, not one team out of 29 had six points! NOT ONE!

It's still so early in the season, so it's hard to pass judgment on what teams really are at this point. But we have to anyway! Stock Up, Stock Down time.


This section could be about Inter Miami as a whole, but Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez were the stars of Saturday's 5-0 rout in the Florida Derby.

Messi got two goals and an assist to bring him to 3g/3a through three games. And how he scored was just breathtaking. The first one came with his chest while three Orlando City defenders scrambled on the goal line, then the second was a sublime header at the back post. Yes, we are used to seeing Messi score beautiful goals. But he's relentless in his pursuit of winning games and he has started the season on fire.

Suárez, on the other hand, had a lot of questions coming into this season. He quieted a lot of critics, myself included, with a classic Suárez performance – two well-taken goals and two superb assists. This is the Luis Suárez that Inter Miami fans have been expecting and he delivered big time in a derby game.

It's clear these two players have a natural connection on and off the field. Will anyone be able to slow them down this season?

Toronto FC logo
Toronto FC

The only team in MLS yet to concede a goal this season! For a team that finished dead last in 2023 while giving up 59 goals, and didn't win a single away match last season, this is a remarkable start under new head coach John Herdman.

Toronto FC went to New England and took the three points (1-0 win) after Lorenzo Insigne's deft chip to the far post upper corner and strong play from goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

This undefeated start follows GM Jason Hernandez making some smart signings in the last few weeks, and fans in Toronto should be excited as it looks like the players have bought into Herdman's playing style. Positive results early in the season reinforce that belief for the players, creating a bright start to 2024 for the Reds.

I have to be honest: I didn't know what to expect from CF Montréal this season. But the early returns from new head coach Laurent Courtois have been fantastic.

After a week-one performance where they took a point in Orlando but could have even stolen all three late, Montréal went to Dallas and brought home all three points with a 2-1 win. Josef Martínez scored a vintage Josef goal to seal the result and Montréal have four points from two away games.

Montréal still play their next four on the road before finally getting their home opener, but any points you can pick up away from home at this point in the season are very valuable. And I'll say it again: getting wins early in the season while building your playing style and philosophy… that goes a long way in convincing the players that you're on the right track. Courtois and Montréal are doing that so far in abundance.

My Gs supporters weren't happy with me because I wasn't ready to brand the Galaxy "back" last week after a 1-1 home draw against Inter Miami. But I am trending in that direction now.

The Galaxy went to San Jose and smashed the Earthquakes to bring the three points back to LA (3-1 win). This was supposed to be a rivalry game, but the Galaxy took full control from the first whistle. Joseph Paintsil was dangerous, Riqui Puig was everywhere on the pitch, and Dejan Joveljic put himself in good positions for a goal and an assist.

Greg Vanney finally has the right pieces to attack the way he wants to attack and things are looking good for the Galaxy. New Japanese defender Miki Yamane has been very good as well. The right back has formed a great partnership with his compatriot Maya Yoshida.

It's exciting times for the Gs and they should be favored to win again on the road against Nashville this coming Sunday (3 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

Orlando City SC logo
Orlando City SC

Orlando City got the beatdown last weekend at Inter Miami and it was ugly.

But it's not just the 5-0 scoreline – the performance was completely opposite of what we come to expect from Oscar Pareja's team. The defense was so disorganized, leaving holes everywhere for Messi, Suárez and Julian Gressel to exploit. There were simple turnovers in midfield that led directly to counterattacks and goal-scoring chances as well. The attack finally showed some glimpses in the second half of being dynamic, but they still couldn't get that final touch.

Zero goals scored after two games has me scratching my head over picking this team to win the Supporters' Shield. Pareja will be hard at work this week to ensure he doesn't see a performance like that from the Lions again this season.

New York City FC logo
New York City FC

Aside from Orlando, New York City FC are the only other team in MLS through two games that's yet to score a goal.

Again, it's not just the scoreline but the performance as well. NYCFC have not looked dangerous creating chances through the first two games. To make things worse, we are seeing the frustration already boiling over on the pitch. Santi Rodríguez was clearly not happy to be substituted off this weekend and was seen shouting in the face of an assistant coach; you can't do that. Then James Sands, the leader of this young team, gets sent off for kicking out after being tackled.

Head coach Nick Cushing has to try to correct things as soon as possible in New York City or the frustration will continue to rise.