Voices: Sacha Kljestan

Stock Up, Stock Down: Nashville bounce back, Vancouver deserve more respect


It was a wild weekend in Major League Soccer with lots of goals, red cards and crazy finishes.

Last week, I had Giorgos Giakoumakis and Minnesota United in the Stock Up department and they continued to trend upwards. The Loons beat LAFC at home to stay unbeaten this season, and GG backed up last week's hat trick with a gorgeous assist and an even better golazo from outside the box against Orlando City.

San Jose and New England were in the Stock Down... and their bad starts to the 2024 season got even worse. Both clubs have now started with four straight losses.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC logo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

This team has flown under the radar for too long, but it's time I give them the respect they deserve. After a home draw to start the season, the Whitecaps have gone on the road in back-to-back weeks and thoroughly deserved the six points they have taken.

Brian White picked up his first goal of the season with a great header; same for Fafà Picault. But the play of the game in Saturday's 3-1 win at FC Dallas was the beautiful passing sequence that ended with center back(!) Mathías Laborda finishing from close range to kick off the scoring.

Vancouver head back home with four straight home games, a massive opportunity to take a firm grip on the Western Conference standings early in the season.

The Crew dismantled a surging New York Red Bulls team on Saturday in their most dominant performance of the young season. The defending champs were comfortable on the ball and really dictated things from start to finish, winning 3-0.

Cucho Hernández continued his hot streak with another goal and assist. There might not be a better player in MLS right now, and it's not just the goals and assists – he can do everything.

There isn't a better team in MLS at being exactly who they are and playing in the image of their coach – it's so impressive. Trophies or bust this season for Columbus.

Nashville SC logo
Nashville SC

It's been a quiet start to the season for Nashville, but they finally got Hany Mukhtar and Sam Surridge to start together up top and it paid dividends immediately. Surridge scored a lovely header in the 2-1 win over Charlotte FC.

Four games unbeaten in the league (1W-0L-3D) and getting their best players back on the field is good enough to be trending upwards. When this team is fully healthy, they will always be difficult to beat.

Sporting Kansas City logo
Sporting Kansas City

Similarly to Nashville, Sporting KC have quietly started the season with four games unbeaten (1W-0L-3D).

We always know how they will play in their 4-3-3, and that was on full display with their game-winning goal from Alan Pulido this weekend. From start to finish, it was positional play perfection. They pulled San Jose apart and got Johnny Russell into his spot to go at his defender with speed and momentum, then he set up Pulido perfectly for the finish.

In the 2-1 win, Peter Vermes' team also showed great mentality and fight to come back after going down early.


Three straight games without scoring a goal! For a team with reigning Golden Boot champion Dénis Bouanga, that is not good enough.

This team needs a real No. 9 ASAP. They'll always be dangerous in transition with Bouanga and Cristian Olivera, but they also need to find a way to create chances against a team that sits behind the ball.

This coming Saturday's match against Nashville (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass) will be another test of exactly that. Scoring the first goal in any game will be key for this LAFC team as it will force the opponent to come out and chase the game, leaving room for Bouanga and Co. to punish in transition.

FC Dallas logo
FC Dallas

Three straight losses for FC Dallas and if it wasn't for a late winner from Dante Sealy on opening weekend, this team could be sitting on one point from four games.

The most concerning thing for this squad is head coach Nico Estévez has tweaked things tactically this season and it has taken away from FC Dallas' biggest strength of the last couple of years: being tough defensively and hard to score on.

Dallas have a chance to straighten things out with a weekend off and some extra focus on returning to what made them successful.