A handful of games into the season, two teams remain winless in Major League Soccer while three others are undefeated.
Clubs are at the point in the year where they have been able to see where they are and what they have — and whether changes are in order.
The Philadelphia Union are struggling with no wins, three losses and a pair of draws. Their winless streak spans 12 regular-season MLS games dating back to last season.
The Union fell 3-1 last weekend at home to the Portland Timbers.
“Tough time right now,” coach Jim Curtin said afterward. “We have to find a way to fight and stick together and turn things around. It takes one win to get back on track. We do have quality within our group. There’s belief in our group and it’s just a tough time right now. We need to turn it around.”
Philadelphia made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference last season but fell in the knockout round to Toronto. The Union have potential, with midfielder Alejandro Bedoya and defender Keegan Rosenberry, but they’ve allowed nine goals, which is tied for most in the East.
Last season, Montreal finished fifth in the Eastern Conference standings then played through to the conference final, where the team lost to Canadian rival Toronto.
The Impact lost their second game of the season 2-0 last Friday against the LA Galaxy in Southern California. Montreal’s Marco Donadel was sent off with a red card in the 44th minute and Montreal played a man down the rest of the way.
The Impact have three draws and two losses. To be fair, they’re without arguably their best player, Ignacio Piatti, who has a groin injury.
“There’s always concerns (over what) we need to improve at and get better at. We tied our last two road games and we felt that we could have come out of the Chicago game with a win. We know it’s a long season and now it’s about getting that first win and going from there,” coach Mauro Biello said.
FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City have not dropped a game this season. Dallas, however, got stung by a loss to Pachuca in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. The team rebounded with a 2-0 victory over expansion Minnesota in MLS play last Saturday.
“Losses and wins are things that happen in soccer. The loss will help us for what we will face in future games and the rest of the season. We will continue to work in the best way possible to keep getting points,” Dallas midfielder Michael Barrios said.
The most interesting of the undefeateds this season is Toronto, which went to the MLS Cup championship last season against the Seattle Sounders. The Reds have one win and four draws, which makes them undefeated but still sitting at ninth in the East.
Toronto defender Drew Moore looked at the bright side.
“We’re undefeated and it is a long season. These are the moments, early in the season, to fix some of the things that we need to be better at. I think overall we are still very confident and we feel good about where we are,” Moore said.
GAME OF THE WEEK: The Timbers sit atop the West with a league-best four wins so far this season. They also lead MLS with 16 goals, including five apiece from Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri. But on Saturday night in Portland, the Timbers face a considerable challenge in Sporting Kansas City, which has allowed just two goals this season.
BEST OF THE REST: The Vancouver Whitecaps and the Seattle Sounders open Cascadia Cup play with a match at BC Place on Friday night. The Cascadia Cup is a fan-created trophy that celebrates the regional rivalry between the Sounders, Whitecaps and Timbers.
Awarded on points, the Whitecaps won the cup last season on goal differential after all three teams finished the regular season 3-3-0 against each other.
HONORS: Real Salt Lake’s Albert Rusnak won the league’s Player of the Week award after scoring a pair of goals in a snowstorm at home in Real Salt Lake’s 3-0 victory over Vancouver on Saturday.
ON THE MOVE: LA Galaxy goalkeeper Dan Kennedy has announced his retirement after 10 MLS seasons. A 2012 All-Star, Kennedy has also played with the New York MetroStars, Chivas USA and FC Dallas. He finishes with 485 saves and 33 shutouts in 163 career games.
Kennedy will take over as an analyst for Galaxy radio broadcasts, while also working in youth programming and development in the team’s front office.
FINAL WORD: The elusive orange ball made a second appearance this season. Salt Lake’s snowy 3-0 win over Vancouver in Sandy, Utah, forced RSL to break out the orange ball for the first time in club history.
The ball, used in snow because it’s more visible than the league’s white ball, was also used earlier this season in the Minnesota United’s home opener against fellow expansion team Atlanta.
According to MLS, the last time the orange ball was used was April 16, 2016, for a Colorado Rapids match against the Red Bulls in Commerce City, Colorado. It was also used twice in 2014, both times in Colorado.