LA Galaxy unstoppable? Kamara rages, Morris and Jones continue to shine
An eventful weekend in MLS gave us more than a few things to talk about, including disharmony in Columbus, LA's attacking output and Jordan Morris' excellent form.
Kei Kamara vs. Federico Higuain
Teams, even the successful ones, are not always perfect in their internal camaraderie. The best teams can feature some pretty noxious relationships -- internal competition is fierce among individuals conditioned to fight and scrap for every bit of success -- but the truth is that teammates need not be friends to play well together.
Overcoming dressing-room discord is usually just a matter of winning. Winning covers all types of ills, including players whose personalities clash. Bad teams have bad chemistry because they're bad; good teams appear to have good chemistry because they win. If the winning stops, any issues behind the scenes are bound to float to the surface.
Which brings us to Columbus Crew SC. Despite scoring four goals at home on Sunday, Columbus couldn't hang on for a much-needed win against the visiting Montreal Impact. What should have been three points turned into one with a 4-4 draw, leading to some postmatch venting on the part of star striker Kei Kamara.
Kamara called teammate Federico Higuain "selfish" for taking a penalty in the 53rd minute that would have given Kamara a hat trick had he scored. He then doubled down on the criticism by pointing out that he doesn't need Higuain to score goals, and that the pair don't have much chemistry on the field.
Columbus' troubles run deep, and we can now add public animosity between two designated players to the growing list of potentially season-destroying problems.
A galaxy of weapons
All-action striker Robbie Keane returned to the LA Galaxy lineup on Sunday after missing nearly two months with a knee injury and scored twice in a 4-2 win over the New England Revolution. But with questions swirling as to how the LA lineup could accommodate Keane and Giovani dos Santos, the Mexican star continued his blistering form with a contender for goal of the year. Steven Gerrard has also faced questions over whether he would ever show enough flashes of his old self to justify the hefty contract handed to him by the Galaxy, but he came on a substitute to score on a clever chip and seal the game.
All of that, and we haven't even talked about Gyasi Zardes' contributions (two assists).
It wasn't as easy as it might sound for LA, however. The Revolution came storming back in the second half and came within the woodwork of bringing the game level on a number of occasions. Galaxy boss Bruce Arena still has plenty to work out when it comes to the balance of his team, because while throwing on a host of top-tier attacking players looks good on paper and makes sense when the goals are coming, good teams will find ways to exploit the gaps left at the back and punish LA through the midfield.
For now, though, with its full complement of talent available, LA looks nearly unstoppable.
Morris breaks the fourth wall
Remember when the Seattle Sounders' Jordan Morris was a first-year pro struggling to live up to lofty expectations placed on him by fans, the media and Jurgen Klinsmann? Remember when coach Sigi Schmid suggested Morris needed a breather to give him a chance to adjust to the responsibilities placed on him by a team working through its own adjustment period?
If it doesn't seem like all that long ago, that's because it wasn't. The furor over Morris' inability to score on MLS defenses popped up a month into the season, then carried through most of April.
Here we are in May, and things are quite a bit different. After scoring an insurance goal in Seattle's 2-0 win over the Earthquakes on Saturday, Morris has put the ball in the net in four consecutive games, a streak that ties him for the best scoring streak by a rookie in MLS history.
More importantly for the Sounders, Morris is clearly playing with confidence. With his considerable talents, that confidence has been enough to help him adjust and find his scoring stride just when Seattle needed it most.
Grasping for answers during a disastrous six-game winless streak, Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle finally broke the glass and gave Erick "Cubo" Torres his first start of the season. The Mexican international rewarded his boss' newfound faith with an assist for what proved to be Giles Barnes' winning goal.
Does this mean we'll see more of Torres at the top of the Dynamo lineup? Coyle has preferred Will Bruin in that spot and brought on Bruin to replace Torres 12 minutes into the second half, but perhaps we'll finally get to see what Torres can do in Houston.
Keeping up with Jones
Colorado beat Real Salt Lake on Saturday to stay atop the Western Conference standings and did it on the back of yet another Jermaine Jones goal. Jones now has three goals for the Rapids since debuting after a six-game suspension to start the season, each of those goals sending his team to a big victory.
What Jones is doing in Colorado is remarkable and only underscores his unique ability to individually affect a team. Jones's scoring exploits even prompted a joke (we think) from USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
new #9 now?? https://t.co/2q5A2nKeJB- Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) May 9, 2016
The Rapids looked much-improved before Jones arrived in the team, but with him patrolling the midfield, they look like a very real contender for honours in 2016.
Team of the Week
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.