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Tenorio: Time to take Toronto seriously as MLS Cup contender

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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The final third

Frustrating Revs: New England has to be one of the most confounding teams in MLS. That’s what I tweeted on Saturday and this was one of the responses from a fan, @Dylan_M_Curtis: “As a fan it’s pretty straight forward. Each week I get my hopes up, and each week I’m let down.”

New England was in the Eastern Conference finals just two seasons ago, but it feels like the Revs are not getting enough out of an attacking group that includes a cluster of players who have been grouped into the “bright, young talents” discussion for years.

Outside of Diego Fagundez (2 goals, 2 assists), there simply hasn’t been enough production out of the likes of Charlie Davies (1 goal, 0 assists), Kelyn Rowe (1 goal, 0 assists), Lee Nguyen (1 goal, 0 assists), Teal Bunbury (1 goal, 0 assists) and Juan Agudelo (0 goals, 1 assist). 

Revs fans should be less worried about Nguyen, who is the focus of other teams, but they’ll need more out of the rest of that group this year. And they desperately need to string together a pair of strong performances.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Who will step up for New England? (Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Props to Orlando: One thing I learned while covering Orlando City for the Orlando Sentinel: never underestimate the benchmarks set by that club.

Outside of missing the playoffs last season, Orlando City rarely misses. People doubted they could fill the Citrus Bowl. They did it. Twice. So when they set a goal of breaking the NWSL attendance record for the Orlando Pride season opener, I figured it would happen.

A record-crowd of 23,403 fans were at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday night to see the Pride’s first-ever win, 3-1 over the Houston Dash. That Orlando market is an important one.

It’s real: OK, Rapids. We believe now. 

After watching Colorado’s 3-1 win over Seattle on Saturday night, it’s getting tougher to deny that Colorado is for real this season. The result tied them for most wins in MLS this season (five), and they are doing so against quality sides.

Jermaine Jones has provided a palpable lift to this team, and it should come as no surprise. Talking to players who have lined up with Jones, his professionalism, intensity and competitiveness in training and games sets a tone for his team. We’ve seen it before. It’s one of the reasons Jurgen Klinsmann loves him so much. 

Jones has scored in consecutive games and the Rapids are rolling. Oh, and Tim Howard arrives in July.

Rapid fire:

** Props to MLSSoccer.com’s Matt Doyle, who predicted Kaká’s injury woes this season. Orlando City’s Brazilian superstar missed just six games all of last season. He’s missed four games already this year. 

** This is stating the obvious, but that was a massive win for Vancouver over FC Dallas as they try to keep pace in the West. Imagine how different the game might have been if Fabian Castillo finished off his early opportunity as Dallas dominated in the first half (and David Ousted was brilliant), but that’s just the type of win that can put you on a run in MLS. 

We’ll see if the Whitecaps capitalize.

Not to be critical of you people, but you get too nutty at the beginning of the season about what’s going on.”

- LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena

** Philadelphia’s C.J. Sapong (four goals) is playing very well right now, but does he deserve a U.S. national team call-up? In any other year, maybe so, but it’s a tough year to bring new faces into the program with the Copa America Centenario. Well …

** … except for Christian Pulisic, who is proving he deserves a spot on the roster and maybe a spot in the starting XI. Pulisic scored for a second consecutive week for Borussia Dortmund, and the teenager should slot in perfectly on the right wing for the U.S., with Fabian Johnson on the left. 

** On a non-soccer note, I’ve hit de Quay, Duck DuckGoat, Monteverde and Roister since returning to Chicago. What a food city. The winner? While I’m a huge Peking duck fan and it wasn’t bad at Duck Duck Goat, the prosciutto butter toast at Monteverde was the best dish I’ve had at a restaurant in a long time. 

Non-soccer read of the week: deep-dive profile of Tiger Woods by the great Wright Thompson. 

Soccer read of the week: I get that people think there is automatically more pressure when playing pro in Europe, but that simply isn’t the case. Pressure is created by the environment, and Michael Bradley has taken on more of it by returning to MLS to play for Toronto FC. This was a good read from the Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson. 

Quote of the week: “Not to be critical of you people, but you get too nutty at the beginning of the season about what’s going on.” – L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena. 

Guilty as charged, Bruce.

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Paul Tenorio is a reporter for FourFourTwo. Follow him on Twitter @PaulTenorio.