6 Things We Learned from Week 24 in Major League Soccer (2021)

| September 13, 2021 3:02 pm PDT

As expected, Week 24 of the 2021 MLS season dished up tons of talking points.

The Revs maintained their mammoth 14-point lead in the East with a 2-1 victory over NYCFC, Inter Miami continued their remarkable revival by downing the struggling Crew, while Houston finally snapped a seemingly never-ending 16-match winless streak.

But that is just the beginning.

There were a number of standout individual performances, too, with both MLS veterans and newcomers producing eye-catching displays. Tajon Buchanan, Cristian Arango, and Ola Kamara all get mentioned.

So, without further ado, join me as I discuss six things, we learned from Week 24 in Major League Soccer.

Toronto FC Can’t Stop Losing

Just when it looked as though things couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Reds, they go and suffer a humiliating 2-0 defeat to FC Cincinnati.

To make matter worse, Toronto and Cincy have been battling it out at the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the entirety of the campaign. But following Saturday’s loss, the Canadians find themselves five points adrift.

TFC’s losing streak now stands at five games, with defeats to New England, Atlanta, Inter Miami, and Montreal coming in the lead-up to Week 24.

When you look at the bigger picture, the Reds are currently enduring an eight-match winless run and have only managed to win one of their previous 11 outings. As a result, they have the lowest points total across both conferences.

Believe it or not, Toronto has already experienced a longer losing streak this year – suffering six straight defeats between May and July. That run led to the firing of Chris Armas, leaving Javier Perez to the reins.

Good luck, Javier! I think you’re going to need it.

Tajon Buchanan Is Destined for Greatness

If you follow Major League Soccer, you probably don’t need me to tell you that Tajon Buchanan is a special talent. I mean, Belgian giant Club Brugge would not have paid $7 million for the 22-year-old if he wasn’t a good player.

But just in case we all needed reminding, the New England winger scored another spectacular goal in Week 24.

After receiving a neat pass from MVP frontrunner Carles Gil, Buchanan curled the ball from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner of the net – earning his side a 2-1 victory over New York City.

The Canadian prodigy has scored six goals in his last ten games for club and country, underlining his undeniable talent. In terms of the season, he has bagged seven goals and five assists in 18 MLS appearances.

The Revs now sit a whopping 14 points clear at the Eastern Conference summit and are on course to clinch their first-ever Supporters’ Shield. It goes without saying that Buchanan has played a pivotal role in the club’s remarkable campaign.

The Western Conference Playoff Race Is Hot

The Eastern Conference standings are really starting to take shape. Over the West, however, the battle for a playoff spot is set to go right down to the wire.

The top three – Seattle (45 points), Sporting KC (43 points), and Colorado (42 points) – are in a league of their own; LA Galaxy (37 points), is also in a strong position. But it feels like anything could happen.

With fifth-place Portland (33 points) and eleventh-place Dallas (26 points) separated by just seven points, a whole host of teams will fancy their chances of finishing in the top seven.

Minnesota (31 points), RSL (30 points), LAFC (30 points), Vancouver (29 points), and San Jose (27 points) are all in the chasing pack.

As we approach the business end of the season, expect to see a tense fight for playoff places in the West. Don’t be surprised if one or two big names miss out.

Cristian Arango Can Be LAFC’s Star Man

When Diego Rossi left Los Angeles FC for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce earlier this month, it felt like Bob Bradley’s team would suffer. I mean, the Uruguayan won the Golden Boot last year, so replacing his goals should be tricky.

With Carlos Vela out of action, too, LAFC’s forward line has taken a couple of big blows of late.

Thankfully, the club signed Cristian Arango just before Rossi’s departure.

If his opening displays in LA are anything to go by, Arango could be the Black & Gold’s next star.

The 26-year-old Colombian took his tally to four goals in six MLS appearances in Week 24, netting a match-winning double in LAFC’s 3-2 victory over Real Salt Lake. Naturally, the fans are already chanting his name.

Arango scored 22 goals in 58 games for Colombian side Millonarios, following spells in Portugal with Benfica, Aves, and Tondela. In my eyes, he is primed to thrive in Major League Soccer.

Houston Dynamo Finally Wins a Soccer Match

Yep, that’s right – Houston has FINALLY won a game of soccer!

I wouldn’t be surprised if supporters of the Dynamo were beginning to think that their team may never taste victory again. After all, the Texans failed to win a single match between May 30 and September 4 – recording eight draws and eight losses in the process.

However, Houston eventually snapped their 16-game winless streak on Saturday – beating Austin FC 3-0.

When Griffin Dorsey gave his team the lead inside the very first minute of the match, the Dynamo had a perfect foundation to build upon. Fifa Picault then scored either side of half-time to hand the Texans a convincing victory.

There is no hiding from the fact that Houston remains second from bottom in the West. Still, Saturday’s win has given the club something to cheer about, at least.

Ola Kamara Is DC United’s Saviour (Again)

DC United finished second from bottom in the Eastern Conference last year, winning just five of their 23 games. Fast-forward to today – the club is in a much healthier position.

Having plated the same number of matches, the Black-and-Red have nine wins to their name.

As a result, they find themselves sixth in the standings and in control of their own playoff destiny.

Of course, new head coach Hernan Losada must be given huge credit for DC’s upturn, while players like Yordy Reyna, Julian Gressel, and Tony Alfaro have been immense on the field. But one man deserves more praise than anyone else.

Ola Kamara scored AGAIN in Week 24, earning his team a draw with the Red Bulls. The Norwegian striker has now scored 13 goals in 17 MLS matches this year, with 12 of those goals coming in his last 13 appearances.

If the Black-and-Red do end up making the playoffs, they will have a lot to thank Kamara for.

Looking Ahead to the Midweek MLS Action

Week 24 in the 2021 MLS season may have only just finished, but Week 25 is right around the corner.

We have a full midweek schedule of MLS action to get our teeth into this week, with three games on Tuesday and a further eight matches on Wednesday.

Toronto will aim to snap a five-game losing streak when Inter Miami comes to town, while Houston will go in search of back-to-back wins against the Galaxy. In fact, all 11 encounters carry some sort of significance.

Make sure you tune in later this week as I go over all the big talking points from Week 25.

To stay up to date with the latest MLS news, bookmark our sports news page.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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