MLS Round-Up: Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez On Fire; Revs Sack Jay Heaps As Coach

Reality is biting some Major League Soccer teams in Week 28.

As the end of the 34-game regular season and start of the playoffs approach, teams are coming to terms with their 2017 seasons and taking action based on their presumed outcomes.

This describes the New England Revolution, who fired head coach Jay Heaps on Tuesday in the aftermath of a pair of losses, which ultimately might have doomed their playoff hopes.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, however, we need to do better than the results have shown from the last couple of seasons and this season left us convinced we need to go in a different direction,” Revolution general manager Mike Burns said in a statement.

Heaps became MLS’ fifth coaching casualty in 2017, setting a new league record for one season. Time will tell whether this is an aberration or if accountability is on the rise in MLS.

Elsewhere, Sporting Kansas City will host the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup final. It’s the first major trophy offer this season, and both sides are keen to hoist it.

Here’s what else is happening around MLS.

Latest MLS Scores
Atlanta United 7, New England Revolution 0
Vancouver Whitecaps 3, Minnesota United 0
Atlanta United 3, Orlando City 3
Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Columbus Crew 2
Montreal Impact 2, Minnesota United 3
FC Dallas 0, Seattle Sounders 0
Chicago Fire 3, DC United 0
Sporting Kansas City 3, New England Revolution 1
Colorado Rapids 1, New York City FC 1
Real Salt Lake 2, Portland Timbers 1
Los Angeles Galaxy 0, Toronto FC 4
San Jose Earthquakes 1, Houston Dynamo 0
New York Red Bulls 0, Philadelphia Union 0

Key talking points
Having lost two games by a combined 10-1 score, New England responded to the howls of change in firing Heaps.

The 70,425 fans who watched Atlanta draw Orlando at Mercedes-Benz Stadium represents a new MLS record for a stand-alone game, but Atlanta has to be disappointed having not sent them home celebrating a victory.

FC Dallas won the Supporters Shield (a trophy the team with the most regular-season points takes home) in 2016 but something has gone wrong, and Dallas currently is outside of the playoff reckoning. Dallas’ last win was on July 22 and hasn’t won at home since July 4. Things can change quickly in soccer around the world, and MLS is no exception.

Player of the week
Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez scored back-to-back hat tricks in his team’s win over New England and draw with Orlando. Need we say more?

MLS standings

Top MLS rumors
Premier League clubs Brighton and Crystal Palace made transfer offers for Andre Blake this summer, but Jamaica’s low FIFA ranking prevented the Philadelphia goalkeeper from qualifying for a United Kingdom work permit and sunk his potential move, according to Goal.com.

New York Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence also drew interest from unnamed Premier League and Championship (English second division) clubs, but the same work-permit issues Blake faced would have blocked his transfer, too.

Upcoming MLS games(home team listed first)
Atlanta United vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact, Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. ET
U.S. Open Cup Final: Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls, Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 9 p.m. ET
New York City FC vs. Houston Dynamo, Saturday, Sept. 23, at 3 p.m. ET
New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC, Saturday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Saturday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, Saturday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls, Saturday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas, Saturday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders, Saturday, Sept. 23, at 9:30 p.m. ET
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado Rapids, Saturday, Sept. 23, at 10 p.m. ET
Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m. ET
Atlanta United vs. Montreal Impact, Sunday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers vs. Orlando, Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET

Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images

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