Some very surprising results highlight this week’s MLS action, but let’s get started with some big news out of L.A.
• LAFC Announce Stadium Plan – Push Back Start Date to 2018
Chivas USA replacement LAFC have announced plans to build a $250 million soccer stadium at the Sports Arena site near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in downtown Los Angeles in time for the 2018 MLS season.
That date is a year behind the team’s originally projected start date of 2017, when the new club were set to enter the league along with Atlanta.
Although the 22,000 seat stadium will be eligible for some tax breaks the club says that the stadium will be privately financed. The estimated price has already risen by $100 million in seven months for the project, which also includes restaurants and a soccer museum.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the two groups that need to approve the deal, the Coliseum Commission and the L.A. City Council, are said to be on board.
2) Now About Those Results!
Weekend play kicked off at Yankee Stadium on Friday night with the desperate NYCFC hosting a Chicago Fire team on a two game losing streak of its own.
When the Fire took a 2-0 lead by the 27th minute, 10 man NYC looked like it was headed to a soul crushing loss. But stoppage time goals at the end of the first half and the end of regulation stunned Chicago and gave NYCFC a potentially season saving draw.
Then on Saturday, Montreal crushed Real Salt Lake 4-1. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised about this one, but then again we are not accustomed to seeing RSL struggle like this.
Making matters worse for RSL, this was Montreal’s first win of the season. Of course, the Impact have played just six MLS games in 2015, so their campaign is just getting underway.
The league schedule maker was kind enough to keep Montreal’s load light in deference to the club’s run to the CONCACAF Champions League Final. The Impact came up short against Pachuca, but the experience gained should stand to Montreal as the season progresses and don’t be surprised to see Montreal begin to climb the Eastern Conference standings.
Sunday’s result in Orlando was the shocker of the weekend, with the Lions mauling the defending champion L.A. Galaxy 4-0.
L.A. continue to miss the injured Robbie Keane along with the departed Landon Donovan and Marcelo Sarvas. However, those absences can’t explain the hurting Orlando put on the Galaxy Sunday at the Citrus Bowl.
40,000 fans were on hand to witness Orlando’s first home win, and what a win it was. Goals from Eric Avila and rising rookie sensation Cyle Larin staked the home team to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Surely, Bruce Arena would pull some type of a rabbit out of his hat for the second half. Right? Not really, no. Instead of an L.A. comeback the expansion crew added two goals to set the stunning final scoreline, Orlando SC 4 – Los Angeles Galaxy 0.
3) And What About Clint?
What about him? He just keeps on scoring. Whether it is goals or assists the gunslinger from Nacogdoches keeps racking up points. At least one or the other in his last 10 games.
In Saturday’s 2-0 road wind over first place Vancouver Dempsey assisted on the first of Chad Barrett’s two goals, giving him five helpers and seven goals for the season.
That puts Deuce in a tie with Kei Kamara for the MLS lead in goals and level with four others as the league’s top assist man.
Topping off a fine couple of days for Dempsey, on Sunday the U.S. international had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Seattle Mariners game. How’d he do? He threw a strike of course.
4) San Jose Surprise
The Earthquakes may not go from worst to first in 2015, but they look well on their way to moving up from worst to pretty darn good.
Last year’s last place Western Conference club are currently fourth in the competitive West. Just four points out of first place after Sunday’s 2-0 home win over Columbus.
New coach Dom Kinnear coached the original Earthquakes, before moving with the franchise to Houston. And while Kinnear is new behind this team’s bench, Chris Wondolowski leading the team in goals is reassuringly old hat for the Quakes.
5) Pfeffer Puts U20 World Cup Pain Aside to Win It For Union
Philadelphia’s young midfielder was in the unfortunate position this week of waiting for Gedion. Really, Pfeffer was waiting to see if FIFA would give the all clear for Arsenal super prospect Gedion Zelalem to play for the U.S. in the U20 World Cup.
When Gedion, and U.S. Soccer got the happy news, Pfeffer was left holding a sack full of sadness. How did the 20-year-old Pfeffer respond? Like a pro. Philly’s first ever homegrown product came on as a substitute to score the winning goal in injury time to give struggling Philadelphia a badly need 1-0 win over DC United.
Big 5 Bonus Item
Altidore Out With Hammy
Bad news for Toronto FC and U.S. MNT fans, Jozy Altidore will be out for a while. Altidore limped off after 21 minutes of TFC’s 1-1 draw at New England, and the prognosis is four to five weeks on the shelf for the powerful striker.
You’ll remember that Altidore suffered a similar injury in the opening match of the World Cup against Ghana, an injury that kept cost the Americans their top striker for the rest of the tournament.
This injury will deprive TFC of its goal scoring leader just as Altidore was beginning to sync up nicely with fellow DP’s Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco.
Altidore will also miss upcoming national team friendlies in the Netherlands and Germany, his injury could impact his readiness for July’s Gold Cup.