In another busy week of MLS action the Tim Howard incident goes straight to the top of this week’s MLS Big – 5.
1) Howard Banned
U.S. MNT legend Tim Howard lost his cool during and after Colorado’s 3-1 loss at Kansas City, resulting in a three-game suspension for the Rapids keeper. Howard was seen and heard on camera cursing out a couple of “fans” and also allegedly grabbed another by the arm afterward.
There is no video of the alleged grabbing and the MLS Player’s Association issued the following statement on Howard’s behalf earlier this week.
“We are disappointed with the league’s handling of the situation involving the Kansas City fans and Tim Howard,” the statement said. “Following the incidents, which involved a verbal exchange with a fan, as well as an altercation after the game, Tim acknowledged his culpability and responsibility for his role. However, he is the only one involved to do so.
“Although the Players Union and Tim acknowledge that his conduct was inappropriate, there is further context that should not be lost.
“MLS has a detailed Fan Code of Conduct in place under which fans are expected to be respectful to each other and to players, and are prohibited from engaging in disorderly behavior, including obscene or abusive language.
“The fans involved repeatedly, routinely and openly violated that Code of Conduct, without any repercussions. It is thus not surprising that there was a reaction from the player.”
Howard sat out the first game of his suspension Saturday night, a 2-1 home loss to Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake.
2) Viva Villa!
The reigning MLS MVP made a bid for Goal of the Year with an audacious goal from 50 plus yards in New York City FC’s 2-0 win over winless Philadelphia.
Jack Harrison had already shot NYC into the lead with a 52nd-minute strike and the toothless hosts’ weren’t much of a threat but, still. Brilliant stuff from Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer.
3) A Pair with a Brace
First to Vancouver where one time Seattle golden boy Freddy Montero returned to haunt his former fans and employers with a pair of headed goals in Friday night’s 2-1 victory at Montero’s new home.
The Colombian striker left Seattle for Sporting Club Portugal in 2013 before hopping on the money train to China. Montero is on loan with the Whitecaps. With three goals in the young season, Montero’s return to Cascadia seems to be going as planned.
Our second brace of the MLS week comes from Chicago striker Nemanja Nikolic who was brought to the Windy City, well its suburbs, to score goals and with four in six games the Hungarian international DP is earning his keep for a Chicago team that looks to be on the rise.
4) Real Madrid is Coming!
Bayern Munich couldn’t handle them so what chance do the MLS All-Stars have? We’ll find out on August 2, when Ronaldo and co. face the All-Stars at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Recent results have not been bad for the North Americans, who surprised Bayern by a 2-1 scoreline in 2014 and Tottenham a year later by the same margin before succumbing to Arsenal last year by, you guessed it, a 2-1 score in San Jose.
Soldier Field’s 60,000 plus capacity could be tested for the star-studded Madridistas, especially if Real can go on and claim the 2017 Champions League.
5) The Future’s So Bright MLS has Gotta Wear Shades
Well, that may be a slight exaggeration but results from MLS Academies playing at the recent Dallas Cup certainly give reason for optimism.
First, FC Dallas’ much-praised youth set up became the first MLS Academy side to claim the prestigious U18 Gordon Jago Super Group Championship knocking off Mexico’s Monterrey 2-1 to do it.
Dallas was led by a trio of Homegrown professionals in Paxton Pomykal, Reggie Cannon, and Jesus Ferreira.
Third year MLS club NYCFC also got in on the action with its U16 team claiming the first piece of silverware in the club’s brief history, taking first place in the Generation adidas Cup Premier Division.
One of NYC’s most prominent performers throughout the tournament was Gio Reyna. If that name is familiar to you, it should be. Claudio Reyna is Gio’s father and the parent club’s Director of Football Operations. The senior Reyna was also one of the U.S. MNT’s best ever players and longtime captain.