It’s MLS Rivalry Week and with that in mind let’s have a look at our latest MLS Big – 5.
NYCFC Present and Future Collide.
David Villa reached and surpassed the half-century mark when he bagged both goals in New York’s 2-1 win over Seattle in a Yankee Stadium downpour last Saturday.
The 2016 MLS MVP has scored 51 goals in just 79 games sparking talk that El Guaje may be the best MLS player ever.
At the other end of the career spectrum from the 35-year-old Spaniard is 16-year-old James Sands who became the first Homegrown player in NYCFC’s brief history when he put pen to paper on a professional contract on Wednesday.
The young talent impressed NYC brass when he joined the club in preseason, looking not at all out of place alongside veteran Andrea Pirlo in the NYCFC midfield versus Ecuador club Emelec in front of 40,000.
Sands also showed well on international duty with the U.S. U17 side that lost the CONCACAF Final to Mexico on pks. (Sands made his).
The Rye, N.Y. native lined out at center back for the Young Yanks and is likely to do so again at the U17 World Cup in India in October.
2) DC Sign Brown
They say defense wins championships but that old chestnut assumes a certain amount of goals or points, depending on the sport, as DC United are finding out.
With a league-worst 10 goals from 15 games Ben Olsen’s side needs some goals and have acquired Deshorn Brown in hopes that the former Colorado Rapids speedster can provide them.
Brown’s record suggests that he is a good bet to do just that. Brown nabbed 10 goals in both 2013 and 2014 for the Raps before moving onto Valerenga (Norway) where he notched 13 goals in 37 games and then Shenzen (China) where he rang the bell seven times in just 14 appearances.
DC acquired Brown from USL side Tampa Bay after trading with the Houston Dynamo for the number one spot in the Allocation Order.
The swap cost United $100,000 GAM, 75,000 TAM plus a 2018 international player slot. It is a lot to give up but DC is desperate for goals and if Brown finds the target with any regularity United followers will call this a bargain.
3) Mid-Week Results
It was a wild Wednesday night across Major League Soccer with simultaneous and overlapping matches taking place across the country.
As seen in item two DC United needed goals and the two they scored Wednesday against Atlanta was enough to edge Atlanta.
Newcomer Deshorn Brown saw 27 minutes off of the bench in his United debut and didn’t figure in the scoring. In the end, this DC victory came down to goalkeeping.
Atlanta United keeper Alec Kann made an awful mistake to gift DC an equalizer through Luciano Acosta after Julian Gressel had given Atlanta the lead.
DC then went ahead on a Patrick Nyarko goal and that lead was preserved by Bill Hamid when the DC netminder saved spectacularly on the final kick of the game from Atlanta’s Josef Martinez.
Minnesota broke out of a three-match goalless streak to beat the Timbers 3-2. It was an eventful night for Abu Danladi, the first pick in the 2017 MS SuperDraft. The Minnesota attacker scored his second MLS goal in the 64th minute, just six minutes before the rookie was handed a straight red card along with Portland’s Sebastian Blanco.
Colorado was the lone home side to lose on Wednesday, falling 3-1 to rude guests Los Angeles. Jack McBean was the story of the night for the Galaxy, scoring his first goals since 2013. Dillon Serna nabbed the Rapids goal, a good sign for the talented but injury riddled player.
With a Cascadia rivalry match coming up on Sunday Seattle does not have much time to lick its wounds but Wednesday’s tie with Orlando will take some time to shake as Orlando scored on the last action of the match to swipe two unlikely points.
A needless Roman Torres foul gave the Lions the late, late chance and Orlando capitalized when Scott Sutter nodded home a driven free kick from Kaka to stun the hosts.
Will Bruin scored his fifth of the season to give Seattle the lead in the 19th minute but we now know how that turned out. In an exciting game, special note should be made of the goalkeepers, Stefan Frei (Seattle) and Joe Bendik (Orlando) each of whom were outstanding.
4) Canada Controversy
The first leg of the Canadian Championship two-hander between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC took place Wednesday night in Montreal with both coaches fielding strong teams despite the crowded fixture list.
The controversy in this 1-1 draw came in the 30th minute when TFC scored the equalizer while Impact defender Daniel Lovitz lay on the ground in the 18-yard box looking for help from the officials.
Lovitz had collided with Toronto’s Steven Beitashour but it was not a head injury, so the game continued. Montreal coach Mario Biello wasn’t happy. “Obviously I was disappointed and I let the fourth official know, and it’s incredible,” Biello said.
Biello would have liked TFC to play the ball out of bounds and offered this to chew on for the second leg.
“That’s the choice they made, and if it happens our way, we’re going to know how to react too.”
5) Galaxy 2
Much has been written about the new look Galaxy as the team appeared to be moving on from the big names of the past to, well we weren’t sure.
Younger international veterans like Giovani Dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini both 28 and Joao Pedro, 24 are one part of the model and there are still vets like Ashley Cole and Jermaine Jones around but Wednesday’s night’s 3-1 win at Colorado reminded us not to overlook the Galaxy development system.
We have heard for years about the rich vein of Southern California talent that the Galaxy was set to mine only for the Galaxy to sideline that talent behind the likes of a faded Steven Gerrard.
And while one game is not enough to proclaim a philosophical turnaround it is worth noting that six Americans were in the L.A. starting lineup against the Rapids and Bradford Jamieson IV came off the bench to earn a penalty kick to set up the third Galaxy goal. This after Jack McBean scored twice for L.A.
A further look finds 18 California-born players on the Galaxy’s 27 men first team roster.
None of this is to suggest that the Galaxy’s days of chasing big names is over, especially with flashy new neighbors LAFC coming on board next season.
Still, from a U.S. soccer development point of view, this is encouraging news and we will be watching to see if former Galaxy II coach Curt Onalfo continues this mini trend.