It is three weeks in now and MLS season 23 is beginning to get its legs under itself. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s still too early to draw many conclusions but there are still some things to discuss. Like how about this for starters!
1) IBRA to LA!
It has been talked about for what feels like forever and now Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl is reporting that the wait is finally over and that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is winging his way to L.A. to become the latest star to join the Los Angeles Galaxy.
According to the SI report, the Galaxy has gotten themselves quite a financial deal in freeing the Swiss legend from Manchester United bench, with Ibra agreeing to a two-year deal worth just $3 million.
Zlatan hasn’t played much since returning to the United panel after recovering from a serious injury but it is not too difficult to imagine the showman that is ZLATAN! pulling out all the stops and finishing his career on a high note amidst the glamor of Tinseltown.
2) A Bridge Too VAR?
Clint Dempsey and all of his Seattle Sounders teammates coaches, fans, etc would certainly say yes, enough with the VAR.
Dempsey saw red in the 37th minute of Seattle’s 3-0 loss to FC Dallas on the weekend, with the Video Assistant Referee called into play to lend a hand to chief whistler, Chris Penso.
The camera angles weren’t perfect but it seemed like a righteous red from my easy chair.
Less clear in my mind was the red dished out to Vancouver center back Kendall Waston in Vancouver’s 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Atlanta. Waston was called for a penalty and that red card in the 13th minute for a perceived infringement against Leonardo Gonzalez Perez.
To me, it looked like Gonzalez Perez initiated the contact and there should not have been a red or a foul but the referee and his pal VAR thought otherwise.
3) Toronto winless?! WT…H
The league’s star-studded standard bearers, coming off perhaps the best season in league history, are 0-2. Which is surprising. But remember, that is just in league play. Greg Vanney’s team is fighting a battle on two fronts and the outlook is decidedly rosier on that second front, the Concacaf Champions League, where TFC has joined the New York Red Bulls as semifinalists in the North American version of the Champions League.
4) And NYCFC Makes 3
3-0-0, to put it more precisely. NYCFC entered its St Patrick’s Day showdown with ex-coach Jason Kreis and fellow Class of ‘15 members Orlando as one of four MLS sides sporting a perfect 2-0-0 record. By the end of the weekend, Columbus had drawn 0-0 at Philadelphia, Vancouver had been spanked 4-1 in Atlanta, while LAFC stood pat with a bye.
NYCFC had to make do without David Villa and the attack struggled in his absence. But the defense stood firm and a pair of opportunistic goals would be too much for Kreis and his Orlando strugglers who fell to 0-2-1.
5) The Old Lady to Take on the Best of MLS
Despite the recent partnership announced between MLS and Liga MX Major League Soccer will play at least one more foreign superclub in its annual All-Star match when Italian giants Juventus come to Atlanta this summer, putting the MLS vs Liga MX battle aside for now.
It will be a chance for MLS supporters see the greats of the Italian league up close and personal, including goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon, star attackers Paulo Dybala, and Gonzalo Higuain, and defender extraordinaire Giorgio Chiellini.
And it will be a special treat to see Higuain face off against his brother, Federico, the playmaking wizard of the Columbus Crew.