It was another big week in Major League Soccer with stadium news, CCL happenings, and oh, some league action, too.
1) Stadium News – Cincinnati FC
FC Cincinnati is one step closer to reality now that the Cincinnati City Council has voted to approve a stadium for the club, which hopes to join Nashville as the newest MLS expansion teams.
2) Stadium News – NYCFC
Even stadium location rumors have been hard to come by for New York City FC but website YIMBY has created a stir with its report that the first place club has a lead on a South Bronx location not too far from the team’s current Yankee Stadium home.
The stadium would be built as part of a larger project that features affordable housing. No official word has come down from the city or the club so it is too soon to know just how real this is. But hey, we’re talking New York City real estate, how hard could it be?
3) Cascadia Rising?!
It has been a tough start to the season for the American members of the Cascadia MLS group but things are looking up for soccer-loving habitues of the Pacific Northwest with the Portland Timbers picking up its first win of the year, while the Seattle Sounders registered its first point.
Portland and new coach Giovanni Savarese will be happy to finally end the drought after topping Minnesota 3-2 at Providence Park. Seattle had to settle for a 2-2 draw after traveling to Kansas to face Sporting KC but the defeated 2017 MLS Cup Finalist will hope to build on this point after opening the season goalless through the first three matches before Sunday’s two-goal outburst.
4) Lineup Change Sparks Red Bulls
No doubt still smarting from last week’s CCL elimination at the hands of Tijuana the New York Red Bulls bounced back to topple the Montreal Impact by a 3-1 scoreline. Over 180 minutes of CCL semifinal play RBNY failed to score versus the Goats, going out of the regional Champions League 1-0.
Last week I wrote this regarding New York’s lack of attack and coach Jesse Marsch’s lineup choices: “Over 180 minutes versus Chivas the Red Bulls boss could find just 32 minutes for Alejandro Romero Gamarra, AKA Kaku.
When the Red Bulls sent Sacha Kljestan packing to Orlando in the off-season the question became who would be New York’s playmaker. The answer looked to be Kaku but with Gamarra on the bench for most of this two-leg set the Red Bulls could merely huff and puff, they could not blow Rodolfo Cota’s door down.”
Marsch made just one change versus the Impact but that change got Kaku on the pitch and quickly paid dividends with the 23-year-old Argentine scoring his first MLS goal in a good Red Bulls performance in front of a concerningly small crowd at Red Bull Arena.
Afterward, Marsch indicated that the shackles were now off of Gamarra, a decision that may have come a week too late for the Red Bulls CCL dreams.
5) TFC Lose to Chivas – At Home!
Last Tuesday night, after the Red Bulls elimination by Tijuana, Toronto FC kept the MLS flag flying with a 1-1 draw that gave TFC a 4-2 aggregate win over Club America, the defending Mexican champions, and a place in the CCL Final.
Toronto’s defeat of America, considered a significantly better club than Tijuana, had Toronto and MLS hopes high, making Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Goats all the more disappointing for MLS boosters.
Toronto was stunned by a goal in the second minute from Rodolfo Pizarro but the MLS champs fought back when Jonathan Osorio added to his list of CCL heroics with a 19th-minute equalizer
But Toronto was victimized in the 72nd minute by either a brilliant free kick by Alan Pulido or a fortunate mishit by the Tijuana star. Either way, TFC is in trouble heading into the second and deciding leg of this tie Guadalajara next Wednesday in Guadalajara having surrendered two away goals.
Bonus – This Week in ZLATAN!
After a quiet second week in MLS, Zlatan Ibrahimovic bounced back with a week that returned the superstar to all caps, exclamation point status.
Here’s how ZLATAN! Did it.
In his first MLS start Zlatan! led the Galaxy to a 1-0 victory over Chicago in front of a full house at Toyota Park, not an everyday occurrence.
Then, just for fun ZLATAN! threatened to break google translate when he tweeted this:
And then to cap things off ZLATAN! became a rare soccer star to crossover into the American mainstream with a charmingly egotistic appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
What did you do this week?