PST’s Top Three Most Intriguing people in U.S. soccer 2012 – No. 1 Alex Morgan

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It’s so easy to forget how young Alex Morgan is. And equally easy to forget how far this goal-scoring wonder has come in such a remarkably short time.

She was barely a starter to begin the season – and yet look at her now:

She is the new Mia Hamm, the complete bundle, an All-American-type blessed with oodles of skill, humble beneath the bright lights, comfortable in her own skin, willing to be the spokesperson and appreciative that so many pony-tailed Saturday morning superstars are falling over at the very prospect of standing near her.

Clearly, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, Carli Loyd and others had their say in the remarkable year just completed by a U.S. women’s team that went a full year at pedal-to-the-metal high rev.

But Morgan pitched in significantly too as the team lost just once in 32 matches (a 28-3-1 record) while claiming Olympic gold in the London Games. The Californian was U.S. Soccer’s Female Player of the Year … well, never mind that, really, because she was pretty much everyone’s U.S. player of the year.

Morgan’s statistical contributions to the calendar year: 28 goals and 21 assists. Truly, the numbers become stunning as they keep tumbling forth:

Her 28 goals were third-best ever in a U.S. Soccer calendar year, behind only Abby Wambach (31 in 2004) and Michelle Akers (39 in 1991).

She was the youngest to join the 20-goal club.

Morgan’s 21 assists tied her for the second-most in a calendar year, just one off Hamm’s mark from 2004.

“Looking back, it’s amazing to look at the stats,” Morgan told Foxsports.com. “I don’t know that I dreamt of making those numbers.”

But it wasn’t just the statistics, it was the big moments. Who could forget how she helped save the drive for Olympic gold with that late goal in Manchester?

Oh, sorry … I got carried away in the wash of numbers and accolades. I forgot to mention the main point here: She’s only 23.

What a career this talented young woman has ahead of her.

Others in the Top Three – No. 2: Landon Donovan

Others in the Top Three – No. 3: Jurgen Klinsmann

MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 1-3 Toronto FC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Greg Vanney and Toronto keep on doing their thing, and the Canadian side is yet another step closer to achieving MLS glory. TFC picked up its 50th point of the season on Saturday night after comfortably handling the Chicago Fire, who have cooled off significantly as of late in the Eastern Conference. The Fire are now nine points behind the East leaders and are losers of four of their last five matches.

Three moments that mattered

54′ — Accam, Fire level it up — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from everybody…

64′ — Hasler nets first MLS goal — Toronto really does manage to get contributions from all of their players…

90′ — Giovinco says goodnight to Chicago — That’s 12 goals on the season for Sebastian Giovinco and the TFC striker continues to help his side push towards the top seed in the East and MLS.

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Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Marco Delgado (14′), David Accam (54′), Nick Hasler (63′), Sebastian Giovinco (90′)

Video: Watts gifts D.C. United own goal for the ages

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Not many things have gone right for either side involved in 2017, but D.C. United was the recipient of a gift early on against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

[ MORE: Piatti brace lifts Impact to fourth win in a row; Orlando, Crew draw ]

In the 27th minute, Rapids center back Jared Watts received the ball at the back, before making a routine back pass to USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard

Or at least, it should have been a routine back pass.

Instead, Watts’ pass was well off target and too strong for Howard to reach and landed in the back of the Rapids goal. 1-0 in favor of D.C.

Reminder: Both these teams sit at the bottom of their respective conferences on points.

MLS Snapshot: Piatti brace lifts Impact | Crew, Orlando City draw

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact have proven to be a second-half of the season team the last several years, and that form appears to be holding true once more. Mauro Biello’s side won its fourth straight match on Saturday, while Ignacio Piatti continues to show he’s one of the most deadly scorers in the league. Meanwhile, RSL’s six-match unbeaten run is snapped north of the border, leaving the Western Conference side three points out of sixth place.

Three four moments that mattered

11′ — Piatti nets his first of the night — The Impact made this attack look so easy, and Ignacio Piatti simply won’t miss a chance like this one.

26′ — Evan Bush left motionless as RSL equalize — Luis Silva took matters into his own hands, and boy did he connect with this effort!

29′ — Impact punish poor RSL defense — Guess who? Piatti has his second of the evening.

47′ — Hosts begin to pile it on — Anthony Jackson-Hamel played provider in the first two goals, so it’s only fair he got one of his own.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Ignacio Piatti (11′, 29′), Luis Silva (26′), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (47′)


The game in 100 words (or less): Orlando City and the Crew settled for a point apiece on Saturday night, but for the former the club is running out of opportunities to pick up points in the playoff race. Giles Barnes pulled a goal back for the hosts after Lalas Abubakar netted his first MLS goal for the Crew, but Orlando couldn’t find a second. The Lions played up a man for the final 13 minutes, following Harrison Afful’s dismissal.

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Abubakar knocks in first MLS goal — Orlando City’s defensive woes are certainly notable as well, but for Lalas Abubakar this is a quality way to open his scoring account in MLS.

67′ — Barnes knots it up at 1-1 — The veteran MLS forward picked up his second goal of the season.

77′ — VAR used for red card decision — The video monitor came into play briefly in the second half, and Harrison Afful was sent off the pitch early after the referee viewed the defender’s elbow to the head of Yoshi Yotun.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Zack Steffen

Goalscorers: Lalas Abubakar (35′), Giles Barnes (67′)

Atlanta United fans pack 20,000 into new stadium for training session

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Atlanta United is currently in the midst of a three-match road trip in MLS play, but that didn’t stop the club from unveiling its new home venue to a massive crowd of supporters on Saturday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Over 20,000 fans of the Eastern Conference expansion side filed into Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch Gerardo Martino’s side train on Saturday as Atlanta prepares to finish out its road trip against D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union.

Atlanta will open up home play at their new stadium on September 10 when they host FC Dallas. The club will have the benefit of playing eight of its final 10 regular season matches in front of its Georgia fan base.

The first-year MLS side will share the stadium with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.

Here are some sights from the training session