Dig around ProSoccerTalk for more layered analysis of opening night in Major League Soccer’s 18th season – or just hit the high points here if that is more to your liking:
Night’s biggest upset: That was in Seattle, where the second-year Montreal Impact, under a new coach, used a Davy Arnaud goal to slip past Seattle.
Night’s least surprising result: That was at the echoing and embarrassingly empty Home Depot Center, where the first match of the Jose Luis ‘Chelis’ Sanchez Sola’s team looked like a team without a plan in falling to Columbus, 3-0. It’s not surprising because Chivas USA seems to be going into 2013 with a very shaky course of action; we told you Columbus looked a team that could surprise a lot of people.
Best individual performances: Graham Zusi was in on all three goals as visiting Sporting Kansas City overcame an awful first 30 minutes to pull a 3-1 win out of Philadelphia. Ricardo Clark was strong for Houston in the club’s 2-0 win over D.C. United. And in Dallas, center backs George John and Matt Hedges were the backbone of FCD’s 1-0 win over Colorado, where the visitors ran the midfield but couldn’t get past Dallas’ commanding center backs.
The night’s best goal: Federico Higuain picked up where he left off for Columbus – before that late injury that slowed the Argentine playmaker’s momentum in 2012. Watch his shot from almost 30 yards last night.
The night’s howler: That was in Dallas, where Colorado goalkeeper Steward Ceus will need to put this one out of his mind … and right quick.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi left the field with a back injury in the second half of a 1-0 victory over Honduras in a friendly Friday night.
The Argentine team captain and Barcelona star was hit on an apparently inconsequential play and immediately went to the locker room. He was replaced at the 62-minute mark by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega and never returned to the field.
“Messi suffered a trauma to the left side of his lower back and rib cage,” the Argentine Football (Soccer) Association said in a statement, adding that doctors were looking at the injury.
[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]
Messi is not a player who leaves the field with minor injuries like he did Friday at San Juan’s Bicentenario stadium.
“I would not dare to venture a diagnosis,” said a concerned Argentine manager, Gerardo Martino.
Gonzalo Higuain, who scored for Argentina, said it “was an important win and here’s hoping that what happened to Leo is nothing.”
Messi was scheduled to fly to Spain to resolve a tax issue and then rejoin the team in Santa Clara, California.
Mohamed Diame was the hero on the day for Hull City, as the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League next season.
The Senegalese attacker sent Sheffield Wednesday packing on Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium after hitting a scorching long-distance effort past goalkeeper Kieren Westwood in the second half.
After an initial back-and-forth spell of chances over the opening half hour-plus, Sheffield was drastically taken out of the match as Hull began to gain their composure on the ball.
Hull City will join Championship winners Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2016-17 after being promoted. Relegated clubs Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa will take their place in England’s second flight.
After their devastating defeat two seasons ago, Atletico Madrid looks for revenge and their first UEFA Champions League title on Saturday against Real Madrid.
Milan will be the site for the action, as Zinedine Zidane and Real are seeking their 11th title in the competition and have the opportunity to knock Atleti out in the title match for the second time in three seasons.
To follow live, click here.
Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema Subs: Casilla, James, Nacho, Lucas Vasquez, Jese, Isco, Danilo
Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Filipe Luis, Godin, Savic, Juanfran; Gabi, Fernandez, Koke, Saul Niguez; Griezmann, Torres. Subs: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Hernandez, Thomas, Ferreira-Carrasco, Gimenez.
With Atlanta United FC set to make their MLS debut in 2017, the club is reportedly set to make a major splash with one or possibly two Mexican stars.
[ MORE: Agent: Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not join Man United ]
ESPN FC‘s John Sutcliffe reported from the team’s future home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, on Friday, saying that the team is targeting both Andres Guardado and Carlos Vela.
[ MORE: Edgar Castillo to replace Timmy Chandler for USMNT ]
Guardado, who currently plays for PSV Eindhoven, has long been a staple of the El Tri midfield, making 124 appearances for the Mexican national team.
While Vela wasn’t included in Mexico’s Copa America Centenario roster, the Real Sociedad striker has every bit of talent you’d want from a future Designated Player, which is likely what either Guardado or Vela would be.
Atlanta currently has three players on their roster. Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tabakis, Junior Burgos and Jeffery Otoo currently round out the squad.
The potential addition(s) of an Andres Guardado or Carlos Vela would prove to be not only big for Atlanta but for MLS as a whole, more so with Vela though. MLS’ growth over recent years has brought young DPs like Sebastian Giovinco and Giovani Dos Santos to Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy, respectively.
Another league addition who is in the prime of their career will only continue to build the league’s reputation, and immediately put Atlanta on the map next season.