Just look at the list of fine strikers (and feel free to register appropriate levels of head-nodding approval) who have recorded a hat trick this year in MLS. It’s a real who’s who of high-profile goal-getters around the league.
This list includes MLS all-time leading scorer Landon Donovan, Irish international Robbie Keane, veteran Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio and both Golden Boot frontrunners Marco Di Vaio and Mike Magee.
Oh, and then there is Kekuta Manneh (pictured), who hardly carries the same name cache. Heck , the man could walk into the most soccer friendly pub in the United States or Canada and not stir up a fuss. Probably even in Vancouver, where he plays professionally!
That by itself would be enough to make Manneh a fine Player of the Week choices. But also consider this, and his case really is a slam dunk for Week 33 in the league:
- It was just the fourth professional start for the 18-year-old striker. Not bad, eh?
- He is the youngest MLS hat trick hero. Not one bit bad, either. Consider that a guy like Jozy Altidore scored his first pro goal for the Red Bulls at age 16. Juan Agudelo was just 18 when he scored his first goal for the same club. Freddy Adu was just 14 when he earned his young goal-scorers badge. The point is, some talented attackers have scored at a young age in MLS, so being the youngest hat trick man is saying something.
- It blazed the path for an absolutely mammoth win for the Whitecaps, a Cascadia Cup thrashing (4-1) against a bitter rival, the first Whitecaps win at Seattle in the modern era and a win that reenergized Vancouver’s playoff chances, previously left alongside the road and all but forgotten.
- His hat trick was just the seventh in MLS this year. (From the list above, Keane has two of them.)
Here are the match highlights from his big night at CenturyLink:
Players from around the world display their skills on social media on a regular basis, but they’re usually on a soccer field or blacktop when they do so.
[ MORE: Almiron wins MLS Newcomer of the Year, beats out Nikolic, Martinez ]
This New York Red Bulls freestyler had a different interpretation of how he’d show off his ball control on Monday.
DJ Diveny (@djdiveny on Twitter) posted this video — below — across his social media platforms today dribbling a soccer ball on a treadmill, while his colleagues appear to introduce cones at random points as obstacles.
In addition to his talents as a freestyler, Diveny is also a youth coach with Student Athlete Coaching & Consulting, based out of New Jersey.
Again… he’s on a treadmill while doing this. Pretty cool stuff.
New York City FC has quickly become one of Major League Soccer’s most exciting clubs in three short seasons, and a lot of its success can be attributed to be David Villa.
[ MORE: Miguel Almiron named MLS Newcomer of the Year ]
The Spanish international has been with the club since completing a move to MLS in 2014, and has easily been NYCFC’s most important signing since the team’s inception.
Despite boasting an impressive 22 goals in 2017 for Patrick Vieira’s side, Villa knows that his days in MLS are starting to count down after one of the legends of the international game recently announced his retirement.
“[Seeing Andrea Pirlo retire showed me] that I have to train harder every day if I want to continue extending my career. Someday I will leave, as will everyone, it’s a fact of life. But I’m going to fight to make it as late as possible,” Villa told Marca.
Villa, 35, received a one-year extension to his contract in 2017, leaving his future with NYCFC up in the air beyond next season.
Additionally, the forward says that he constantly receives positive feedback about MLS and he knows that there is a lot of interest from players outside the United States in the developing league.
“Really, quite a few [have reached out],” he said. “The MLS is growing a lot and is having more and more global impact. Many have called me and are interested in what’s going on here.”
Three Premier League newcomers remain in close contention with one another after 12 weeks, one of which picked up another positive result today.
[ MORE: Congested PL schedule challenges the big boys ]
Brighton & Hove Albion earned a 2-2 draw against Stoke City at the Amex Stadium on Monday after Jose Izquierdo’s persistence gave the home side the leveler in the 60th minute from Glenn Murray‘s clever pass inside the box.
The result made for Brighton’s sixth consecutive match unbeaten at home this season.
A back-and-forth first half saw the on-loan Chelsea defender give Stoke the lead heading into the halftime break after a disappointing spell of defending by Brighton allowed Zouma to finish of a corner kick.
Pascal Gross gave Brighton an equalizer one minute from halftime after Davy Propper had done superbly to create space for himself down the right wing.
The visitors struck in the 28th minute after Shaqiri delivered a perfect long ball into the path of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
The Cameroonian proceeded to control the pass beautifully from his Stoke teammate, before tucking his shot from close range into the near corner past Brighton goalkeeper Maty Ryan.
Brighton thought they had the chance to level the score prior to the equalizer when the hosts appeared to have a penalty appeal after Murray went down inside the Stoke area. However, referee Lee Mason opted against spot kick.
The two sides will both be in action on Saturday when Brighton travels to Old Trafford to face Manchester United and Stoke takes on Crystal Palace.
It’s been a wild one thus far at the Amex Stadium, and we’ve still got 45 minutes left to play.
Stoke City holds a 2-1 advantage against newcomer Brighton & Hove Albion after Kurt Zouma gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of halftime.
[ MORE: West Brom fires manager Tony Pulis ]
Zouma headed home close range in first-half stoppage time to restore the Potters’ advantage, after Pascal Gross had equalized in the 44th minute for Brighton.
Stoke opened the scoring just prior to the half hour mark when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting finished off a stellar move that originated from a Xherdan Shaqiri long ball over the Brighton back line.
Brighton were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men after Glenn Murray went in late on a challenge against Stoke defender Kevin Wimmer.
Murray thought he had won himself a penalty kick minutes prior, but referee Lee Mason decided to continue play.