ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Team of the Week – Week 1

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Forwards

Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo – Also known as PST Player of the Week Will Bruin, the Dancing Bear had two goals an an assist in the Dynamo’s 4-0 win over visiting New England.

We could be wrong about: Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake

Midfielders

Sebastián Fernández, Vancouver Whitecaps – Starting wide left in Carl Robinson’s 4-2-3-1, the Uruguayan was a constant presence cutting in underneath Darren Mattocks. He scored the weekend’s best goal, blasting home from well outside the area in Vancouver’s 4-1 win over New York.

Kenny Miller, Vancouver Whitecaps (pictured, above) – With his trademark relentlessness on display, Miller bagged a brace against New York, with his conversion from the spot opening Saturday’s scoring at BC Place.

Federico Higuaín, Columbus Crew – Two goals and his trademark command of Columbus’s counterattack helped Higuaín and the Crew overcome the absence of Dominic Oduro to hand D.C. United a 3-0 opening day loss.

Boniek Garcia, Houston Dynamo – The weekend’s best two-way performance also saw Boniek get on the scoresheet with Houston’s third goal. A Best XI-caliber player gave a Best XI-caliber performance.

Nigel Reo-Coker, Vancouver Whitecaps – The acquisition of Matías Laba allowed Reo-Coker to pursue the gaps in midfield, creating a balance that underpin Vancouver’s postseason hopes. His freedom to get forward was evident on Pedro Morales’ goal.

We could be wrong about: Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake; Mauro Rosales, Chivas USA; Mauro Díaz, FC Dallas; Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders; Maurice Edu, Philadelphia Union

Defenders

source: APJosh Williams, Columbus Crew – D.C.’s Nick DeLeon did little to hinder the run, but Williams early surge down the right and well-hit cross for Jairo Arrieta allowed the Crew to claim an early lead at RFK. Also helped his team keep a clean sheet, an effort that require him to remain strong when Eddie Johnson drifted to his flank to serve as a target for D.C. long balls.

Chad Marshall, Seattle Sounders – The value he provides on set pieces is already evident, with Marshall’s overall game also hinting he’ll be a significant upgrade to what Seattle took into last year’s playoffs.

Michael Parkhurst, Columbus Crew – Crucial tackles showed the value the U.S. international brings in Marshall’s place. Though he and his teammates were rarely tested by D.C., Parkhurst still showed the talents that could against make him one of Major League Soccer’s best defenders.

Corey Ashe, Houston Dynamo – A great read to create a turnover ahead of a well-served ball meant Ashe played a crucial part in Houston’s second goal. Already with two All-Star appearances, Ashe is off to a strong start in his quest for a third.

We could be wrong about: Amobi Okugo, Philadelphia; Bobby Burling, Chivas USA, Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake; DeAndre Yedlin, Seattle Sounders

Goalkeeper

Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake (pictured, with Chris Wingert) – Were it not for one (albeit big) first half mistake, the U.S. international would have been our Player of the Week. Even with that error, Rimando was clearly the week’s best keeper, delivering eight saves and a penalty kick stop in the Western Conference champions’ 1-0 win in Los Angeles.

We could be wrong about: Donovan Ricketts, Portland Timbers

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-1 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): For nearly 75 minutes, NYCFC couldn’t muster up any chances in the attacking third, but thankfully their captain did what he does best. David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, but it was rookie Jonathan Lewis that notched the winner. The visitors took the lead 20 minutes prior after Sean Johnson spilled a shot in front of his own goal, allowing Teal Bunbury to pounce on the rebound. NYCFC now moves to within four points of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC with nine matches remaining in the regular season.

Three four moments that mattered

16′ — Harrison breaks ankles, but Villa can’t finish — This might be the only time all see you’ll see David Villa miss a chance like this…

38′ — Johnson gets a finger tip to Rowe’s blast — Sean Johnson had no work to do in the first half, at least until Kelyn Rowe decided to rip a shot from distance just before halftime.

57′ — Johnson’s error grants Bunbury, Revs the lead — Look away, NYCFC fans.

77′ — Villa find the back of the net — When you need a goal, who you gonna call? That’s right. David Villa. The NYCFC captain is now up to 19 this season.

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

Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Teal Bunbury (57′), David Villa (77′), Jonathan Lewis (90+4′)

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Brighton breaks club record with signing of winger Jose Izquierdo

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Brighton hasn’t gotten off to the ideal start in its debut season in the Premier League, but a key reinforcement is on the way.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Spurs at Wembley behind Alonso’s brace ]

After starting the 2017/18 campaign with back-to-back defeats, the Seagulls announced on Sunday the signing of Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge in Belgium for a record fee.

The 25-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium’s top flight and totaled 38 goals across all competitions for Brugge, prior to making the move to England.

Additionally, Izquierdo has worked his way into the Colombia squad as of late, and scored his first international goal for his country in June 2017 in a friendly against Cameroon.

MLS Follow Live — NYCFC hosts Revs, Minnesota meets Sounders

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Only two matches will feature on the MLS docket Sunday evening, but luckily two of the league’s most exciting teams will take to the pitch.

[ MORE: Toronto tops Fire as East leaders reach 50 points on season ]

First, New York City FC will attempt to continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder when they host Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution.

In the night cap, the Seattle Sounders look to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches when they welcome newcomers Minnesota United to CenturyLink Field.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s the schedule and kick-off times for Sunday’s two MLS fixtures.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 10 p.m. ET