Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP

MLS (afternoon) roundup: NYCFC top SJ; Schweinsteiger stars in debut

Leave a comment

The fourth (full — playing during international breaks should be banned) MLS Saturday of 2017 is nearly halfway complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

New York City FC 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes

David Villa continues to be the best, most skilled pure striker to ever ply his trade in MLS, and we’re so lucky to watch on a weekly basis. His first touch, which set up Jack Harrison for NYCFC’s opening goal against San Jose on Saturday, is something that doesn’t even exist in video games.

Villa then proceeded to pick up a secondary assist on Tommy McNamara’s 67th-minute game-winner, playing the first-time through ball to Ronald Matarrita, who crossed for a late-arriving McNamara. Easy finish for him, and NYCFC have their second win of the season and a three-game unbeaten run.

[ MORE: Sporting KC rookie got GOT by Vermes, teammates’ April Fools’ prank ]


Chicago Fire 2-2 Montreal Impact

Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s MLS career got off to a flying start on Saturday, as the 32-year-old World Cup winner marked his Chicago debut with a goal after 17 minutes (WATCH HERE). Schweinsteiger was largely the best player on the field over the course of his 90-minute shift, on two occasions playing inch-perfect through balls to create clear-cut scoring chances — one led directly to a red card — while missing out on a brace by a matter of inches.

Chicago went down to 10 men themselves, in the 71st minute, when Hernan Bernardello’s awful dive conned Ismail Elfath into showing Juninho a second yellow card. Matteo Mancosu had already headed Montreal back onto level terms 10 minutes earlier.

Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla put Montreal 2-1 ahead in the 90th minute, but Luis Solignac fired a bouncing shot past Evan Bush three minutes later to rescue a point for the home side.

[ MORE: San Diego’s April Fools’ prank — Footy McFooty Face ]


Columbus Crew SC 2-0 Orlando City SC

Columbus are top of the league (they’re also the only team to have played five games already this season), and Justin Meram has already decided he’s a (very early-season) MVP candidate in 2017 (three goals, two assists thus far). The Michigan-born Iraqi international bagged goals no. 2 and 3 of the season on Saturday, as Gregg Berhalter’s side cruised past Orlando in comfortable, convincing fashion.

With Meram, and Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain back to firing on all cylinders while playing behind Ola Kamara — and Kekuta Manneh set to arrive and bolster an already lethal counter-attacking corps — the only thing that can keep Columbus of the playoffs this season will be more of the shoddy defending that befell them in 2016.

Miguel Almiron knew nothing about MLS, everything about Tata

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Miguel Almiron’s future is going to be a big part of the story for as long as he’s in Atlanta United, but his past is in focus following another cool post in The Players’ Tribune.

It’s a cool read, for sure, to examine Almiron’s rise from “too skinny” kid without a club to one of the top prospects this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but the story of why he came to Atlanta is an argument for the “big name” manager (Tata Martino in this case).

[ MORE: Liverpool fan trouble in Sevilla ]

Before the Paraguayan youngster was the talk of the transfer market, MLS Newcomer of the Year, and the No. 1 jersey sale in the league, he was being recruited to the Georgian expansion outlet.

“I didn’t know much about MLS. I didn’t know where Atlanta was. I didn’t know anything. But Tata was manager, and that was all I needed to know.”

Given that Martino arrived not too long before Almiron, the following Tweet makes the point I’ve been trying to make as well as anyone:

Sevilla manager reportedly told team of cancer diagnosis at half

AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti
Leave a comment

When it comes to locker room tales, few compare to this one.

Any big comeback, especially one as high profile as Sevilla’s stunning second half against Liverpool, inspires the question, “What was said in the team room at halftime?!?”

Down 3-0 at halftime and in danger of bowing out of the UEFA Champions League, Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo gave his team some very serious news.

[ MORE: Liverpool fan trouble in Sevilla ]

According to Spanish reports relayed by The Telegraph, Berizzo informed his players of his prostate cancer diagnosis.

Sevilla confirmed that Berizzo is battling adenocarcinoma, saying, “Future medical tests will determine a course of treatment. Sevilla FC wants to show maximum support to its manager in these moments and wishes him a prompt recovery.”

It adds extra weight to Ever Banega’s postgame comments:

“We have to go out there with that attitude, for the fans that always back us and for the coach who has turned this around. He is the most important of all of us, he has us on the right path and we are with him to the hilt.”

Our best to Berizzo, and — sorry Reds supporters — it’s pretty cool Sevilla was able to rally after such stunning news.

Liverpool releases statement after Sevilla stadium supporter outcry

Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool has proffered a strong and cautionary statement regarding its supporters’ treatment at Sevilla on Tuesday.

Claims of police punching a woman in the back and throwing her “political” flag at her, a Liverbird with the word “Defiance” on it, are just the tip of the iceberg.

[ REPORT: Palace to get new digs ]

Fans claim that many were either delayed or denied in entry to the stadium, with “police in riot gear not letting you get to your seat” in some cases.

The Reds have released a statement, from LiverpoolFC.com:

Following detailed and troubling accounts given by Liverpool supporters attending the match against Sevilla last night, the club is seeking to establish the facts regarding their treatment at the hands of the host stewards and local police force.
The safety and security of our supporters is our paramount concern and we intend to gather all the relevant information before responding further.

Supporter treatment away from home is deservedly a hot button issue, and especially at Liverpool given the horrible Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 and wounded almost 800 more in 1989.

As for the match, the Reds squandered a 3-0 lead at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, drawing 3-3.

Sounders in firm control after Leg 1

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): The Seattle Sounders took full control of the Western Conference finals with a resounding 2-0 win over ten-man Houston. The Sounders already had hit first in the 11th minute through Gustav Svensson but the red card to Jalil Anibaba changed the game. Houston had some chances later but fatigue meant the focus and control was off. Former Dynamo striker Will Bruin’s goal may have put the tie to bed.

Three moments that mattered

11′ — Gustav Svensson Goal — The Sounders wanted to set the tone early and they picked up an early goal off a corner kick, as Svensson redirected a header past Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis. The goal changed the complexion of the game to that point, until our next big moment.

28′ — Jalil Anibaba red card — Joevin Jones was a menace to deal with tonight and after getting past Anibaba, the latter pulled Jones down and as it appeared to be denial of a goal-scoring opportunity, Anibaba was given his marching orders. Suddenly, Houston, down a goal and down a man, had a lot more to do to stay in the tie. Nicolas Lodeiro missed the subsequent penalty kick but Will Bruin picked Lodeiro up later.

42′ — Will Bruin goal — The former Dynamo man scored a massive goal against his former club on a great cross from Jones on the left wing. While the tie isn’t over, the Sounders are in firm control and look set to repeat as Western Conference playoffs champions.

Man of the Match: Joevin Jones