Photo credit: Minnesota United / @MNUFC

MLS roundup: Another winner for Zlatan; Quintero’s debut goal

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A roundup of, plus a few quick thoughts about, all of Saturday’s action from around MLS…

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Chicago Fire 0-1 LA Galaxy

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played all of 127 minutes since arriving in LA, and he’s got three goals to his name, including the winner at Toyota Park, but more importantly the Galaxy have won six points from the big Swede’s first three games in MLS. Saturday’s 1-0 win away to Chicago was anything but pretty — blame the freezing, windy conditions if you require a scapegoat — but it’s a step forward for last year’s last-place finishers nonetheless.

The Ibrahimovic-Ola Kamara partnership is, predictably, a work in progress, not at all unlike the Perry Kitchen-Jonathan dos Santos duo in central midfield. Alas, there’s more than enough talent (on paper) for LA to finish top-three or -four in a weak Western Conference (they’re up to second, now three points behind Sporting Kansas City), and they’ve arguably the biggest difference maker in league history to lean on down the stretch.

Portland Timbers 3-2 Minnesota United

Here are two statements that are undeniably true: the Timbers are a very talented team that can’t keep a clean sheet to save their lives (just seven since the start of the 2017 season — 40 regular-season games) and are almost as bad at closing out games with a late lead; Minnesota have some fun attacking pieces, including debutant and goalscorer Darwin Quintero, but they’re still a trainwreck defensively, individually. Thus, we should have known Saturday’s clash at Providence Park would be a thoroughly wild, nonsensical affair, because it was all on display on Saturday.

For the third straight game, Portland went ahead early on and (almost, this time) proceeded to cough up their lead and drop points. Fortunately for Gio Savarese, who got his first MLS win on the night, Minnesota couldn’t convert any one of a number of quality chances to get back to 2-2 early in the second half, and the hosts bagged a third almost completely against the run of play. Well done to Bill Poni Tuiloma, though, for an unbelievable finish on this own goal.

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Montreal Impact

If their was any doubt about the Red Bulls’ trophy-chasing credentials following last week’s CONCACAF Champions League defeat to Chivas de Guadalajara, Jesse Marsch’s men put them to bed on Saturday. Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring after five minutes, but Montreal drew level through Jeisson Vargas not long after the half-hour mark. Alejandro “Kaku” Romero put the home side ahead again, in emphatic fashion, just before the hour mark.

Elsewhere in MLS

San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 Houston Dynamo
Colorado Rapids 2-0 Toronto FC(‘s Reserves)
D.C. United 1-0 Columbus Crew SC
New England Revolution 0-1 FC Dallas

Houston Dynamo win inaugural eMLS Cup, topping Impact in final

Credit: MLSSoccer.com
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There’s no underestimated the power of eSports, particularly FIFA, who has become one of the most popular games on the market regardless of whether or not you’re a soccer fan.

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This past weekend marked the first-ever eMLS Cup, which featured 19 representatives from MLS clubs, and one victor emerged on Sunday.

Guillermo ‘Memo’ Treviño (aka Kid M3Mito) helped the Houston Dynamo take home the inaugural trophy, with a 6-4 win on aggregate in the two-legged final against the Montreal Impact.

Treviño, along with Impact eMLS player Lyes Ould-Ramoul, will each take part in the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs this summer, which concludes with the eMLS World Cup in August.

NYCFC representative Christopher Holly — who became the first eMLS player in 2017 when he signed with the Eastern Conference side — will also take part in the Global Series Playoffs.

Five best MLS kits heading into 2018 season

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One of the best pleasures in kicking off a new season in any league is grading the best and worst kits.

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It’s become a past time that supporters take great pleasure in, and they won’t hesitate to voice their opinions — either positively or negatively — about their club’s newest additions in the apparel market.

Below, PST takes a look at five of the best MLS kits ahead of the 2018 season.

Los Angeles FC

We had to list both of the expansion side’s kits since after all it is their inaugural season. And honestly, they’re both pretty fresh with gold the common color in both jerseys.

Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo opted for a varying gradient pattern in the center of its new away kit, and it works well. And the reasoning behind the design very cool as well, as the two-time MLS Cup champions look to honor its diverse makeup of supporters.

San Jose Earthquakes

At first glance the Earthquakes new kit might look wrinkled, but the Charlie Brown-esque stripes actually look really sweet on this white and blue jersey. Also, if you look closer, the gradient changes going from left to right and vice versa, which makes this jersey a must-buy.

Philadelphia Union

The Union have changed the game with their new home kit, after having previously gone with vertical stripes for many years past. This time though, the navy blue and gold kit displays is turned on its side to horizontal stripes, but it looks every bit as good (if not better) than the previous jerseys.

Minnesota United

Last year’s expansion side had some difficulties on the field, but as the second-year organization looks to exemplify improvement in 2018 Minnesota will surely look good in doing so. There’s really nothing like vertical stripes on a jersey. Am I right?

Erick “Cubo” Torres leaves Houston for Pumas

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Welcome to your new home, Erick. Hope it goes a little better than your last stop.

Once among the most desired recruits on the Major League Soccer circuit after scoring 15 goals for lowly Chivas USA in 2014, Erick Torres is leaving the league to join Pumas UNAM.

He’ll head home to Mexico to rebuild an international career which stalled at four caps until this summer’s Gold Cup moved Torres to seven El Tri appearances.

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The move is somewhat of a surprise given the Houston Chronicle headline Tuesday: “Erick Torres says he intends to fulfill his Dynamo contract.”

Torres scored 14 goals in 27 matches for Houston last season, raising his value after not scoring an MLS goal in 2015 and 2016 combined (22 matches). Five of his goals, however, were penalty kicks.

Charity match raised significant money for Hurricane Harvey victims

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On Saturday night, a charity soccer match in Houston, Texas helped raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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The “Kick in for Houston” game was organized by former Houston Dynamo and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Stu Holden — now an analyst for Fox Sports 1. Holden served as one of the team captains, while former NBA star Steve Nash captained the other team.

In total, Holden’s event raised over $239,000 for hurricane relief funds, per the event’s website.

Saturday’s match featured several other notable celebrities and current, as well as, former soccer player, like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, Mia Hamm and U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Kyle Martino.

The game — which was an 8 vs. 8 fixture — finished 12-12 at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Holden spoke after the match about the overall success of the event, and the sort of impact it had for the Texas community.

“Amazing,” Holden said after the game. “If I pictured three months ago after I sent that tweet that this was going to be the turnout… everybody that came, all the athletes, all the people in the crowd, all the work that’s gone on behind the scenes, I can promise you it’s a lot more than it seems.

“I’m caught up in the middle of all this, but I thought this was an amazing, amazing night, and I hope to do another of these in the future.”

Additionally, Holden and Co. will be auctioning off game-worn kits from Saturday’s game to also benefit hurricane victims.