NYCFC

Zlatan suspended two games for violent conduct

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Superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s misdeeds couldn’t avoid retroactive discipline, and the LA Galaxy man is set for a pair of matches on the sidelines.

Ibrahimovic got in a tangle with New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson last weekend, and appeared to put his hands around the backstop’s throat.

[ MORE: Man City to lure Rodri? ]

Johnson hit the deck, holding his head, bringing about a lengthy back-and-forth.

Major League Soccer’s Disciplinary Committee announced a two-match ban for Ibrahimovic late Friday, meaning the big Swede will miss matches against last-place Colorado and 18th place Orlando City.

Ibrahimovic was suspended a game last season for skipping the MLS All-Star Game.

Report: NYCFC set to offload another fan favorite in Lewis

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According to a report by The Athletic writers Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal, NYCFC is closing in on a deal to send USMNT winger Jonathan Lewis to the Colorado Rapids for a “substantial” amount of allocation money.

At just 21 years old, Lewis is considered a promising young talent after making his USMNT debut in January, but is still finding his way at the club level. After recording an assist in the opening day draw with Orlando City, Lewis has failed to make an impact in the NYCFC squad, making just one start since then and failing to see the field in the last three matches.

Still, Lewis is a favorite of NYCFC supporters who have come to appreciate his work rate and passion at such a young age.

NYCFC sits in the middle of the Eastern Conference table in what could shape up to be a crowded playoff battle. With the Eastern Conference leaders sitting on 20 points, NYCFC is on 15 points with a game in hand on those at the top and plenty of the season to go. There are five more teams below NYCFC within five points. Colorado, meanwhile, is bottom of the Western Conference with just two points through ten matches, yet to win a game this season.

The news is another blow to NYCFC supporters who have seen the team offload Kwadwo Poku and Tommy McNamara, both fan favorites during their time in the Big Apple. To be fair to the club, neither of those departures proved mistakes, as Poku failed to earn playing time at Miami or Anzhi before landing with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, while McNamara has made appearances in every Houston match so far this season but mostly as a substitute, without a goal or assist yet this campaign.

MLS early roundup: DC’s Rooney smashes free kick; NYCFC, Montreal win

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Three of five Wednesday matches in Major League Soccer are in the books, headlined by another fine goal from the Black-and-Red’s former Manchester United star.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 0-2 Man City ]


Columbus Crew 0-1 DC United

Wayne Rooney‘s zipped free kick was enough to give DC United a win in Columbus, which loses its third-straight match and fails to move ahead of its Wednesday visitors.

First place DC has a four-point edge on Toronto in the Eastern Conference, though the Black-and-Red have played three more matches.

The English forward hammered a waist-high shot past the outside of the wall despite Federico Higuain’s best efforts to get in the way, and it beat Zack Steffen inside the post.

Rooney now has five goals and two assists in eight matches this season.

New England Revolution 0-3 Montreal Impact

New England manager Brad Friedel would’ve been very happy with his goalkeeper and not much else, and then he would’ve changed his thoughts on Cody Cropper as well. Cropper was very busy against the Quebecois side well before 2017 Generation Adidas draft pick Shamit Shome scored his first MLS goal off a Cropper error.

Anthony Jackson-Hamel added an 85th minute goal to put the result to bed, and stroked a second in stoppage time to complete the score line.

New York City FC 1-0 Chicago Fire

A game with eight yellow cards saw just one goal, including a caution for goal scorer Valentin Castellanos. The Argentine midfielder slid onto a doorstep pass to complete a NYCFC counter attack in the win.

MLS wrap: Three Things We Learned

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A busy day of Major League Soccer action saw comebacks, golazos, howlers and more. Here’s what we learned.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Soccer is Alive and Well in Minnesota

It’s a brand-new stadium of course, but a full house of almost 20,000 rowdy and pumped-up Minnesota United fans packed into Allianz Field to watch their team play New York City FC to a thrilling 3-3 draw. The game had a little bit of everything, with goals from Designated Player striker Angelo Rodriguez and Osvaldo Alonso (of all people) for Minnesota United, along with a howler of an own goal by NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

And yet, against the odds, NYCFC proved that it can fight back and picked up a much-needed point on the road. For a team that’s struggled to score this season and find someone to replace outgoing captain David Villa, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored his first two goals of the season, the second of which tied the game at 3-3 in the second half.

Regardless of the result, fans certainly got their money’s worth from attending, and there should be many exciting matches moving forward.

Barco Finally Shines for Atlanta

There was much hoopla and excitement surrounding Ezequiel Barco’s multi-million dollar transfer signing in 2018, but the Argentine youngster failed to back it up on the field.

After a year beset by injuries, poor form, and the standard time needed to adapt to a new culture, Barco may be ready for his chance to step into the spotlight. Barco’s brace, off the bench no less, helped Atlanta United on Saturday secure its first win of the season, in a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Tito Villalba set up both goals with marauding runs down the left wing, as Barco stabbed home the first shot and then curled home a beauty for his third goal of the season and his team’s second of the game.

Yes, it came against the now last-place New England Revolution, which continues to struggle mightily under Brad Friedel. But maybe this is a sign of things to come for Atlanta, which has also struggled this season and just won its first game, seven weeks into the season, after winning the title in December.

The Sounders Are Your MLS Cup Frontrunners (as of today)

Yes, I know, Los Angeles FC hasn’t lost a game all season and is on fire early this season. But no team is as deep in the attacking spaces of the field as the Seattle Sounders.

Who would have expected the Dancing Bear, Will Bruin, to score a brace as the Sounders won a thrilling 3-2 match over Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field. With the likes of Raul Ruidiaz, Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris, it was the combination of Brad Smith and Will Bruin, two players who aren’t often in the spotlight, who helped the Sounders pick up three points and remain unbeaten this season. The Sounders are three points behind LAFC but have a game in hand.

Why do I think they’re favorites to win the title? Vela could miss a month or more of action at the 2019 Gold Cup, and it’s unclear how anyone on LAFC’s bench can replace his productivity. Meanwhile, if Jordan Morris is away playing for the U.S., Bruin can step right in and keep scoring.

While the Smith-to-Bruin combination was fun to watch, there’s none better in MLS right now than that of Alejandro Pozuelo and Jozy Altidore. The two Designated Players are somehow already on the same wavelength and Pozuelo played two terrific passes that Altidore finished on Saturday. Expect many more goals between those two the rest of the season.

NYCFC may add prolific Brazilian center forward

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New York City FC is reportedly lining up a TAM deal for Brazilian center forward Heber.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up v. Ecuador? ]

A prolific scorer from Croatian powers HNK Rijeka, Heder has 35 goals and 14 assists in 68 matches since arriving in 2016.

The 27-year-old played in Brazil until 2015, and has since played for Armenian side Alashkert Yerevan and Croatian sides Slaven Belupo and HNK Rijeka.

Croatia has the 16th highest UEFA coefficient, ahead of Poland but below the Netherlands for comparison’s sake.

NYCFC has drawn its first three matches of the season, getting two goals from Alexander Ring, and one each from Alexandru Mitrita and Ebenezer Ofori.

On video — and remember, these are highlight reels put together by agents and fans — Heber looks like an MLS equivalent of one of his Premier League countrymen: Richarlison.