Tommy McNamara

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MLS Snapshot: FCD still unbeaten, but drop points vs. NYCFC

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The game in 100 words (or less): We must all believe The Year of Kellyn Acosta is upon us, that it will deliver FC Dallas one, two or perhaps even three trophies in 2017, and will eventually result in the U.S. national team winning the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Hope — it’s all we’ve got. Anyway, Acosta turned in another sterling performance on Sunday, bagging the opening goal in FCD’s 1-1 draw with New York City FC. The 21-year-old continues to perform admirably with a difficult assignment: serving as the most-attacking central midfielder in Mauro Diaz’s absence. Three points looked to be on the cards until NYCFC drew level through Tommy McNamara 20 minutes before full-time. The draw pulls FCD, the last remaining unbeaten side in MLS, level with Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City (whom have played one and two more games than FCD, respectively) at the top of the Western Conference, while NYCFC sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight points back of runaway leaders Toronto FC.

[ MORE: MLS (late-night) roundup | Afternoon roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

20′ — Acosta slams home for 1-0 — Michael Barrios does an excellent job to hold the ball while everyone else is catching up to the ball, then serves up a difficult ball to Maxi Urruti, who’s a bit fortunate that his wayward touch falls right into the path of Acosta, who makes no mistake on the finish.

54′ — Urruti smashes the crossbar — Urruti went inches from making it 2-0. Alas, Sean Johnson’s finger tips and that pesky crossbar…

68′ — McNamara heads home for 1-1 — David Villa’s free kick came back off the crossbar, and McNamara was more than happy to sacrifice his body to put the ball into the back of the net.

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

Man of the match:Kellyn Acosta

Goalscorers: Acosta (20′), McNamara (68′)

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

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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…

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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.

New York is red: BWP, Kljestan torture NYC in (another) blowout

Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
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New York Red Bulls rode a wave of first half goals to a heated and entertaining 4-1 win over New York City FC on Sunday at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.

Sacha Kljestan had two assists and converted a penalty, while Bradley Wright-Phillips netted a brace and Ronald Zubar (!!) also scored for RBNY. If you’re keeping score at home that’s a combined 11-1 score line for RBNY in home Derby games this season.

Tommy McNamara scored a gorgeous goal before halftime to give City life. Aside from McNamara cranking a second-half effort off the crossbar, the rest of the life came in the form of pushing, shoving and fouling. Frank Lampard mixed it up with Kljestan, while Ethan White took two yellows for a late red card.

[ MORE: A Pogba Primer ]

The win gives the Red Bulls bragging rights for at least the regular season, as RBNY won 2 of 3 season matches against its area rivals.

NYC remains atop the East, while the Red Bulls are five points back in fourth.

Here’s the goal that got us started, as Kljestan slipped through BWP for a finish he’ll rarely miss (even when ice-cold).

Zubar then headed in a Kljestan pass to make it 2-0 before a handball allowed Kljestan to collect a goal for himself.

BWP restored the three-goal lead with 20 minutes to play, as he won a 50-50 ball played over the top and had all day to toy with Josh Saunders en route to his 11th of the season.

MLS Snapshot: Portland Timbers 1-2 New York City FC (video)

AP Photo/Kevin Hagen
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The game in 100 words (or less): New York City FC are tied for the Eastern Conference’s top spot all of two weeks after having failed to win a single game for two months (seven games). A more MLS-y sentence has (probably) never been composed. Two things to note: 1) the East is largely crap, again, and 2) NYCFC have won three in a row (fourth win of the season) after knocking off the defending champions Portland Timbers on Sunday; they didn’t win their fourth game of the 2015 season until June 20. Patrick Vieira has clearly improved this side in two and a half months, and he’s getting the absolute most out of David Villa (of course), who scored again in this one (eight on the season), and even Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard (Vieira swears Lampard is real), but mostly Tommy McNamara because he’s Tommy McNamara and he’s the second- or third-best player on NYCFC’s roster. How’s that for an MLS’y sentence?

[ MORE: Catch up on Saturday night’s MLS action ]

Three moments that mattered

12′ — Villa finishes in traffic for 1-0 — Villa could be encircled by six MLS defenders, and I’d still back the man to find a gap through which to slip his shot and beat the goalkeeper.

55′ — Adi sends Saunders one way, finishes the other — This man, standing 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, has the softest big-man feet in the league. The delicate nature of this strike, totally fooling Josh Saunders, looks more like a David Villa finish than anything.

65′ — McNamara curls an unbelievable ball for 2-1 — Statement: Tommy McNamara is the “most MLS” player in the league right now. That’s in no way a bad thing, and interpret that however you’d like. What a hit, Tommy.

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

Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Villa (12′), Adi (51′), McNamara (65′)

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

Photo credit: New York City FC / Facebook
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The game in 100 words (or less): The cult of McNamara grows stronger and stronger with each contribution New York City FC receives from Tommy McNamara, the former Chivas USA midfielder and least-professional-soccer-player-looking, regular dude in all of MLS. On Saturday, McNamara scored the opening goal very early on in NYCFC’s 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution at The House That McNamara Built Yankee Stadium. Chris Tierney scored via a deflected free kick shortly before halftime, but a Gershon Koffie red card pretty well consigned the visitors to settling for their third draw of the still-young 2016 season (winless in four games played). As for NYCFC, it’s a win and two draws from their first four games of the season, and the no. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference at the end of the month.

[ MORE: USMNT embarrassed in Guatemala | Player ratings ]

Three moments that mattered

10′ — McNamara heads home Villa’s rebound — McNamara was the right man, in the right place, at the right time. David Villa’s initial effort had beaten Bobby Shuttleworth, but found only the crossbar before caroming back into play. McNamara arrived at the vital moment and headed home for 1-0.

38′ — Tierney’s free kick finds the back of the net — Tierney has one of the best left foots in all of MLS — this much we know already — which is only made better with the aid of fortunate deflections in and around the six-yard box.

51′ — Koffie lunges in, sees red — Gershon Koffie was reckless in his challenge of McNamara, but seemed to be in no way malicious or overly dangerous. Even the NYCFC broadcast team was quick to admonish Ricardo Salazar for his itchy red-card trigger finger.

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

Man of the match: Federico Bravo

Goalscorers: McNamara (10′), Tierney (38′)