The Easter tholiday weekend was certainly an entertaining one for MLS. Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his debut for the LA Galaxy and boy was it a fun one. Aside from that, Toronto FC pulled off a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake and there were three red cards across the league on Saturday. Allow me to give you the highlights of an exciting MLS weekend.
Orlando City finally got their first win of the season on Saturday in front of their home crowd. New York started the game off strong with a goal by Florian Valot at the 7’ mark. Orlando’s Will Johnson answered back at 15’. The game continued to go back and forth when Derrick Etienne found the back of the net for the Red Bulls (24’), followed shortly by Dom Dwyer’s first of two goals (26’ and 48’). The Red Bulls tied it up at 82’ thanks to Aaron Long, but Orlando quickly answered again (86’). A great first win for Orlando City.
LA Galaxy 4-3 Los Angeles FC
The first Los Angeles derby (or El Trafico) took place this weekend and it’s safe to assume we’ll never see another one like it. Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his debut for the Galaxy from Manchester United. Things started out rocky for the Galaxy; they were down 2-0 with two goals from LAFC’s Carlos Vela (5’, 26’). It was 3-0 at the 48’ mark when Daniel Steres scored an own goal. Things started to get going for the Galaxy side with goals from Sebastian Lletget (61’) and Chris Pontius (73’) but the fun didn’t really start until Ibrahimovic stepped onto the pitch. Who else scores on their first shot of their league debut? Zlatan’s incredible first goal from a ridiculous distance came at 77’, mere moments after he took his first steps onto an MLS pitch. He sealed the deal for the Galaxy, scoring the winning goal at 90’+1. The man isn’t human.
Okay so maybe this game wasn't as thrilling as the LA derby, but here's what you may have missed while you were lost in the Zlatan hype. Although Columbus maintained the majority of possession at 67%, they couldn’t seem to score. Gyasi Zardes had the opening goal of the match (29’), but that would be the only successful shot for Columbus. Vancouver quickly turned the game around when Brek Shea scored the equalizer (51’). The Whitecaps weren't done yet, though: Kei Kamara had the winning goal at 78’.
Another draw came for the struggling Portland team this Saturday. Diego Valeri started the game out strong for the Timbers, netting one at 6’. The next goal would be for Chicago at 50’, scored by Nemanja Nikolic. Portland’s Sebastian Blanco answered back quickly at 55’. Things were looking good for Portland, but Chicago fought hard for ball control and ended up tying the match at 84’ with a goal from Brandon Vincent.
The red-hot Atlanta United found yet another victory this week despite being down a man. Atlanta had the lone goal at the 3’ mark, scored by Francisco Calvo. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was shown his second yellow card of the game at 38’, sending him out of the match. With the man advantage, Minnesota had 71% possession, but only managed to put two shots on target. They failed to capitalize, and Atlanta took home the win.
San Jose fought hard to put an end to NYCFC’s win streak but couldn’t pull it off. Yeferson Quintana scored fresh out the gate for the Quakes (3’), but shortly thereafter they gave up ball possession. Anton Tinnerholm scored for New York City at 49’. Maximiliano Moralez had his fifth goal of the season, the game-winner for NYCFC at 60’. San Jose had some good chances but just couldn’t find the net. It didn’t help that NYC’s keeper Sean Johnson had a great game!
It was a rather uneventful one in Kansas City on Saturday. Felipe Gutierrez had the first and only goal of the match at 3’. Although they had 63% possession and put up 22 shots, it stayed a one-goal game for Sporting KC.
Teal Bunbury set the tone for the game, netting New England’s first goal at 15’. Huston’s DaMarcus Beasley was shown a red card after a tackle on Cristian Penilla in the box (35’). Penilla would go on to score the final goal of the match at 71’.
Colorado Rapids 3-0 Philidelphia Union
The Rapids shut out the Union at home on Saturday. Although Philly maintained the better half of possession (56%), Colorado’s Dominique Badji had himself a game. Badji scored a hat trick, scoring at 53’, 61’, and 87’.
Another week, another Seattle red card. Before either team could get on the scoreboard, Seattle’s Kelvin Leerdam was sent off the pitch for slapping former TFC player Daniel Lovitz in the face. Montreal’s Jeisson Vargas would find the net at 60’. The Sounders are still winless and goalless this season.
Here’s what the league looks like currently (via MLSsoccer.com)
What a fun weekend it was! Do you think the Galaxy will dominate the league with their new addition? What will it take for the Sounders to get it together throughout the season? Be sure to leave us your thoughts in the comments below!