Tag Archives: Featured

Bienvenue Chez Vous, Monsieur Garde: Montréal Impact’s home opener versus Rival TFC

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Saturday, March 17: 1-0 Win

The Montréal Impact opened their 2018 season as many new faces began their journey with the team. It was clear the players were still getting to know each other, and that new manager Rémi Garde was still getting to know the league. On Saturday, they returned to Olympic Stadium, to play the home opener against none other than their arch nemesis, Toronto FC.

What the Impact had shown so far in 2018 was that they needed to concede a goal or two to begin competing with their opponent. Many fans feared that if the Bleu-Blanc-Noir allowed TFC’s formidable attack to launch wave upon wave of offensive maneuvers, that the home side would be made to pay early and often.

Everything about the game came as a surprise – including the team formation. Garde presented a 3-5-2 with 36-year-old Rod Fanni making his début. Fans of the Impact were surely haunted by memories of experiments with such a formation last year, however, Garde had a plan to even out the numbers in the midfield.

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Image courtesy: Montreal Impact facebook page

Saturday’s match was certainly physical as was the case in many previous Canadian Classico clashes, yet the match began with the teams feeling each other out tactically. It quickly became obvious that the Impact was willing to concede possession in favour of regrouping and choosing opportune moments to step in and start a counter-attack.

Fanni demonstrated an aptitude for taking on Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco without the same complex that has plagued former Impact players. Samuel Piette made a series of wonderful interceptions to poke the ball from the toes of Giovinco and Bradley. Saphir Taider developed a solid partnership with Piette and the two were largely responsible for launching counter-attacks.

In the 40th minute, Piette robbed TFC skipper Michael Bradley of possession. The ball was quickly played to Taider, who passed it to Piatti who did what he does best: dribbling at defenders and drawing players to him like moths to a flame. This left Vargas space to shoot from the top of the box and score the lone goal which would determine the outcome of the game.

The Impact’s lack of finishing meant that a few other opportunities to put the game to bed went unclaimed, and early in the second half, Greg Vanney made some adjustments to TFC’s formation, allowing the visitors to further dominate possession and set up camp in the Impact’s half.

Eve Powell - Montreal Impact/mlsfemale
Image courtesy: Montreal Impact facebook page

That is not to say that the game was won after Vargas’ goal! Although the Impact’s defense seemed to jell really well, Evan Bush still made several saves. In the greatest “heart-in-throat” moment of the match, Bush got a hand to Altidore’s strike, however, the ball was still trickling behind him. Michael Petrasso saved the day, and the three points, with a goal-line clearance.

It was sweet to finally taste the first victory of the season, and all the sweeter coming at the expense of a bitter rival.

Although the Impact spent a good portion of Saturday’s match on the defensive, there was clear intent behind Garde’s choices. TFC players and fans may claim a CCL hangover handed the Impact the win, but undoubtedly those who identify with the Bleu-Blanc-Noir will feel reassured that things are heading in the right direction.

Next on the calendar: Due to the FIFA break, no match until Saturday, March 31st, when the Impact will make another cross-continent trip to Seattle to face the Sounders.

Featured image courtesy: @impactmontreal

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @evejulia9

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Sacrifice Saturday for RBNY

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 17th: 1-0 Loss

Raise your hand if you enjoy losing!


But sometimes it’s gonna happen. It’s not fun, but perspective is necessary at times like this.

The New York Red Bulls traveled to Rio Tinto Stadium for a cross-conference matchup with Real Salt Lake, coached by former RBNY player and coach Mike Petke. Coming off a huge loss to LAFC, RSL was hungry for a home win, especially against a team that is riding high after decisive wins in two competitions.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Utah= snow. The official ball was Day-Glo orange just in case of accumulation of the white stuff during the game. While there was precipitation in the 2nd half, it was mostly rain which drastically affected RBNY’s passing game. The Red Bulls were able to maintain over 60% of the possession during the game, but the passes got shorter and interceptions increased over the course of 90 minutes.

Uphill Climb: Carlos Rivas‘ foul just inside the box resulted in a penalty kick that became a goal for Albert Rusnák (4′). This means the Red Bulls were chasing the tie for 86+ minutes. And while they possessed the ball, passed well, and had several breakaways, nothing came of it. Credit to the team that frustration only set in at the very end, most notably from midfielder Tyler Adams.

It was all Yellow: While none of them gave RBNY a chance to level the score with a penalty kick of their own, there were 4 yellow cards given to RSL players. And then there was the **possible** handball by an RSL defender in the box. Maybe it would have been called out with the same VAR that pointed our Rivas’ error, but it was not implemented.

But we mustn’t dwell.


So, the Red Bulls did well.. in nearly every way. Except for the one that matters as the season goes on. Is it as bad as a rivalry loss? A multi-goal thumping? No. But it sure don’t feel good.

Well, onward and upward. A Minnesota United team that is enjoying their ride this season. A powerhouse known as Chivas Guadalajara. Time to get back on it.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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Water dance of Loons snuff out Chicago Fire in opener

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Saturday, March 17: 2-1 Win

On Saturday night, Minnesota United FC put on a show for the sold-out black and blue and green clad crowd at TCF Bank Stadium, their temporary home on the campus of the U of M. Many feared a repeat of the 2017 home opener, when the Loons made their MLS debut in white-out conditions and gave up six goals, much too easily, to expansion rival Atlanta United. This home opener could not have been more different.

With speedy left winger Miguel Ibarra playing the central-mid role in place of Molino, flanked by Nicholson on his left and Finlay on his right, and communicating telepathically with withdrawn striker Christian Ramirez, the Loons were constantly pressing forward. Behind them, Schuller and Ibson were picking pockets left and right, choosing carefully their opportunities to send the ball forward. It was frustrating to watch that effort come to nothing the first half, especially with Chicago Fire’s attack, led by Nemanja Nikolic, outshooting Minnesota with five shots to two.

A last-second miscue or dispossession would dissolve the Loons’ momentum time after time. But still. They dominated. The shuffled lineup was cause for celebration by fans who were confused up to this point by Heath’s use of the bench. The midfield, in particular, a problem spot all last season and in the season opener in San Jose, earned the glory.

Without Ibson’s ridiculous footwork and dribbling, without Nicholson’s driving shoulder on the wing, without Ibarra’s speed and distribution, without Ramirez’s selfless hold-up plays, without Finlay’s crossing ability…

Ibson notched the first goal when he (for some bizarre reason) found himself on the receiving end of a Finlay cross in the 55th minute. Chicago keeper Sanchez got a glove on Ibson’s first shot but tipped it back his direction. Ibson made good on the second chance.

Chicago drew level at the 59th minute when the Loons’ defense seemed to lose their marks allowing Elliot Collier to rebound on a Nikolic shot and score in his league debut. The draw lit a fire under Minnesota, who all poured forward. Just seven minutes later, Finlay took off down the right wing and crossed the ball into the box meeting Nicholson, who snuck past a Fire line focused on the right wing. The midfielder pounced and launched a header past Sanchez who barely turned his head as the ball whistled past him.

Both sides had chances over the final minutes, but Minnesota’s defense held true and the squad continued pressing forward, refusing to ‘park the bus’, as they say. Instead, they said maybe.

The entire stadium seemed to hold a collective breath through stoppage time. Finally, the whistle sounded and 23,138 people (less the 200 Section 8 fans who traveled from Chicago) belted out Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ with their scarves held high.

Featured image courtesy: Bridget McDowell

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

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Time and Patience: Two qualities FC Dallas fans don’t seem to give, but it may pay off

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi

Sunday, March 18: 3-0 Win

I’m going to start this off by saying that I was shocked that we really put yesterday’s game away. My feeling could be very wrong, but I usually feel like FC Dallas doesn’t do a great job of really killing off teams when they’re a man up. However, yesterday was different. I liked it. I liked it a lot. But, I had a lot of other thoughts on things that I liked about the game other than the score.

FC Dallas had what was arguably the worst fallout of a season in 2017. I feel that going into 2018, fans were wary of what we would see on the field. We had some great offseason signings and the promise of playing some of our kids. Dallas fans are notorious for not being patient and wanting to see changes and improvements: looks at watch… like, yesterday.

One thing we could definitely benefit from is seeing that time on the field for some of these new players and being patient with them. It will benefit everyone involved. I feel like we finally got a glimpse of what we can see from some of these players and it may just pay off.

Anton Nedyalkov: I didn’t know what to expect from this man from Bulgaria when we signed him. I liked what I saw in film and some Dallas podcasts interviewed fans from his former team and we liked what we heard. However, the transition to MLS can be a lot for someone and may take some time. Let’s just say, in the short amount of time he has been in Dallas, Nedyalkov has definitely earned his new nickname, “The Bulgarian Butcher”.

This man is a blessing to our defense. He really seems to not care if he puts someone on the ground and I love every second of it. I tend to feel that MLS usually is about speed and Nedyalkov is there to literally stop someone in their tracks. Not to mention, he is not afraid to completely push up and just throw another team’s defense off. He actually did this yesterday and set Lamah up for his second goal. It was beautiful and I can’t wait to see more.

Paxton Pomykal: Pomykal is one of those Dallas homegrowns I have been waiting to see really get some time. He came in for Jacori Hayes and only played 26 minutes, but he showed us a lot. Paxton has the speed down the side, but also the skill to make defenders look dumb.

There are two plays of Paxton’s that really stand out to me. One of the first runs he had was dribbling down the field and what seemed to be around five different Seattle Sounders players. I was impressed and the crowd seemed to be as well. The next play that stood out to me was when he kept control of the ball and made a great through to Barrios.

Something I think Dallas has struggled with is getting balls to Barrios for him to make the runs we know he is good at. Pomykal can deliver those and it sets us up for success on many levels.

Jacori Hayes: Jacori Hayes supposedly almost didn’t get the start, but I’m sure glad he did. This kid has impressed me. One thing I like about him is that he is just consistent. The FC Dallas midfield is just not as strong as we want it to be. There just seems to be a missing piece.

While Kellyn Acosta is out, we seem to be lacking depth as well. Hayes can hold it down. We still need that connecting piece that makes the ball movement from defense to our forwards more fluid, but I really think Hayes could be a part of that puzzle. With a little bit more experience and time, I think Hayes will take more chances and really make it his own. Not to mention, he took some hard hits yesterday. He is definitely tough physically and mentally.

Our game against Seattle was everything I wanted it to be. Were they without some key players? Yes. Did Dempsey go out on a red because he can’t keep his hands to himself? Yes. But, defeating Seattle always feels sweet. We had some solid plays from Urruti, Lamah, and Barrios, and I hope the team we saw yesterday continues to jell together and puts games away.

Also, congratulations to Oscar Pareja on becoming the winningest coach in the modern FC Dallas era!


Featured image of rowboat celebration courtesy: Bailey Brown

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @baileystaysposi

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NYCFC utilize a little Irish luck

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Saturday, March 17: 2-0 Win

As you know, St Patrick’s Day is the day when New Yorkers dress up in green attire and accessories and look idiotic.  On purpose.  Sometimes it goes along with some other questionable choices in celebration methods.  St Patrick’s Day celebrations were in full effect at Yankee Stadium and fans had full faith in their own St Patrick, head coach Patrick Vieira.

Up until an hour before the game, New York City FC fans were feeling very confident about this home match versus Orlando City FC.  Everyone was healthy, Orlando City has been struggling and was down five starting players.  And then they got the tweet:

The game became a real match up.  No David Villa and no Jo Inge Berget, who is supposed to be Villa’s backup?  No man of the last match Anton Tinnerholm? Apparently, NYCFC was going to be testing this much-previously-discussed depth of the squad.

Turns out there’s depth.  Jumping in the front as striker for Villa, who was out with a minor injury, was Ismael Tajouri-Shradi with his first start.  At right back for the also injured Tinnerholm was another first-time starter, Saad Abdul-Salaam.  Both players performed very well in the match as NYCFC maintained about 60% of the possession with fluid, smooth ball movement and quick, decisive destruction of Orlando’s offense. 

The major fan frustration was the small number of shots taken by NYCFC on Orlando City’s goal, particularly in the first half.  Without Villa, (the usual proverbial beacon in the night calling for the ball), there seemed to be a sense of caution on offense, which did lessen in the second half. 

The second half is when most of the action happened.  At 61:37, Tajouri scored his first NYCFC goal which was quickly followed by a goal by Maxi Moralez at 73:04. Down 0-2, Orlando kicked it up a notch and did give goalkeeper Sean Johnson some trouble. He made three saves, while a handful of Orlando’s shots were off target. According to Vieira, he was very happy with the way the team played in this game.

Maybe there was a little luck of the Irish happening? On that note, the biggest fan response to a sub coming on was our local Irish-American hero Tommy McNamara.

H-U-S-T-L-E-R of the match: Alex Ring for not only destroying possible attacks but instantaneously jump-starting the offense in a calm, methodical manner.

Oh crap, moment of the match:  Ronald Matarrita getting injured again after playing only a few minutes.


Featured image courtesy: Keira Smith

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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I saw him playing there – at Red Bull Arena

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 10: 4-0 Win

Seeing as I’m willing to watch pretty much any MLS match, and I got my fill of Week 1 games, one might think I would meet the home opener for the New York Red Bulls as they faced the Portland Timbers with decorum and aplomb.

One would be wrong.

I raced to the game and to my seat because I was ready for the new season. I had already seen the team advance to the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League in a rather decisive fashion at Red Bull Arena. How was the team going to go from that to MLS action and back again so quickly? The answer had been there all along, hiding in plain sight.

BABY YOU’RE A FIREWORK: Starting the season with a real bang, the fireworks and flashpots were out and firing as the starting lineup took the field. The players were all in red, the color kit that was a long time coming.

In his MLS debut, midfielder Alejandro Romero Gamarra could be spied just taking it all in. Indeed, several of the members of the starting lineup were making their MLS/RBNY/First Team debut. So okay– fans aren’t going to see Bradley-Wright Phillips or Aaron Long much, if at all.

Who are these guys in their places? Didn’t the club just sign Kyle Duncan, and they’re playing him already? Aren’t they facing the Timbers, the team that has 2017’s MVP, Diego Valeri? Is this even going to work?

GO ‘HEAD, HAITIAN MESSI: Well… when Derrick Etienne Jr. pulls off something like this, how can you not call him that?

He was a force to be reckoned with the entire first half, although it didn’t quite yield the desired result. Many chances and shots, but no goals. No reason to worry, though. Now is the time to hammer out the perfect pairs up top, and his match might be Danny Royer. It remains to be seen.

WELL, HE WAS JUST SEVENTEEN: No. Really. Starting midfielder Ben Mines, just seventeen years old and wearing #17 on his back, made his MLS debut and opened his goal-scoring account for the season… at 17 minutes, 17 seconds. He played for the full 90 minutes, getting knocked around by the opposition and earning himself a yellow card in the 72′ for time wasting. I daresay he ended up having the full MLS experience in one night. And he took home the ball he scored with to give to his mom. How could I cheer for another?

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL: Once Wright-Phillips was subbed on for Etienne and Tyler Adams for Romero Gamarra, there was a noticeable shift forward in the game. Wright-Phillips was able to convert a corner from defender Connor Lade with a header into the net in the 77th minute. And after several frustrating attempts in a 5-minute span, 23-year-old forward Carlos Rivas scores not one, but TWO goals (80′, assisted by Vincent Bezecourt & 90’+, assisted by Lade).

This month has roared in like a lion for the team, between the start of league play and the work that has to go into the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. But it sure seems like the team is ready to take it all on.

**PERSONAL NEWS** In case you’re one of the 5 people I haven’t told yet, I slipped on some ice recently and fractured my ankle. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Red Bull Communications Department and the Arena security staff for helping me get around and not have to miss out on the 1st match of the season.

Featured image courtesy: Sylvana Budesheim

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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The struggle is real for LA Galaxy

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @AdorableEars

Sunday, March 11: 2-1 Loss

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole ©; Jonathan dos Santos, Perry Kitchen; Sebastian Lletget, Giovani dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng; Ola Kamara.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale

With a 4-2-3-1 formation, Ola Kamara was the lone striker, which should have meant getting more touches on the ball, but we just couldn’t quite get there despite our rigorous efforts.

The LA Galaxy played at Yankee Stadium, so I had to listen to my team struggle via the radio and watch per Twitter highlights.  The size of the field, 68 x 106 yards (70×100 meters), played a factor in our performance since it is the smallest in MLS and the smallest allowed by FIFA’s international guidelines. We aren’t used to playing on that, but it’s not an excuse.

With Alessandrini out for the match due to a hamstring injury, it was an opportunity for Sebastian Lletget to shine as the right winger. This was his first start and longest amount of time played (75 minutes) since his long recovery from a Lisfranc injury.  He brought speed and really fought hard to create scoring chances.

We were outplayed in the first half and the first goal came in the 22nd minute from Anton Tinnerholm on a well-timed run that Ciani just couldn’t push out.

This is only the second game in the season, but we can see the Galaxy need to work on keeping it together after substitutions and hang on in the later minutes of the second half until the end of the match. They also need to work on finishing goals because they had plenty of scoring opportunities. Lastly, we need to develop the chemistry between players (we are looking much better), but we need to play the way New York City FC’s Sweat and Medina set each other up.

It was 2-0 by the 33rd minute when David Villa scored on a rebound off Bingham’s save. Their other chances came when players like Yangel Herrera were given too much space, but Bingham really did well saving us most of the evening.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Sebastian Lletget’s first start and the most minutes he’s played since his recovery

Unfortunately, the match turned sour for the Galaxy when Ciani had to exit with what we now know as a hip flexor injury, but Steres was subbed in.

Set pieces are always opportunities for the Galaxy to score, but we missed those. We also had poor play out of the backline.

Finally, the breakthrough we’d been hoping for came in the 60th minute when Jonathan Dos Santos was able to score. He moved up when Carrasco subbed his brother, Gio, due to an injury ten minutes prior.  Jona had been on the ball but played too deep in his position in the holding mid before the change.

After that goal, the Galaxy had better energy. Skjelvik defended us well. Still, we need to keep from coming undone late in the game.

The last blow to us came when Ashley Cole, our beloved captain, got a second yellow card that resulted in a red and we were down a man. Cole made a challenge that took down Villa with little contact, which should have been up for VAR, but another key player was out.

At the end of it all, we are a more than capable team. As to be expected after the alterations this team has undergone, there’s still work to be done. But, I see us coming together despite this 2-1 loss. Missing key players means the rest of the team has to step up and show up.

Images courtesy: lagalaxy.com

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @AdorableEars

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Oops, we did it again breaking ALL the records in Atlanta

Robyn Saghini - Atlanta United FC/mlsfemale
Official Atlanta United Reporter

By Robyn Saghini // @robynsaghini

Sunday, March 11: 3-1 Win

After a miserable season opener at Houston last week, Atlanta United FC redeemed itself by breaking the “raccoon witch curse” and the fans proved once again that soccer is thriving in Georgia.

In 2017, ATLUTD could not manage to scrape together a draw against DC United, let alone a win and the “raccoon witch curse” was born. Those raccoons at RFK Stadium obviously performed some unholy magic that somehow allowed the second-worst team in the league last year to defeat ATLUTD all three times they met.

In our home opener for 2018, though, the tables turned. Coach Tata Martino made some adjustments to the formation (more on that in a bit) and ATLUTD wins 3-1, with goals from Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, and Tito Villalba. My friend (and Mouths of the South podcaster), Jay Riddle had a theory:

ATLUTD played in a 3-5-2 formation this week (different from the usual 4-2-3-1) and Tata put Jeff Larentowicz (aka “Larry”) back as a defensive midfielder, Miggy back in at CM, and moved Greg Garza to left wing and Julian Gressel to right wing.

I’m usually a bit leery when Tata starts changing things around, but it was easy to see the guys had much better control this week. I was still nervous with only a 1-0 lead at the half, but then Miggy scored. And not even two minutes later, Tito scored (and I missed it because I was posting a picture of T.I. on the supporters stage to the MLSFemale IG story, which is how I got caught on ESPN, so there’s that).

Our old pal Yamil Asad may have scored DCU’s first goal of the season, but he wasn’t much help to them this weekend. Asad got some applause from the early fans when he walked into the stadium and hugged all of his former teammates when DCU came out for warmups, which nearly made me cry. However, he did have some trouble getting past Gressel and Franco Escobar on the right. The only goal for DCU was scored by Darren Mattocks, who slipped by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and somehow managed to get a shot by Brad Guzan.

For a third time, ATLUTD broke the MLS single-game attendance record with 72,035 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday. The club also announced on Monday that they will open the full stadium for a fifth game (Oct 21 vs Chicago Fire, the final regular season game) this season. A friend of mine did the math and said this will bring us to just over 900,000 people at ATLUTD games in 2018. I’d like to see them open it up two more times (for a total of seven full-stadium games) so we can go over 1,000,000!

In other news this week, Julian Gressel made the MLS Team of the Week (with Almiron on the bench), and Miggy’s goal is up for Goal of the Week. I think ATL fans broke MLS’s system last year, so now you can only vote once (instead of once per hour like last year).

This coming Saturday, 3/17, ATLUTD host the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have an impressive streak of 18 road games undefeated. Vancouver got the best of our boys last year, but so did DCU – until they came to the Benz, so we’ll see what Tata and the boys do this week. I’m not betting against my boys and the home crowd, though. 😉

Featured image courtesy: atlutd.com

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @robynsaghini

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Chicago Fire home opener

Daniela Calvo - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Daniela Calvo // @DanielaCalvo__

Saturday, March 10: 3-4 Loss

The air was crisp, fans were lining up to enter the stadium, kids high fived and took pictures with Sparky, the team’s mascot. This day was one many fans were anticipating. The Chicago Fire had to wait an additional week to play their first game of the season.

Sporting Kansas City had lost their opener a week prior to New York City FC and was looking for a win. Hopes were high for the home opener, fans thought this game would be a win for sure, but what unfolded in the 90 minutes left fans at a loss for words.

Starting XI

Richard SanchezBrandon VincentChristian DeanJohan KappelhofMatt PolsterTony TchaniDax McCarty ©; Aleksandar KataiBastian SchweinsteigerLuis SolignacNemanja Nikolić.

The first half was dominated by Sporting KC. The team took an early lead in the 9th minute- Sanchez came off the line to make a save; the ball bounced off his hands and deflected right onto Felipe Gutierrez, who scored his first goal in the MLS. As the first half was coming to a close, Johnny Russell added one more goal for the away team.

The halftime whistle blew and the Fire was down by 2. Fans were getting restless but there was plenty of time to draw or end the game in a win. The Fire needed the halftime break to regroup.

In the second half, the Fire took fans on an emotional rollercoaster. First, Katai scored his first goal in the MLS. Minutes later, Nikolić scored the second goal of the game. Just then fans were in an uproar, cheering on the team, hoping for at least one more goal and 16 minutes later they got their wish.

Nikolić scored his second and the Fire’s third goal of the match. Shortly after, Jimmy Medranda equalized after capitalizing from another blocked shot by Sanchez. At this point, a draw would suffice. But finally, in the 86th minute, Gutierrez scored his second and the final goal of the match to mark the final score 3-4.

Throughout the 90 minutes, the Fire played a messy game.  Many passes were lost at midfield and the defense was not helping either. Sporting KC capitalized on mistakes made on the pitch. The Fire, however, showed that they can overcome a deficit but alas they couldn’t earn 3 points at home.

The Fire return to action on Saturday, March 17, 2018, against Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium.

Featured image courtesy: Daniela Calvo

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @DanielaCalvo__

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Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Sunday, March 11: 2-1 Win

New York City FC immediately took control of this game, calmly keeping possession and easily moving the ball around and through the LA Galaxy.  This was the pace of the first two-thirds of the game.  The movement down the left wing was swift and opened up space for David Villa in the center and for the cross to the right side.  Jesus Medina and Rodney Wallace again utilized switching flanks quite a bit which successfully shook up LA’s ability to mark well. 

With the fluid ball movement, the elephant on the field was that our offense was continuously distributing balls to Villa in goal-scoring chances in lieu of taking the shot themselves.  As this was Villa’s 100th cap for NYCFC, teammates Medina and Maxi Moralez gave him many of their own legitimate chances to score but most of these deferred attempts fell flat. 

The first goal of the match was scored by NYCFC when a shot by Villa was poorly cleared by LA and Anton Tinnerholm quickly capitalized on it with a strong left volley at 21:50.  And finally, at 32:37 Villa’s one-game goal-scoring drought ended.  Medina received a cross from Ben Sweat whose shot was blocked by LA goalkeeper David Bingham, which set up Villa to finish off the rebound. 

Anton Tinnerholm, NYCFC - Keira Smith/mlsfemale
Post game. Anton Tinnerholm, NYCFC – Keira Smith/mlsfemale

Already, there seems to be strong chemistry between Sweat and Medina who have successfully set each other up in front of the goal in both games. The NYCFC momentum continued, yet as Villa stated in the post game, “…We couldn’t close the game. In the first half probably we had a chance to close the game. With three nil. Much easier and [with] no pain in the last minute.”

And so the tone of the game changed with an LA Galaxy goal at 60’ by Jonathan Dos Santos.  NYCFC began to rush and scramble a bit more and LA was able to put together some offensive attacks. New York was very successful in forcing turnovers in the middle third of the field by swarming each LA player with two to three defenders. 

Attacks on the Galaxy continued but when Medina was subbed out, there were numerous opportunities when nobody was on the right post.  In the last 20 minutes of the game, Emmanuel Boateng became really dangerous every time LA took possession. Even playing with ten men, (Ashley Cole was ejected for 2 yellow cards), LA managed to heavily pressure NYCFC. 

It looked like New York ran out of gas in the last 15 minutes, so when the final whistle blew it was with a huge sigh of relief from many fans. 

Greatest hits

Sean Johnson is credited with only two saves and one claimed cross but with one possibly saved by his face. They were legit threats and decisive saves.

No VAR used!

Alexander Callens and Sebastien Ibeagha’s squatting ball-clearing headers.

H-U-S-T-L-E-R of the match – Rodney Wallace providing that necessary 2nd or 3rd person pressure on LA.

Tinnerholm’s goal celebration = pure joy.

Extra Time

Who did David Villa say in the post-match interview is a “really amazing guy”?

Featured image courtesy: Keira Smith

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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