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By CLIFF STARKEY
WASHINGTON—It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Last year was a fluke. This year would look more like 2013.
D.C. United had heard it all. Despite a stunning turnaround last season, in which they finished first in the Eastern Conference before an exit to the New York Red Bulls in the playoffs, many outlets—and MLS fans—didn’t expect as much from the team this year.
D.C. United knew what was expected of them. And they’ve responded in historical fashion.
Saturday night’s win at RFK Stadium against the surging Columbus Crew gives D.C. United (5-1-2) the best start in franchise history through eight games. That bears repeating: D.C. United—four-time MLS Champions and a founding member of MLS—has never started a season as strongly as in 2015.
Marco Etcheverry. Jaime Moreno. Bruce Arena.
Fabian Espindola. Chris Rolfe. Ben Olsen. Continue reading
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By RYAN TOLMICH
New York City FC simply had no answer for Obafemi Martins on Sunday night.
The Seattle Sounders forward ran rampant at Yankee Stadium, tallying a pair of finishes and an assist en route to a 3-1 victory over NYCFC, earning Martins honors as SBI MLS Player of the Week.
While his speed and demeanor on the ball were apparent throughout the evening, Martins conjured the combination into a pair of goals, the first of which came in the 27th minute. Darting past a helpless backline, Martins overcame a stumble before firing past goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Moments after tallying an assist in the 58th minute, Martins once again abused the NYCFC defense, getting on the end of a Dempsey backheel before rocketing a left-footed strike into the far post.
Martins proved to be an absolute menace for the NYCFC defense, earning the forward SBI MLS Player of the Week honors ahead of Fabian Castillo, Fabian Espindola, Charlie Davies and Sebastian Giovinco.
What did you think of Martins’ performance? Which player stood out to you this past weekend?
Share your thoughts below.
photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
NEW YORK — Effective and attractive. Graceful and lethal.
The Seattle Sounders extended their current winning streak to three games on Sunday night, going on the road and picking up an impressive 3-1 win over New York City FC. The two players that led the way for the Sounders were the same two that have been doing plenty of the heavy lifting this year and each of the previous two, as strike partners Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins combined to score all three of Seattle’s goals.
Martins bagged a brace in the match at Yankee Stadium with goals on each side of halftime, and sandwiched in between those strikes was Dempsey’s 58th-minute winner. It was a vintage performance from the two veterans – who have combined for 11 goals and six assists two months into the 2015 campaign – that showcased their understanding, eye for the incredible, and ruthlessness in front of goal.
“We rely on each other to create chances for each other,” said Dempsey, who now has five goals and four assists this season. “The movement off the ball that we have and being able to connect passes and put each others in good positions to get goals is what’s going to help us to be successful throughout the season.
By AYDIN REYHAN
This weekend brought us a champion in the Premier League and let us know that some leagues are going to be extremely fun going into the final weeks.
With a 1-0 victory on Sunday, Chelsea was crowned champions of the Premier League, earning manager Jose Mourinho his third title with the club and first since returning to the team in 2013.
Chelsea was not alone in claiming a domestic crown as Juventus locked up their fourth consecutive Sere A championship with a victory over Sampdoria.
Meanwhile, Spain’s title race remains nowhere near as clear cut, as Barcelona thrashed Cordoba 8-0 on the road as they are still protecting their two-point gap atop of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid.
Here is what happened in European soccer’s top five leagues this weekend: Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has hit a sepctacular run of form for Real Madrid, only furthering his desires to stay removed from the substitute bench.
The Mexican striker has filled in admirably in the absence of Karim Benzema, scoring four goals in the past six games including the winning tally in the Champions League quarterfinals against Atletico Madrid. Hernandez is glad that his patience has paid off in the form of playing time, but remains hopeful that that time will continue.
“The season has been very complicated,” Hernandez said. “But, in football, sometimes the wheel turns very quickly. And thank God, I now have more possibilities to play. My parents taught me that patience and perseverance are part of learning. Today, I feel very good. For many people, I was already finished here, but it was only the beginning. One must not lower one’s head.
“I learn every day in this great club and all I am grateful to God for that,” he added. “I know that at Real Madrid the competition is strong and the minutes are rare and my intention was never to complain. But, at times, I just expressed the frustration I felt. As I am not one to be content with sitting on the bench, I always want more.”
Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Monday morning: Continue reading
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By RYAN TOLMICH
Since assuming the role of Real Salt Lake head coach in 2007, success hasn’t been too hard to come by for Jason Kreis. Having led RSL to an MLS Cup in 2009, Kreis has reached the pinnacle of MLS success while becoming the youngest head coach in history to claim an MLS crown.
However, despite all of his previous successes, positives have been hard to come by in Kreis’ first handful of games in charge of NYCFC.
Through the first nine games of the club’s inaugural season, NYCFC have collected just six points, opening Kreis’ eyes to just how difficult it is to build a team from scratch in the current MLS landscape.
“Not well,” Kreis said when asked how he’s handling the team’s slow start. “It just doesn’t sit well with me. I guess I didn’t realize it would be this difficult. Maybe I forgot how hard it is to build a team in this league and have success on a continuous basis, a consistent basis.
“A lot of sleepless nights now to think of ways to get this team to improve, to stay positive, because if you think there are a lot of positive things to look to, and to have some patience, and that’s probably my biggest downfall in my character is that I have very little patience.” Continue reading
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BY MICHAEL PENG
NEW YORK — It was the usual suspects again for Seattle, but when Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins have been so splendid all season, it’s a formula the Sounders will gladly take game after game to get positive results.
Martins’ first of two goals on the night opened the scoring in the 23rd minute and Dempsey added a go-ahead score in the 58th as the Sounders defeated host New York City FC, 3-1, in front of a crowd of 25,384 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Martins tacked on another goal in the 67th mark to put the game away and subsequently extended the expansion club’s winless streak to an MLS-long seven matches.
With the three scores in the contest, Dempsey and Martins have now combined to be responsible for 11 of the Sounders’ 13 goals on the season so far.
“Nothing surprises me with those two guys,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “They are able to conjure up magical stuff and they are unique and special.”
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By ADAM TROXTELL
A day after his team was victorious in a friendly outing against Ponte Preta, Orlando City SC midfielder Kevin Molino shared some bad news.
Molino has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Orlando City announced on Sunday night.
Molino was subbed out of Saturday night’s friendly in the 18th minute and replaced by Eric Avila. Molino has started all seven of Orlando City’s games this season, recording one assist.
The injury will also rule Molino out of this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he was expected to be one of Trinidad & Tobago’s key players.
Here are some more MLS news and notes: