Week 21 of Major League Soccer’s Regular Season is underway, and most clubs, players and staff are all busy with their table rankings and playoff prospects. Still, some of the league’s biggest stars are busy with other things. But hey, these are the things that make us love soccer, aren’t they?
Wayne Rooney Flies Home
Off the back of a 4-1 victory at FC Cincinnati on July 19th, Wayne Rooney received permission to fly back to his UK home for a short visit, and thus miss D.C. United’s Sunday (July 21st) match at Atlanta United FC. D.C’s coach Ben Olsen said that “it’s just time to give him a mental and physical break”.
Unfortunately, D.C. United didn’t do too well without their captain, who’s also the team’s leading goal scorer this season (11 goals and 7 assists). They lost 2-0 to hosts Atlanta.
The Sun British tabloid provided another explanation, reporting that Rooney’s wife Coleen isn’t happy in the US. Allegedly, she wants to return to the UK sooner than planned.
Zlatan Feeling Hunted
LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given a formal warning from the MLS for an aggressive elbow tackle against LAFC’s Mohamad El-Munir. The attitude left the victim needing surgery.
Although receiving a caution, Ibrahimovic did not receive any punishment or sanction for fracturing El-Muni’s skull. Still, that didn’t prevent Zlatan from being himself. According to ESPN he said that he “feels like he is being hunted”.
Ibrahimovic continues to provide gems for all of us to enjoy, following another statement he made prior to the LA Derby about him being a “Ferrari among Fiats”.
After his statement caused a stir (how untypical for Ibra), The LA Galaxy Captain clarified his automotive poetry. Prior to a game against the Portland Timbers, he then explained: “What I was trying to say is I was a Ferrari in MLS. That is all. Not saying my teammates are Fiats, because my teammates are with me, so I’m a Ferrari, they are Ferraris, too”.
Portland Timbers Crush LA Galaxy
Despite all the noise and attention LA Galaxy’s Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic is generating, last night (Saturday, July 27th) belonged solely to Galaxy rivals Portland Timbers. The team displayed a thorough, cohesive, and tight effort that shut down LA Galaxy and had the Timbers dominate the match.
The Timbers hosted LA Galaxy at Providence Park, and although they let Ibrahimovic get close and generate some opportunities, scored two goals in the first half (Christian Pardes 37’, Diego Valeri 41’). After that, they went off to the dressing room with a 2-0 advantage.
As in most of the game, but especially during the second half Portland’s defence came into play whilst showing fantastic form and discipline, pretty much not letting Ibra, the self-proclaimed Ferrari to get out of first gear.
It’s not often that defense gets most of the credit in a 4-0 win, but this time, the Portland Timbers’ back players really earned it by shutting down one of the most intimidating attacks in the MLS.
What made the night even more special for the hosts was the fact that after 25 victories during the past four years, this was the first Portland Timber win without their All-Star midfielder Diego Chara, who was suspended on yellow-card accumulation.
David Beckham Turns on the Miami Heat
Inter Miami FC, David Beckham’s new MLS expansion team that will join the league in the 2020 season, just announced its’ first two signings this week. Argentinian youngsters Matías Pellegrini and Julián Carranza.
Pellegrini, a midfielder from Argentinian side Estudiantes also played for Argentina’s National Under17 and Under20 teams. Carranza, a centre-forward from Banfield has been playing in the Argentine Primera Division since 2017 and also for his country’s Under17s. Both players will continue to play on loan in respective clubs until the MLS 2020 season commences.
Both 19 year-old players have been showing a great deal of potential in their young soccer careers to date, and are part of Miami’s commitment to acquire and develop young talent that will build the foundation for this new MLS club.
“It is important for us to find young, exciting players that are on the upside of their career and have the potential to be really good players in the MLS,” said Miami’s Sporting Director Paul McDonough.
He added: “We will continue to build and add quality players that are the right fit for our club”.
Beckham, former LA Galaxy Captain who since serves for many years as an MLS ambassador around the world, emphasizes the unique character of Miami and its’ American-Latino culture who he sees as one of the foundations of North American soccer.