The weekend is here! Plenty of Thursday night action to recap and plenty going on Saturday and Sunday.
This wrap-up is intended to help you stay up-to-date with the major happenings across the league so you’re fully informed and ready when March 3rd rolls around.
Game Results and Details
Chicago Fire 1 – 0 Philadelphia Union
Chicago put out a starting XI for this game that shows just how much the team’s improved on paper this offseason. It translated to the field, too, where new signings Dax McCarty and Juninho were given an extended run to work out their partnership. The Fire’s other major offseason acquisition, Nemanja Nikolic, set up the lone goal of the game with a cross to Michael de Leeuw. Philly’s new forward Jay Simpson showed off good movement and instincts, but failed to make two good looks count. 2017 second round pick Marcus Epps also flashed for the Union in the second half.
Minnesota United FC 1 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Minnesota and Vancouver played to an uninspiring draw to open the annual Portland Timbers preseason tournament. Russell Teibert’s long-range strike canceled out an earlier Vancouver own goal. Both teams had clear holes and are still sorting out respective best XIs. That’s expected for an expansion side like Minnesota. Vancouver, however, has serious cause for concern. The ‘Caps are just two weeks out from a CONCACAF Champions League tie with the New York Red Bulls and the team still doesn’t have a reliable forward or playmaker. Minnesota, meanwhile has major question marks at both outside back spots.
Portland Timbers FC 3 – 3 Real Salt Lake
Portland and RSL proved just how entertaining preseason can be in this six-goal thriller. Portland got two goals from star Diego Valeri to go along with Darren Mattocks’ tally. RSL had a stunning free kick courtesy of Joao Plata, and long-range rockets from Luke Mulholland and Omar Holness for its goals. Both teams’ attacks looked very sharp. New signing Sebastian Blanco fit in well with Valeri and Darlington Nagbe for Portland as did newcomer Albert Rusnak for RSL. The big talking point, however, was the use of VAR to send off Diego Chara in the 42nd minute.
FC Dallas Showing Well on Argentina Trip
FCD is in the midst of a crazy, eight games in eight days Argentina excursion. But the MLS side is holding its own, following up a 1-0 loss to Lanus with three draws in the next three games, including one against legendary club River Plate. The most fun/notable thing to come out of the four games is 15-year-old Jesus Ferreira (yes that’s the son of club legend David Ferreira) setting up a goal.
Notable Player Movement
Houston Dynamo Re-Signs Left Back DaMarcus Beasley
New Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera called Beasley “the best left back in the country” in the team’s release about the move. That may be exaggerating a bit, but Beasley has developed into a very reliable starter and his decision to re-sign is another good move for a Houston team that should be much more competitive in 2017.
DC United Reportedly Trying to Sign Maxim Tissot
It’s a rumor, but it comes via the Washington Post’s Steven Goff who is always in the know about MLS. Tissot is a Canadian national teamer who made more than 40 appearances over four years for the Montreal Impact. Goff writes Tissot, “…would provide depth at left back. Starter Taylor Kemp is the only natural fit at that position.”
League News and Notes
The new kits keep coming! Sporting Kansas City, the Houston Dynamo and the Montreal Impact are the latest to release their 2017 looks. You can see them, along with all of the kits that have been released so far, here.
Longtime MLS and Costa Rica forward Alvaro Saborio has retired from soccer after what sounds like a nasty incident with Saprissa fans. On a lighter note, MLSSoccer.com has a fun highlight reel of Sabo’s best MLS goals.
The Colorado Rapids traded a 2017 international slot to NYCFC for $75k in General Allocation Money (GAM). Maybe Atlanta should think about doing the same?
It sounds like former SKC forward Krisztian Nemeth is having buyer’s remorse about his money-chasing move to Qatar.
In a very cool and fan-friendly move, FC Dallas announced all 26 of the team’s non-nationally televised games will be simulcast on FCDallas.com.
Lots of preseason action over the weekend!
Orlando City SC – Tampa Bay Rowdies (11 a.m. ET)
Atlanta United FC – Chattanooga FC (3 p.m. ET)
LA Galaxy – San Jose Earthquakes (10:00 p.m. ET)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Real Salt Lake (5:30 p.m. ET)
Portland Timbers FC – Minnesota United FC (8 p.m. ET)
FC Dallas also continues its eight-day, Argentinian marathon with games Saturday and Sunday mornings.