We are only five weeks into the 2019 season and another player has stormed into the spotlight. Alejandro Pozuelo made quite the incredible debut for Toronto FC. Pozuelo came over from KRC Genk on March 4, taking the designated player spot previously occupied by Sebastian Giovinco. Pozuelo scored two beautiful goals and added an assist to help Toronto pound New York City FC in front of 25,447 at BMO Field. His performance earned him player of the week honors.
After a week off, Minnesota United returned to the road to face the New England Revolution. Despite the best efforts Darwin Quintero, the Loons dropped their second straight match and gave the Revolution their first win this season. The struggles continued for the New York Red Bulls. as they lost their fourth match out of their last five, in all competitions. Since starting the season off with a draw at Columbus and subsequently thumping the San Jose Quakes 4-1, New York has gone scoreless in their last two matches.
There were goals aplenty out west, as Sporting Kansas City hung a seven spot on Montreal and Los Angeles FC throttled the hapless San Jose Quakes. Krisztian Nemeth and Johnny Russell scored five of Sporting’s seven goals. Russell got things going just 10 minutes in, and the rout was on. Montreal was facing a difficult task without top player Ignacio Piatti. With a massive Concacaf Champions League matchup with Monterrey looming midweek, this was the perfect result for coach Peter Vermes and Sporting KC before they head to Mexico.
In the other lopsided result, MVP frontrunner Carlos Vela and LAFC destroyed the winless San Jose Quakes. The Quakes have only scored two goals all season, so the struggle was definitely real, facing red hot LAFC. Vela notched his first MLS hat trick, with Steven Beitashour and Diego Rossi adding goals to cap off the 5-0 rout. The Quakes were the worst team in the league in 2018 and are certainly staking a claim to that title this year. Stunningly, San Jose has had only three wins over the last 12 months in 36 MLS matches and things just continue to get worse under new manager Matias Almeyda.
The worst team in the East, defending MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United, were held scoreless in its 2-0 loss on the road in a stormy Columbus. The loss extends the winless streak for the defending champs to four to start the season. Aside from the Crew moving into a tie atop the East, the biggest piece of news coming from the match was the announcement that Sigi Schmid will be inducted into the Crew Circle of Honor on June 29.
So proud to induct Sigi Schmid into the #Crew96 Circle of Honor June 29! @tbez10 delivered the announcement with @neilsika Saturday 🎥 pic.twitter.com/I4ie3aQw1M
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) April 1, 2019
There was a mix of young and old stars getting on the scoresheet. Paxton Pomykal, 19, notched two goals for FC Dallas, helping knock off Real Salt Lake for its second straight victory. Pomykal and Jesus Ferriera got on the scoresheet and helped lead FC Dallas to victory, once again showing why they have the best young talent in the league. The weekend was capped off with goals by Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Rooney scored one and assisted on another, helping DC United knock off Orlando City to stay perfect atop the Eastern Conference. Orlando City did manage to score a goal, through Dom Dwyer, becoming the first team to score on DC United so far this season.
Out west, Ibrahimovic added to the misery of the Portland Timbers, as he put away two penalty kicks in the 2-1 victory. Ibrahimovic was fouled and earned both penalties. The big Swede stepped up and subsequently deposited both penalties into the back of the net. With CCL returning this week, there are some major matchups to look forward to.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
Monterrey vs. Sporting Kansas City – 10 p.m. (Concacaf Champions League)
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy – 10 p.m.
New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact – 1 p.m.
DC United vs. Los Angeles FC – 3 p.m. (Fox)
Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire – 3 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. Minnesota United – 7 p.m.
Orlando City SC vs. Colorado Rapids – 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas – 7:30 p.m.
Columbus Crew SC vs. New England Revolution – 7:30 p.m.
San Jose Quakes vs. Portland Timbers – 8 p.m.
Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake – 10 p.m.
FC Cincinnati vs. Sporting Kansas City – 3 p.m. (ESPN)
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when it returns to the national stage, facing Sporting Kansas City at Nippert Stadium.
@iamchrisasbrock for @CincySoccerTalk