Alan Pulido points to sky - Sporting Kansas City - February 29, 2020
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Newcomers from Liga MX dazzle in MLS debut - This Week in MLS

Top things to know in MLS this week:
New and Young Players Showing Up: Of the 35 opening weekend goals, seven were scored by newcomers, 18 were scored by players ages 26 or younger.
 
A Birthday Goal: LAFC’s Carlos Vela picked up right where he left off, scoring the game-winner against Inter Miami CF. 
 
Chicharito set for home debut: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will make his highly anticipated home debut this week on Saturday, March 7 at Dignity Health Sports Park when the LA Galaxy host Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
 
Newcomers from Liga MX dazzle in MLS debut
MLS clubs signed more than 90 international newcomers during the offseason, with nine players coming from Liga MX (a 10th will arrive upon the opening of the Secondary Transfer Window in July). These former Liga MX stars dazzled in their respective MLS debuts during the opening week, including three goalscorers and a clean sheet performance from the newcomers.
 
Sporting Kansas City forward Alan Pulido scored 17 minutes into his MLS debut, continuing a run of form that saw the Mexico National Team standout capture the Liga MX 2019 Apertura Golden Boot while with Chivas de Guadalajara. A reported club-record signing, Pulido immediately rewarded his new club in helping SKC secure a 3-1 victory.
 
Pulido’s former Chivas teammate and new San Jose defender Oswaldo Alanís recorded a goal and an assist in his MLS debut. The experienced Mexico National Teamer scored an incredible stoppage time free kick from a tight angle to help the Earthquakes complete a two-goal comeback for a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on Saturday at Avaya Stadium.
 
Columbus Crew SC midfielder Lucas Zelarayán, another reported club-record signing from Tigres UANL, scored the game-winning goal in the club’s 1-0 victory over New York City FC on Sunday in front of the home MAPFRE Stadium crowd.
 
Also among standout Liga MX newcomers on opening week was Orlando City SC goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. A starter for Peru at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Gallese recorded a shutout in his first MLS match to help Orlando salvage a draw against Real Salt Lake at Exploria Stadium on Saturday.
 
FC Dallas academy products Tessmann, Hyndman lift clubs in opening week
The FC Dallas academy’s long track record of developing talented professional players continues to grow as newly signed Homegrown midfielder Tanner Tessmann and academy product Emerson Hyndman, now with Atlanta United, provided huge lifts to help their respective clubs win in the opening week.
 
The 18-year-old Tessmann signed a Homegrown Player contract on Feb. 27, two days before FC Dallas’ first match of the season, spurning a scholarship offer from college football powerhouse Clemson University. Tessmann proved he made the right decision in the opening match, playing a full 90 minutes and assisting fellow Homegrown Player Paxton Pomykal’s goal to help Dallas secure a 2-0 victory.
 
"The guy is an amazing athlete — I mean amazing. He is a potential Deshaun Watson-type guy for soccer,” Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney said of Tessmann.
 
Hyndman, meanwhile, scored a dazzling game-winning volley worthy of praise on SportsCenter in Atlanta’s 2-1 victory on Saturday.
 
Hyndman’s family tree has roots in MLS history
At age 23, Atlanta United’s Emerson Hyndman is proving the worth of his new multi-year contract after scoring the game winner against Nashville SC on Opening Weekend. The Texas born-and-bred midfielder is an FC Dallas Academy product and the grandson of Shellas Hyndman, the 2010 MLS Coach of the Year who led FC Dallas to an MLS Cup appearance that same season.

Guiding a history-making campaign in the 2011 Concacaf Champions League, the grandfather Shellas helped FC Dallas become the first MLS club to defeat a Liga MX opponent on Mexican soil, going a perfect 4-0-0 to start CCL play.

Two generations later, the Hyndmans are still making waves against Liga MX opponents, with grandson Emerson scoring against Club America in Atlanta’s 2019 Campeones Cup victory. Emerson will have a CCL shot of his own in Mexico next week, when he again faces Club America at the legendary Estadio Azteca.

Emerson netted a goal in the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, adding a goal and three assists in his 10 starts in 2019 regular season play. Initially singed on loan during the 2019 MLS Secondary Transfer Window, Atlanta exercised his permanent transfer option in December of last year, giving the young player even more opportunities to keep writing his family into the MLS history books.
 
Week 2 Game Notes
Saturday, March 7
New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire FC, 1:30 p.m.
  • The Revolution opened their season with a 2-1 loss to the Montréal Impact at Olympic Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Teal Bunbury scored the lone Revolution goal.
  • Fire FC kicked off their new season with a 2-1 defeat by Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon. New signing Robert Berić opened his MLS and Fire FC account with the opening goal of the match just after halftime.
  • The teams split their two meetings in 2019, each winning on their home ground. The Fire rolled to a 5-0 win on May 8 at SeatGeek Stadium, then the Revolution claimed a 2-1 win Aug. 24 at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Revolution win in the second meeting snapped a seven-game Fire undefeated streak in the series (5-0-2), New England’s first win since July 23, 2016. The Fire do have a nine-game home undefeated streak alive in the series.
 
Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls, 2 p.m.
  • Real Salt Lake began their new season with a goalless draw on the road, vs. Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium on Saturday evening. Zac MacMath recorded a pair of saves for the shutout.
  • The Red Bulls got their new season off to a bright start, defeating FC Cincinnati 3-2 at Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Red Bulls got goals from Kyle Duncan, Kaku and Danny Royer; last year, the Red Bulls equaled the all-time record with 18 different individual goalscorers.
  • The Red Bulls won the lone meeting between the clubs last season, a 4-0 win June 1 at Red Bull Arena. It was the first win in the series for the Red Bulls since 2015, with RSL winning two of the three in between (with one draw).
  • The Red Bulls have never won in league play at Salt Lake. Real have won six of the 11 regular season meetings all-time in Utah, with five draws, last a 1-0 win on March 17, 2018 at Rio Tinto Stadium. But the Red Bulls did claim the Western Conference Championship there in 2008, a 1-0 victory. The Red Bulls own a four-game home undefeated streak in the series; RSL’s win in Harrison, N.J., in 2011 was the last by the road team in the series.
 
FC Dallas vs. Montreal Impact, 3 p.m.
  • FC Dallas started their new campaign off on the right foot, defeating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. Zdenek Ondrasek and Paxton Pomykal netted second-half goals to lead FCD to the win, in front of a three-save shutout from Jesse Gonzalez.
  • The Impact opened a season at home for the first time in their MLS history – and came away winners, defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 at Stade Olympique. Romell Quioto put the Impact ahead in the first half, then Maximiliano Urruti netted the game-winner 10 minutes from full time.
  • The teams played to a 3-3 draw in their lone meeting a season ago, Aug. 17 at Stade Saputo. The result ended a three-game FCD winning streak in the series.
  • The Impact have won once in eight meetings all-time – a 2-1 win in 2015 in Montréal. FCD has won all four encounters at Toyota Stadium, last a 2-0 victory June 9, 2018.
 
D.C. United vs. Inter Miami CF, 3:30 p.m. (Univision / TUDN)
  • D.C. United saw the Colorado Rapids come back from a goal down to snatch a 2-1 victory in the season opener for both clubs, Saturday afternoon at Audi Field. Russell Canouse scored the United goal, the first in MLS in the 2020 season. The Rapids opener ended the D.C. league shutout streak at 571 minutes, the fourth-longest in MLS history.
  • Inter Miami CF opened their history with a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Goalkeeper Luis Robles made eight saves – some of the spectacular variety – the most of any goalkeeper on opening day this season.
  • The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories. They will also face each other Aug, 8 at Inter Miami CF Stadium.
 
Toronto FC vs. New York City FC, 5 p.m.
  • Toronto FC were hauled back into a late 2-2 draw by the San Jose Earthquakes in the season opener for both clubs, Saturday afternoon at Earthquakes Stadium. Goals from Alejandro Pozuelo and Richie Laryea on either side of halftime gave TFC a 2-goal lead.
  • NYCFC started off their league campaign with a loss by the game’s only goal, to Columbus Crew SC at Mapfre Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Maxime Chanot was sent off in the third minute, equaling the third-fastest red card in MLS history.
  • The teams met twice during the regular season in 2019. On March 29 at BMO Field, Alejandro Pozuelo scored a pair of goals and set up a third as Toronto FC rolled to a 4-0 win. The teams then reached a 1-1 draw Sept. 11 at Yankee Stadium. TFC have won twice in 11 regular-season meetings in the series – both coming by 4-0 scorelines at BMO Field.
  • The teams also met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Alejandro Pozuelo converted a penalty kick in the 90th minute for his second goal of the game to give TFC a 2-1 win at CitiField. The teams also met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2016, Toronto FC winning 7-0 on aggregate, a 2-0 victory at BMO Field, then 5-0 at Yankee Stadium.
 
Atlanta United vs. FC Cincinnati, 7 p.m.
  • Atlanta United started off their season with a victory, defeating expansion side Nashville SC 2-1 at Nissan Stadium on Saturday evening. Ezequiel Barco and Emerson Hyndman netted first-half goals for ATLUTD.
  • FCC started their second season in Major League Soccer with a 3-2 reversal by the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon. Allan Cruz netted FCC’s first goal of the season, then new acquisition Juergen Locadia scored late in his MLS debut.
  • The teams met twice in FCC’s inaugural season. The first match ended in a 1-1 draw, March 10 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, then Atlanta United claimed a 2-0 win Sept. 18 at Nippert Stadium.
 
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m.
  • The Quakes got a moment of brilliance to gain a point from their season opener, coming back for a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC at Earthquakes Stadium. Down 2-0 in the second half, Andres Rios netted San Jose’s first goal, then in stoppage time, Oswaldo Alanis whipped home a free kick from the right flank for the leveler. It was the first goal directly from a free kick for the Quakes since 2013.
  • Minnesota United FC opened their new season with a quality result, taking a 3-1 away victory against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Kevin Molino netted a pair of goals and Luis Amarilla added the third; it was the second time in three seasons Molino opened the MNUFC season with a brace.
  • The teams met twice a year ago, and Minnesota United FC won both, taking a 3-0 win at Avaya Stadium on March 9, and a 3-1 win July 3 at Allianz Field.
  • The Quakes had won the first four meetings between the teams over the previous two seasons, with a pair of wins in both San Jose and Minneapolis.
 
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m.
  • Sporting KC began their season with a quality win, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-1 at BC Place. Sporting were sent on their way with goals from a pair of newcomers in Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, before Erik Hurtado netted the third against his former club.
  • The Dynamo opened their new season with a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy before a sold-out crowd at BBVA Stadium. Mauro Manotas netted Houston’s first goal of the year.
  • The teams met twice a season ago. They first reached a 1-1 draw June 1 at BBVA Stadium, then Sporting claimed a 1-0 win Aug. 31 at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Sporting have a five-game undefeated streak alive in the series, with three wins and two draws. The Dynamo’s last win came in 2017 in Houston.
  • Sporting have won the last two meetings at Children’s Mercy Park, their first at home in the series since 2011, following a seven-game winless streak in KC (0-1-6). Sporting have taken points from their two visits to Houston.
 
Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City SC, 9 p.m.
  • The Rapids won for the first time in a decade at D.C. United, coming from behind for a 2-1 win in the MLS season opener at Audi Field on Saturday afternoon. Kei Kamara netted the equalizer in the 67th minute – the 127th of his MLS league career – then Jonathan Lewis struck for the game-winner in stoppage time.
  • Orlando City SC started off their new season with a scoreless draw, vs. Real Salt Lake at Exploria Stadium on Saturday evening. New signing Pedro Gallese was credited with one save in keeping the clean sheet.
  • Orlando City SC have never lost to the Rapids, now with four wins and a draw in the four meetings all-time between the clubs. OCSC has won the past three encounters, including a 4-3 victory last April 6 at Exploria Stadium in the lone meeting between the teams, their third win in the series in Orlando.
  • The teams played to a goalless draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2016; Orlando City won the last meeting in Commerce City, a 2-1 win in 2018.
 
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10 p.m.
  • The Galaxy opened their new campaign with a result on the road, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Stadium. Cristian Pavón netted the game’s opening goal for LA, the assist coming from goalkeeper David Bingham.
  • Whitecaps FC kicked off their new season with a 3-1 home loss to Sporting Kansas City at BC Place. Jake Nerwinski netted the first goal of the season for Vancouver.
  • The teams met twice last season, each winning on their opponent’s ground. The Galaxy took a 2-0 win on April 5 at BC Place as Zlatan Ibrahimović set up one goal and scored a second; Whitecaps FC claimed a dramatic 4-3 win Sept. 29 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
  • Whitecaps FC have won two of the last three meetings in Carson. The win in the first meeting last year was the Galaxy’s first at BC Place since Aug. 24, 2013, ending a five-game Whitecaps FC undefeated streak on their home ground in the series.
  • There has been a shutout in 12 of the past 15 meetings between the teams, dating back to 2013, including three scoreless draws.
 
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Columbus Crew SC, 10 p.m.
  • Jordan Morris came off the bench to lead Sounders FC to victory in their season opener, netting both goals as they overturned a deficit for a 2-1 win at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon. Morris became the first player in MLS history to score multiple goals in a season opener in back-to-back seasons.
  • Crew SC opened their season with a victory, defeating New York City FC 1-0 at Mapfre Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The game’s lone goal came from new signing Lucas Zelaráyan.
  • The teams met once a year ago, Sounders FC taking a 2-1 win July 6 at Mapfre Stadium. The win ended a two-game Crew SC home winning run in the series; Seattle won three of the first four meetings all-time in Columbus, with one draw.
  • Sounders FC have a win and a draw from the last two meetings in the series at CenturyLink Field, including a goalless result in the last meeting there, May 5, 2018. Crew SC had won the previous two matchups in Seattle.
 
Sunday, March 8
Portland Timbers vs. Nashville SC, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
  • The Timbers fell to defeat in their season opener in 2020, falling 3-1 to Minnesota United FC at Providence Park. Diego Valeri converted a penalty kick for the lone Portland goal, the 77th of his MLS career.
  • Nashville SC kicked off their MLS history on a famous night at Nissan Stadium, falling 2-1 to Atlanta United on Saturday evening. Walker Zimmerman netted the club’s first goal in their MLS history; the game drew a crowd of 59,069, the largest ever for a soccer game in the state of Tennessee and the third-largest for an MLS team making its debut.
  • The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories. They will also face each other July 5 at Providence Park.
 
Los Angeles Football Club vs. Philadelphia Union, 10:30 p.m. (FS1)
  • Carlos Vela and LAFC got their new season off to a magical start, defeating Inter Miami CF 1-0 at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Vela netted the game’s only goal with a world-class chip late in the first half; he has now scored a goal in each of the last 10 league matches, the second-longest goalscoring streak in MLS history.
  • The Union started off their new season with a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The teams met once a season ago, playing to a 1-1 draw Sept. 14 at Talen Energy Stadium. LAFC won the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 4-1 win June 30, 2018 at Banc of California Stadium.
 

 

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