The MLS XI: Schweinsteiger's arrival; a first for Minnesota; Cubo's hat trick; Riman-doh!

Monday April 3rd, 2017

MLS returned from the international break this week (well, save for those three games during the break) with pretty much the exact opposite of a bang. At least at first. Friday night featured two exciting-on-paper matchups that produced a grand total of zero goals between them. Luckily, the action kicked into higher gear as the weekend went on, giving us plenty to recap in this edition of The MLS XI. 

Here's what you need to know from MLS Week 5:

I: Hello, Bastian

Days after arriving in the United States, Bastian Schweinsteiger started his debut game for the Chicago Fire, and it hardly could have started much better than it did: 

However, the final result wasn’t nearly as joyous for the German. Montreal fought back and eventually claimed a 2–2 draw away from home. 

Planet Futbol
Eyeing greater ambition and a changed culture, Chicago springs for Schweinsteiger

II: Banner of the week

The “Chicago Fire winning the World Cup” jokes are already getting extremely old, but this sign at Toyota Park was pretty funny. 

If you’re confused as to what the heck this is referring to, re-live a journalist's worst nightmare-turned worldwide phenomenon. Credit to Schweinsteiger for being a good sport and meeting up with the journalist in the locker room.

Erik Jaworski/AFP/Getty Images

III: These goalkeepers are not Manuel Neuer 

The LA Galaxy’s Clement Diop started off by gifting Cristian Techera this: 

Then followed that up with this, which nearly handed Techera a double based solely on wild charges out of the penalty box: 

Even all-time MLS greats weren’t immune to goalkeeper brain farts this week. Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, usually quite good with the ball at his feet, did...uhh...this: 

IV: A first in the North

Rimando’s above error, which gifted Christian Ramirez one of his two goals, was one of a slew of sloppy plays by RSL in that game, the first MLS match in Minneapolis to not take place in an insane snowstorm. The result: Minnesota's first MLS win, by a 4–2 score line. Congratulations to the Loons!

V: Valeri very good

In case you haven’t seen it yet, feast your eyes on this early candidate for Goal of the Year from the Timbers’ Diego Valeri. 

Unfortunately for Portland, that goal still only counts for one point on the scoreboard. The Revolution equalized late in the game through Lee Nguyen to hold the Timbers to a 1–1 draw at home. 

Planet Futbol
Timbers' humble superstar Diego Valeri and Portland enjoy mutual admiration

VI: Here’s how it feels to get hat tricked 

Cubo Torres scored a hat trick in Houston’s 4–1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, giving him six goals in the season’s opening four games, good enough for the league lead. 

Torres’s last came off a fantastic free kick late in the game. The strike itself is certainly worth watching: 

But Houston Chronicle Dynamo reporter Corey Roepkin made a great observation here that is worth a look:

Let’s zoom in a bit: 

Once you notice that much synchronized dejection, it’s hard to un-see it. 

VII: David Villa Flicks 2, San Jose 1 

VIII: When keeping it in goes wrong 

Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake didn’t do Fabinho any favors with an over-hit pass in the first half against D.C. United. To be fair to Fabinho, the instinct in that situation is almost always to try and keep the ball in play. So that’s what he did. 

It turned out terribly.

That was D.C. United’s first goal scored of 2017, and they rode that and a Luciano Acosta PK to a 2–1 win over Philly. Clearly, the lesson here is to just never try to keep the ball in bounds, ever. 

IX: Justin Meram: Salt Brace

I do not regret the above pun any more than Meram regrets this meme-themed celebration:  

That was Meram’s first of two against Orlando City in a 2–0 win for Crew SC. 

Planet Futbol
Exclusive: Potential San Diego Footy McFooty Face logo revealed

​​

X: April Fools' Day

The pranksters’ favorite holiday seems to always give MLS teams an excuse to flex their comedy muscles. Most teams got involved in some way, and some efforts were better than others. Here are three of the best: 

The Portland Timbers prank defender Jack Barmby, making him him his car is being towed. Barmby seems to be mostly worried about his golf clubs (?!).

NYCFC adopts pigeon, featuring some truly great images of celebrities posing with pigeons, which is a far more entertaining photo genre than it sounds.

Finally, Sporting KC pranked rookie defender Colton Storm, who texted his way into a tense "date" with someone he absolutely did not expect to be manager Peter Vermes. 

XI: MLS uniform tracker

We love a good MLS infographic here on Planet Fútbol, so we’ll use the last spot in this week’s XI to turn you on to a great running tally from Twitter user Kyle Burkholder.

Next time you wonder “when was the last time [MLS team] wore THAT jersey?” you know where to find the answer. 

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.