Because of the holiday weekend, Week 7 in Major League Soccer seemed more jam-packed than usual. Not only did we have the maximum 11 games take place, but the league managed to squeeze them all in on Friday and Saturday (not to mention the news of a three-game suspension for Tim Howard and the announcement of Real Madrid as the 2017 All-Star Game opponent), leaving Sunday totally free.
That schedule made for a whirlwind couple of days, but we have you covered with the highlights here on this week’s edition of The MLS XI:
I: Villa goes long
David Villa started the weekend in spectacular fashion for NYCFC, ending what was a usually impactful outing with a most unusual goal:
That not only gave NYCFC a 2–0 win at Philadelphia, it’s also one of the longest goals in MLS history. Amazingly enough, it doesn’t appear that the league keeps its own historical records on these sorts of things, but according to ESPN stats ace Paul Carr, it’s the longest in the league since 2012.
However, as impressive as that is, there are a handful from the league’s pre-2012 history that are longer. And, depending on what you value in a long-range goal, they might be better than Villa's.
If you value adding injury to insult for goalkeepers, Claudio Lopez’s audacious strike against the LA Galaxy in 2009 is for you. Check out where poor Donovan Ricketts lands on this:
If you value your long-range goals coming from someone that made scoring them a habit, then this David Beckham strike from 2008 (oddly enough, against those KC Wizards) will do the trick:
If you value your long-range goals coming from an MLS vet, then here’s this super strike from Michael Parkhurst, now with Atlanta United but then with the New England Revolution. After 242 MLS appearances and counting, this is still his only goal in the league.
And finally, If you value hilariously unintentional long-range goalie goals, allow me to introduce you to Red Bulls/MetroStars legend Danny Cepero.
II: Defense wins derby
The Vancouver Whitecaps got an important 2–1 win over Cascadia rivals Seattle on Friday, and former Sounders icon Fredy Montero scored both of Vancouver’s goals. Those goals were both pretty nice, and they’re worth watching here and here. But let’s be real: Vancouver won this game thanks to this remarkable goal-line clearance from Kendall Waston.
It's not often that you see a goal-line clearance decide a game so late.
III: Last-minute hat trick
There were not one, not two, but three last-minute goals in Week 7, with each representing a significant milestone for the club involved.
For the San Jose Earthquakes, Jahmir Hyka’s late strike earned a 1–1 draw and left FC Dallas with its second last-second heartbreak in 10 days after Pachuca used a late goal to knock it out of the CONCACAF Champions League.
In Montreal, Anthony Jackson-Hamel’s cheeky and maybe-possibly-intentional flick gave the Impact their first win of the season, 2–1 over Atlanta United:
And in Orlando, Cyle Larin beat Jermaine Jones to a corner kick and volleyed home a winner at the death for Orlando City against the LA Galaxy.
IV: Hello, Lennon
This doesn’t quite make the cut as a last minute goal since it came in the 88th minute, but Brooks Lennon’s first MLS goal for Real Salt Lake was plenty important. It gave RSL a 2–1 win over their rival Colorado Rapids.
…Is that a Dybala celebration + a Cristiano celebration in the same celebration? Innovative kid.
V: Just watch the highlights
We try not to do this often at The MLS XI, but in this instance we must insist you watch an entire highlight reel. Orlando vs. LA featured three goals of excellent quality, three post hits, a ton of back-and-forth play, and an atmosphere at Orlando City Stadium that has yet to disappoint. It’s the best game from the weekend, and recapping it is worth your time:
With the win, Orlando became the first team in MLS history to open up a new stadium 4-0-0.
VI: What was Je-Vaughn Watson thinking here?
The Revolution defender was making his first start of 2017, and presumably he wanted to make an impact. He did. Just not in a good way. On a yellow card already, Watson decided it was a good idea to do this:
... Yeah, that’s another yellow, and a deserved red card. The Revolution lost that game to Chicago, 3–0, with all the goals coming after Watson’s ejection.
VII: Through the wickets
In cooking, nutmeg is one of those ingredients that extremely hard to neutralize if you don’t want it to be there. This totally irrelevant fact is brought to you by the Sympathy For Bill Hamid Foundation.
That was the final goal in the Red Bulls’ 2–0 win over rivals D.C. United.
VIII: He was once the MLS pool goalkeeper
And now Tim Melia is making saves like this stunner off a world-class effort from Darlington Nagbe on Saturday night:
Dom Dwyer’s goal, which was also quite pretty, gave KC a 1–0 win to continue its unbeaten start to the season.
IX: Schweini strikes again
There were reasons to doubt that Bastian Schweinsteiger could be effective in MLS, but they’re all awfully hard to remember after he scored his second goal of the season in just his third match for the suddenly-resurgent Chicago Fire.
X: Welcome back, Ignacio Piatti
Nacho Piatti has missed the last few games with injury, but his one-on-one skills made for a sterling comeback this week. Against Atlanta, he proved that he can even beat you after falling on his backside:
XI: The crawl is back
To celebrate his goal vs. Minnesota, the Dynamo’s Alberth Ellis unleashed this goal celebration:
I’m not sure what it is, but I like it.