In pictures: NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy – Cole sent off as Villa scores decisive goal in 100th appearance

NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy – All eyes were on Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening as New York City FC welcomed LA Galaxy for their home opener. Both sides came into the contest following Week 1 victories but it was NYCFC who made it two wins from two, beating LA 2-1 in David Villa’s 100th match for the club.

New York City started brightly and were rewarded when winter signing Anton Tinnerhom rifled a shot in off the crossbar following good work from Jesus Medina and Villa. The Spaniard’s cross was blocked by Michael Ciani but only into the path of Tinnerholm, who volleyed in off the bar after 22 minutes.

NYCFC then doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, as Villa celebrated his 100th NYCFC appearance with a goal. The hosts raced away on a counter-attack led by Jesus Medina. He played in Ben Sweat, who saw his effort saved by David Bingham straight into the path of Villa who simply tapped home.

LA Galaxy improved after halftime and got a goal back on the hour-mark through Jonathan Dos Santos. But they couldn’t get the equaliser despite pressing for most of the second-half.

Their chances took a major blow in the late stages as captain Ashley Cole was sent off for a second yellow card offence for seemingly tripping David Villa. The game ended NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy as New York City FC keep their perfect start to the season on track.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy: In Pictures

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New York City FC vs LA Galaxy | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs LA Galaxy

Yankee Stadium – Sunday, March 11 2018 – 17:00 ET (21:00 GMT)

Live on Sky Sports Football (UK)

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Preview

New York City FC welcome LA Galaxy to Yankee Stadium for their home opener on Sunday evening in what is probably the standout MLS fixture of Week 2. Both sides picked up wins on opening weekend and will be looking to make it two from two here.

NYCFC impressed a lot of people with the way they went about beating Sporting Kansas City last weekend. It’s not an easy place to visit by Patrick Vieira’s men countered really well and came away with all three points and a clean sheet. Jesus Medina impressed on his debut and got himself a goal too. The only negative was the late red card shown to Maxime Chanot, meaning the defender won’t be available here.

NYCFC will be expecting to make it two wins from two. The home fans will be excited for their home opener and know the squad has the quality to be one of, if not the best teams in MLS this season. Beating the Galaxy on Sunday would further emphasise that.

LA Galaxy got their season off to the right start too, as they beat Western Conference rivals Portland 2-1 at StubHub Center. That win was much needed for Sigi Schmid and his team after their disastrous 2017 campaign. Ola Kamara scored on his debut and got off to the perfect start.

The Galaxy still need time to get back to their absolute best but the early signs were promising. Defensively they looked better but NYCFC have a lot of quality for the LA defenders to deal with. The major blow for the Galaxy is the loss of Romain Alessandrini. The Frenchman picked up a hamstring injury last week and is ruled out as a result.

Sunday’s clash will be just the fourth meeting between the two sides. The only previous game at Yankee Stadium saw NYCFC run out 1-0 winners thanks to an early David Villa goal. The Spaniard also scored in last year’s clash, netting a fine left-footed strike to seal a 2-0 win at StubHub Center. This weekend’s game will be Villa’s 100th for the club. He’s scored an incredible 65 goals and added 22 assists in his 99 appearances so far.

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: Maxime Chanot (red card)

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Jo Inge Berget (thigh)

LA Galaxy

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts:Chris Pontius (knock)

🚑 Out: Romain Alessandrini (hamstring)

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Key Stats

NYCFC’s MLS form: W

LA Galaxy’s MLS form: W

Key stat: New York City FC only lost two home games during the regular season last year, although one of those losses came in their final regular season game at Yankee Stadium as Portland left with a 1-0 win.

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 LA Galaxy: Both sides like to play free-flowing, attractive football and that should lead to a great spectacle. NYCFC may struggle with the absence of Chanot in defence, although LA Galaxy’s chances of capitalising on his loss have been negated by the injury to Alessandrini. Goals are expected but NYCFC look poised to make it six points as they take to the field at home for the first time this season.

The five best Mexicans in MLS to watch in 2018

With the 2018 MLS season underway there is plenty of exciting action each week to keep you entertained. The league is continuing to grow at an alarming rate. More top-rated players are joining each season, highlighting an increasing desire to be involved in Major League Soccer. We’ve picked out the five best Mexicans in MLS to watch this season and what they bring to their side.

Carlos Vela – LAFC

The new boys for 2018, LAFC, picked up an impressive win in their first ever MLS outing away at Seattle. At the heart of that performance was Carlos Vela. Many Premier League fans will know of Vela from his time at Arsenal and brief spell at West Brom.

Although his time in England didn’t quite meet high expectations, the 29-year-old forward is a full international and has come to MLS off the back of the most consistent spell of his career. He is going to be one to watch this season.

Giovani Dos Santos – LA Galaxy

Arguably one of the most naturally gifted players in MLS. Giovani Dos Santos is in his fourth season with LA Galaxy, having scored 23 goals in 64 games. He has played for the likes of FC Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Villarreal – so has plenty of experience to his name.

At 28 he has a lot to offer LA Galaxy, including the ability to change a game at any moment. Dos Santos plays in a number of attacking roles and will be hoping to spearhead his side to better fortunes this season after a disappointing 2017.

Jonathan Dos Santos – LA Galaxy

Younger brother of Gio, Jonathan Dos Santos is also at LA Galaxy. He has made 29 appearances for the national team so far but fans haven’t yet seen his full potential in MLS as this will be his first full season.

The 27-year-old midfielder plays in a deeper role than his brother, but similarly can fit into a number of different roles.

Victor Ulloa – FC Dallas

The most experienced of the Mexicans in MLS in terms of appearances. Victor Ulloa has played 117 games since joining FC Dallas in 2011. A Homegrown player who has made a name for himself anchoring the Dallas midfield.

Although Ulloa isn’t always a guaranteed name on the team sheet, he is reliable and ready when called upon. At 26 he is yet to be called up for the Mexican side, but that is no reflection on his qualities.

Efrain Juarez – Vancouver Whitecaps

Signed from Monterrey using Targeted Allocation Money in January 2018, Efrain Juarez is a versatile option. He has played as a right back over the last few seasons, but is likely to be used as a central midfielder at Vancouver Whitecaps.

Juarez made his debut in the middle of the park in week one. Fans will hope his experience can help the Whitecaps go one step further this season to top the Western Conference.

Are these the five best Mexicans in MLS – who else should have made the cut?

MLS debutants run riot on opening weekend

The opening weekend of MLS has set the tone for the rest of the season. There was plenty of drama with goals, video assistant referees, red cards and shock results. However, one astonishing stat that has come from week one was from MLS debutants.

A total of 26 goals were scored across the ten games with nine of those coming from debutants – which equates to 35% of the goals scored on opening weekend.

What makes it all the more impressive is that all nine goal scorers came from different clubs, adding to the excitement.

WATCH 📹 – Take a look at all nine debutant goals from week one

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

StubHub Center – Sunday, March 4th 2018 – 22:00 ET (03:00 GMT)

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers: Preview

Major League Soccer is back and what a way for LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers to start their campaigns. Sunday’s clash pits top versus bottom from last years Western Conference final standings. LA will want to turn their fortunes around after a terrible season and Sigi Schmid has been busy reshaping the squad after his appointment last July so they will expect to be challenging for silverware again as soon as possible.

LA Galaxy have recycled their attacking options for want of a better phrase. The headline trade saw Ola Kamara make his way south to LA and homegrown talent Gyasi Zardes going the opposite way to Columbus. Chris Pontius has also joined, coming in from Philadelphia Union to support Kamara.

A playoff spot is the bare minimum expected this year for LA, as they look to return to winning ways. As the most successful franchise in league history, it is only a matter of time before they are back chasing the big prize, but questions remain over the depth of their squad in the build up to kickoff.

Portland have added young quality to a side that was in need of reinjection after a disappointing playoff campaign. Andy Polo is a versatile winger who will add pace to the Portland attack and Christhian Parades is a Paraguayan striker who will look to add support to the prolific Fanendo Adi.

The biggest talking point of the offseason for both Portland and MLS as a whole was the Darlington Nagbe move to Atlanta United. USMNT international, Nagbe was the marquee man and fan favorite in Portland and losing him is bound to have a effect on the Timbers.

Portland will want to maintain last years position but ultimately they will be hoping to replicate their MLS Cup winning campaign from 2015. There may be some teething problems however, with new manager Giovanni Savarese taking over from Caleb Porter following his surprise departure.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers: Team News

LA Galaxy

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

(Take a look at all LA Galaxy’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Portland Timbers

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

(Take a look at all Portland Timbers’ key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers: Key Stats

LA Galaxy’s MLS form: N/A

Portland Timber’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: LA Galaxy have won only two of their last 19 MLS regular season matches. One of those did come in their final home game of 2017 however.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

LA Galaxy 1-2 Portland Timbers: LA Galaxy have had a complete restructure following the dismal campaign of last season and Portland should bring confidence going into the new season following last year’s success. It would be unjust to suggest a goalless affair seeing as both teams have made attacking additions who will be out to impress. Portland just edge it for us in wha should be an entertaining clash.

2018 Key Transfers: LA Galaxy

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at LA Galaxy  and their key signings ahead of their MLS campaign in 2018…

LA Galaxy endured a season to forget in 2017. They finished bottom of the Western Conference and had very little to shout about. They won the least amount of games across MLS and they need to improve both offensively and defensively so they can push themselves back to familiar territory in the coming season. The Galaxy faithful have seen plenty of business during the window with some key faces coming in and departing.

Key Signings

Perry Kitchen: Solidity in defensive positions has been a must for Galaxy in the offseason and this is a signal of their intent. Perry Kitchen spent five good seasons with DC and had been a key member of the squad, starting 155 of his 158 games. He has returned to MLS following a spell in Europe. His experience and versatility is what Galaxy need and they will be hoping he can make an impact for them from the off.

David Bingham: Bingham is expected to be the new number one. LA Galaxy have decided to opt for the former Quakes ‘keeper as their new last line of defence. With three goalkeepers departing, including Brian Rowe, Bingham will be making his 100th MLS appearance in gameweek four providing he is the first choice. With that in mind he has plenty of experience and at 28 he has plenty of years ahead of him, so this looks a good signing.

Chris Pontius: Signed as a free agent after being released from Philadelphia, Chris Pontius looks to be a very good pickup for the Galaxy. An MLS veteran, Pontius is heading into his tenth campaign, having scored 45 goals in 215 games. He can be deployed in an attacking midfield role or as a forward, so he gives LA Galaxy options.

Ola Kamara: Galaxy needed to improve from front to back and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Off the back of two very impressive seasons, Ola Kamara has been picked up after scoring 34 goals in 59 games for Columbus Crew. There is going to be a lot of expectation on his shoulders with stats like that. Galaxy are also being linked with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Hernandez, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more attacking signings come in to support Kamara before the start of the season.

Notable Departures

Robbie Rogers: The 30-year-old defender has called time on his playing days, Robbie Rogers made 184 appearances over a 10 year MLS career. His ability to be utilised on both the right and left of the field means he is going to be an option the Galaxy will miss.

Jermaine Jones: LA Galaxy have decided to allow the experienced 36-year-old midfielder to move on. 2017 was the most appearances he’s made in one season since his move over to MLS from European football. Now may be a good time for both the player and club to seek new adventures with Galaxy needing to freshen up a side that underdelivered in 2017.

Gyasi Zardes: The last two seasons haven’t been too enjoyable for Gyasi Zardes, through injury in 2016 and Galaxy’s worst ever campaign last time out. Making 131 appearances and scoring 34 goals over five years at the club, he’s one the Galaxy fans will miss. A fresh start for him at Columbus is now in store, which he will be looking forward to.

Brian Rowe: The Galaxy have parted ways with Brian Rowe after six years. He made 45 appearances over the course of the last two seasons, although he isn’t being tipped as a number one choice for his new club Vancouver.

Jose Villarreal: LA Galaxy have decided to allow their second-ever homegrown signing to move on. At just 24, Jose Villarreal has 68 MLS appearances to his name, all with LA. There is more expected from him with plenty of time to continue to improve. A squad player who has the ability to make an impact and someone that will certainly need replacing if Galaxy want to keep good depth to their numbers.

Zlatan to MLS: Mourinho gives green light for Ibrahimovic to join LA Galaxy ahead of 2018 season

Zlatan Ibrahimovic appears as close as ever to completing a move to Major League Soccer. The LA Galaxy are reportedly in advanced talks to complete a deal to bring Zlatan to MLS, with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho suggesting he would be happy to allow him to leave imminently.

The news was revealed by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman late on Sunday night, suggesting that both the Galaxy and the player’s representatives have been negotiating a deal to bring Zlatan to MLS.

This isn’t the first time Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to MLS. But given the circumstances, it feels as if it really is now or never. The iconic forward is 36 and is still recovering from a serious ACL tear suffered last April and is no longer at the top of the pecking order at Man Utd. The recent arrival of Alexis Sanchez has done little to help his chances.

That’s where the LA Galaxy can come in and offer the attractive option of regular first-team football alongside a quality standard of living. Ibrahimovic has made no secret of his desire to one day play in MLS and he now looks as close as ever to making that a reality.

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Mourinho gives green light

One potential stumbling block for the Galaxy would be the fact he is contracted to Manchester United until the end of June. However, Jose Mourinho has confirmed he would be happy to allow the striker to leave before the summer.

“He told me nothing about it,” Mourinho said on Monday. “The first time I read or heard something about that was from the media. He never mentioned that to me so I don’t know.

“Zlatan is in the last year of his contract. If it’s true and Zlatan wants a future in another club in another country we are here to help and to create conditions for that to happen, not to make his life difficult.”

The 2018 MLS season begins on March 3, with LA Galaxy’s opening match taking place away at the Portland Timbers on Sunday, March 4.

Ibrahimovic has only made seven appearances this season since recovering from that knee injury. He would therefore benefit from joining up with LA Galaxy for preseason preparations to ensure he is sharp and ready for the 2018 campaign, if a deal can be struck in the next couple of weeks.

Western Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – Vancouver looking to win conference as playoff race heats up

Western Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – The playoff race in the Western Conference is set to go down to the wire. The Vancouver Whitecaps lead Sporting Kansas City by three points heading into what should be an action-packed Week 32. Ten of the eleven Western Conference sides play each other, while Portland host DC United in the only inter-conference matchup of the weekend.

All of this week’s games involving sides from the West will kickoff at the same time on Sunday night at 19:30 ET (00:30 BST). So you can guarantee there will be drama as some teams look to nail down playoff berths, and others are fighting to keep their dreams alive. Read on for all of this weekend’s Western Conference predictions: MLS week 32 should be a good one…

Colorado Rapids 1-1 Real Salt Lake

This late-season Rocky Mountain Cup clash is a big deal. Real Salt Lake are still fighting to get into the playoffs with two games to go. But they must travel to the home of their fiercest rival in MLS. The Rapids’ playoffs hopes have been over for some time but they would love nothing more than to ruin RSL’s season on Sunday night. Real Salt Lake, though, have only lost one of their last six. A loss would likely spell the end to their season, depending on other results, so they must avoid defeat.

Sporting Kansas City 2-2 Houston Dynamo

These two meet for the second time in five days on Sunday. The Dynamo prevented SKC going joint-top of the West with Wednesday night’s 2-1 win at BBVA Compass Stadium. They gave their own playoffs hopes a huge boost with that win and will be looking to take at least one more point off of SKC here. Sporting KC haven’t yet secured a playoff berth, despite sitting second with two games to go. A victory would solve that issue, but the absence of goalkeeper Tim Melia could be significant.

LA Galaxy 2-3 Minnesota United

Few people would have thought LA Galaxy would be coming into the penultimate weekend of the season seven points behind Minnesota United. But the problems in LA this season have left them with a year to forget. They will want to avoid finishing dead last in the West and need to try and end the season on a high. But Minnesota are in fairly good form, having only lost one of their last five. They beat Atlanta United in their latest road trip and could add to LA’s misery on Sunday.

Seattle Sounders 2-1 FC Dallas

Both these sides come into the weekend in playoff spots, but know a defeat on Sunday could put them in real trouble. Seattle have two home games remaining. They sit fourth and could still finish the season with a Knockout Round bye. FC Dallas are in a much more precarious position. They are only a point above RSL and San Jose in the final playoff spot and can’t really afford to drop any points. Head coach Oscar Pareja has called this game “the season”, and he’s not wrong. But they aren’t in good form and have lost four-straight games at CenturyLink Field.

Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes

The Whitecaps are the only Western Conference side to have sealed a playoff berth with 180 minutes of football to go. That’s quite incredible but also testament to their consistency this season. They can guarantee a Knockout Round bye with a home win agains San Jose on Sunday. But the visitors are fighting for their lives too. The Quakes beat Portland last time out to keep their top six hopes intact. But they still need to overtake RSL and Dallas to seal a playoff spot. Vancouver are a real force at home and should prove too much for San Jose.

Portland Timbers 3-0 DC United

Portland missed the chance to seal their playoff spot when they fell 2-1 at San Jose last time out. That result also saw them drop out of the top two. They do now have two home games to finish the season though and will expect to beat DC on Sunday. The Eastern Conference playoff race is over and DC United won’t be playing postseason football. They’ll still want to show some fight but the fact is they will finish bottom of the East after a poor season. Don’t expect them to spoil things in Portland.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy

Major League Soccer: Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Wednesday, September 20 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Atlanta 4/9 – Draw 15/4 – LA Galaxy 5/1

Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Preview

Atlanta United take on LA Galaxy for the first time ever on Wednesday night, in a game that could essentially end the Galaxy’s 2017 season.

The Five Stripes are in good form and have enjoyed a stellar debut season in Major League Soccer. They can move a step closer to confirming their playoff spot with a win here, while probably ending the Galaxy’s hopes in the process.

Atlanta have gone unbeaten through four games, scoring 15 goals in the process. Their move to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium has proved seamless too. They’ve not lost at their new home and Wednesday’s match will be the fourth of six consecutive home games.

Embed from Getty Images

Victory on Wednesday would see Atlanta move ahead of Columbus Crew and into fourth place in the East. That would leave them on course to secure homefield advantage in the playoffs – something Tata Martino will be hoping to confirm.

The LA Galaxy team held a behind-closed-doors meeting after Saturday’s heavy defeat. That only happens when a team is in crisis. And make no mistake about it, the Galaxy are in a crisis. Jobs are on the line and players will be axed at the end of the campaign if they don’t improve.

Sigi Schmid’s job was to turn their fortunes around and get them into a playoff position come the end of the regular season. But he has not been able to do that, even with the expensive DP addition of Jonathan Dos Santos.

LA have gone 1-5-2 since Schmid took over the reigns. They are nine points outside the playoff spots in the West and don’t look like a team on the up.

Defeat to Atlanta on Wednesday night would essentially end the Galaxy’s season. It would leave them with a nine-point gap to make up over their final five games. But they still have to travel to Sporting KC, Houston and FC Dallas on the final day.

Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Team News

Atlanta United will welcome back centre-back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez after he served his one-game suspension. Zach Loyd is out for the season. Greg Garza is listed as questionable after missing Saturday’s match with a hamstring problem.

LA Galaxy will once again be able to call on Jermaine Jones after he served his suspension. He will expect to come into a side that could be drastically changed after Saturday’s crushing loss to Toronto. Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lletget, Baggio Husidic and Pele Van Aanholt are all out for the season. Bradley Diallo left Sunday’s game in the first half with a hamstring injury and won’t feature here. Daniel Steres is also expected to miss out.

Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Key Points

Atlanta United’s last five: L/D/W/W/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: Atlanta have scored 13 goals in three games since moving to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That’s the same amount as LA Galaxy have scored in their last 12 MLS outings in total.

Key Player: Josef Martinez – The Venezuelan striker is hot right now. He has scored back-to-back hat-tricks for Atlanta and has seven in his last three games. His treble against Orlando on Saturday took his season total to 16 in 14 matches. He’s only three goals off David Villa in the race for the Golden Boot and will hope to close that gap further with another strong display here.

Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy: Prediction

Atlanta United 3-1 LA Galaxy – The Galaxy need to respond from Saturday’s humiliating 4-0 home loss. However, they couldn’t have really picked a worse place to have to go than Atlanta. The Five Stripes have been scoring for fun and should pick apart a Galaxy defence that can’t stop conceding. You would assume LA will show some spirit as they aim to impress Sigi Schmid enough to keep their jobs into next season. But this one looks like it should end in a home win, with Atlanta set to move up to fourth in the East.

Gallery: Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Lamar Neagle earns Sounders a late point in thriller

Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Games between these two Western Conference giants have produced some special moments over the years. Sunday night’s clash was no different. It’s not an official MLS rivalry. But it’s become as heated as some of the league’s established derby games.

The Galaxy arrived at CenturyLink Field desperate for a result after what has been a really tough year for the club. But they showed a real sense of togetherness and fought well against a Sounders side that led the West heading into the weekend.

LA were rewarded for their play when Gyasi Zardes headed them in front inside the first 25 minutes. He connected with Romain Alessandrini’s cross and the Galaxy looked good for their lead. They created several more chances but ultimately couldn’t add to their tally.

As is so often the case with the Sounders, they made their opponents pay for failing to put the game to bed. Substitute Lamar Neagle latched onto the end of Roman Torres’ cross to fire a deflected shot past Brian Rowe and into the back of the net in the 85th minute. It was Neagle’s first goal for the club since returning from DC United last month .

There was still time for more drama though. Roman Torres saw red after being adjudged to have fouled Jermaine Jones on the edge of the Sounders penalty area. LA failed to convert the free-kick and the game ended 1-1. The result leaves Seattle behind Portland at the top of the West. LA Galaxy are ten points outside the playoffs down in ninth.

Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy – Exclusive photos courtesy of MLSGB photographers Paul Kahl and Denise McCooey:

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