Top 5 Moments of the MLS Season (So Far)
Major League Soccer has been in full swing since early March, and we are rapidly approaching the midway point of the season: the MLS All-Star Game.
With just three weeks to go until the MLS All-Stars take on Italy’s Juventus F.C., let’s take a look back at the best moments in the 2018 MLS Season so far.
Josef Martinez’s Hat Trick Against the Whitecaps
Given how good he’s been in the early part of the season, it’s no surprise that Josef Martinez finds his way onto our top moments list. Martinez has already scored 18 goals in his first 20 games played this season, which includes two hat tricks in the first half of this season – one against the Whitecaps and one against the Union. For the purpose of this list, we’ve highlighted his particularly impressive performance against Vancouver.
Martinez is currently on pace to break the MLS record for goals in a season, which stands at 27. Since coming to MLS prior to the 2017 season, Martinez has scored five hat tricks, putting him tied for the league record for three-goal games in a career.
LAFC Top The Sounders in Their First Ever MLS Home Game
Over the past handful of years, Major League Soccer has continued to expand and welcome new expansion teams into the fold. This year, Los Angeles Football Club joined the league and got off to a hot start by winning their first ever game 1-0 against the Sounders.
The two teams squared off two months later for LAFC’s first-ever MLS home game. Taking the field at the state of the art Banc of California Stadium, the expansion side was able to topple the Sounders for their first ever home win thanks to a stoppage time strike from Laurent Ciman.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Scores Two Goals in 19 Minutes in his MLS Debut
After an illustrious European Career that saw him win 32 trophies and play for fantastic clubs like Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris St. Germain and Manchester United, soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy earlier this season.
Known as one of the top goal scorers of his generation, Ibrahimovic wasted little time in getting on the scoresheet in Major League Soccer. After being subbed on with just about 20 minutes left in Los Angeles’ game against LAFC, Zlatan scored two breathtaking goals. Ibrahimovic single-handedly willed the Galaxy to a victory, and his league debut will go down in the record books as one of the most memorable of all time.
A California Classico For the Ages
One of the best rivalries in Major League Soccer is the Cali Classico, which takes place between the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. The rivalry started to heat up due to the success of the two teams in the mid-2000s and it highlights the differences in culture between Southern California and Northern California.
This year’s Cali Classico was one that won’t soon be forgotten. San Jose played host to the Galaxy on June 30th, opting to have the game played at the much larger Stanford Stadium than their home grounds at Avaya Stadium. Over 50,000 fans were on hand and the spectators were treated to a fantastic attacking game which saw six goals scored. The game ended in a 3-3 tie.
Wayne Rooney Comes Stateside
The United States has long been one of the most desirable places for well-known soccer players to play in once they reach their mid-to-late 30s. Players like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard have all paved the way for other world-renown players to make the move stateside, the most recent of which is former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
Rooney departed from Manchester United just over a year ago and left the team as it’s top scorer of all time with 253 goals. The scouse-born forward signed with boyhood club Everton after leaving United, scoring 10 goals in 31 games played in the Premier League 2017-18 campaign.
He clearly has plenty of gas left in the tank and on June 28, he signed with one of the original MLS sides in D.C. United. Rooney’s signing also lines up well with D.C. United’s new stadium, Audi Field, set to open later this week. In a league with plenty of stars, Rooney stands out as one of the brightest and it will be a treat to watch him play this season in the nation’s capital.
(Cropped image courtesy StefSince1985 via Flickr.)