MLS

MLS Review: Vela ties record, Martinez makes history

By Sports Desk August 11, 2019

Carlos Vela tied the record for most combined goals and assists in a single MLS season as Los Angeles FC prevailed 4-2 against New York Red Bulls, while Atlanta United's Josef Martinez made history.

Vela scored and set up two others as Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC overcame the Red Bulls in a six-goal thriller on Sunday.

The Mexico international took his season tally to 23 goals and 15 assists – matching Sebastian Giovinco's feat with 10 matches remaining in the regular season.

Vela teed up Jordan Harvey for the 23rd-minute opener before Latif Blessing doubled LAFC's lead two minutes later, however, the Red Bulls rallied from 2-0 down to level in a stunning end to the first half.

Ex-Real Sociedad winger Vela converted a penalty just past the hour to put him on track to eclipse Martinez's single-season record of 31 goals set last term.

Vela then assisted Eddie Segura 18 minutes from the end as LAFC won their third successive game to move 16 points clear of Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference and 10 ahead of Philadelphia Union in the race for the Supporters' Shield.

Meanwhile, Martinez broke an MLS record by scoring in a 10th consecutive game for Atlanta – who edged New York City 2-1.

Reigning Golden Boot winner Martinez made history with his 42nd-minute header at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Venezuelan also scored from the penalty spot in the second half.

Heber pulled a goal back for visiting New York, however, defending champions Atlanta were not to be denied as they consolidated second spot in the Eastern Conference.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempted 15 shots – the most a player has taken in an MLS game this decade – as LA Galaxy lost 2-1 to a Wayne Rooney-less DC United.

In Sunday's other match, the high-flying Union were too good for Houston Dynamo 2-1.

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    Carlos Vela broke the record for most combined goals and assists in a single MLS season as Los Angeles FC secured a play-off spot, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a brace for LA Galaxy.

    Vela took his tally to 39 overall thanks to 24 goals and 15 assists following LAFC's 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.

    The Mexican star – who still has nine regular-season matches remaining – eclipsed the previous record of 38 set by Sebastian Giovinco in 2015 with 22 goals and 16 assists.

    Vela converted a 64th-minute penalty to make history and give league leaders LAFC the lead, while Adama Diomande sealed victory with eight minutes remaining.

    "It's a good thing," former Real Sociedad forward Vela said about holding the record. "Always."

    LAFC are the first team to book a spot in the post-season as they sit 16 points clear atop the Western Conference, while they are 13 points ahead of Philadelphia Union in the race for the Supporters' Shield.

    Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia lost 2-0 away to lowly Chicago Fire.

    Ibrahimovic was at the double as the 10-man Galaxy played out an entertaining 2-2 draw against Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

    The Galaxy had defender Daniel Steres sent off in the sixth minute, but the home side still managed to salvage a point thanks to Ibrahimovic's two goals, which were sandwiched in between Raul Ruidiaz's opener and a Jorgen Skjelvik own goal with eight minutes remaining.

    Ibrahimovic's Galaxy are third in the west and a point behind Minnesota United, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Orlando City.

    Elsewhere, Dallas overturned a three-goal deficit to draw 3-3 at Montreal Impact, New York City routed lowly FC Cincinnati 4-1, DC United lost 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Red Bulls drew 1-1 with New England Revolution.

    A quick-fire Mauro Manotas brace earned Houston Dynamo a 2-2 draw against Colorado Rapids, Sporting Kansas City edged San Jose Earthquakes 2-1, while Toronto drew 2-2 with Columbus Crew thanks to Jozy Altidore 90th-minute equaliser.

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    Last season's runners-up Dortmund recorded their biggest-ever opening-day victory in the club's 52 seasons in the Bundesliga thanks to Saturday's rout of visiting Augsburg.

    Florian Niederlechner gave Augsburg a shock first-minute lead, but that advantage was wiped out by Dortmund's Paco Alcacer two minutes later at Signal-Iduna Park.

    It was one-way traffic from that point as Dortmund – who surrendered a nine-point lead to Bayern Munich last season – pilled on four unanswered goals in the second half via Jadon Sancho, captain Marco Reus, Alcacer and Julian Brandt.

    "We upped the tempo in the second period, which was very good," Favre told Sky. "The result was then clear and deserved. But we also still have a few things to work on.

    "We want to get better every day. What's important for me is that the players make progress – both individually and collectively too.

    Reus, who scored Dortmund's third goal 12 minutes into the second half, added: "There was a lot of excitement to be playing our first game at home. The stadium was sold out and the fans were immense once again; especially after we went 1-0 down, they were extremely loud.

    "We never doubted we could win this match. It obviously wasn't all perfect, we would've liked to have gone 2-1 up before the interval. At the break we said we needed to play with more purpose. That's how we then created our chances.

    "The fact we were playing towards the South Stand in the second half gave us the push we needed, as it always does. You get the feeling you can apply even more pressure, that you're more on your game. We're happy we scored four goals in front of the South Stand."

    Germany international Nico Schulz made his Bundesliga debut for Dortmund, alongside fellow new signings Mats Hummels and Thorgan Hazard, after arriving from Hoffenheim in the off-season.

    "That was a very, very good start," Schulz said. "We went about the match the way we'd set out to. We kept our cool after conceding and we're delighted to get our first three points. We went 2-1 ahead relatively early and we had more space after that. Then it got slightly easier for us.

    "The chants by the fans are an honour for me, of course. Obviously, the best way to pay them back will be with my performances."

  • Ramsey 'very proud' after Juventus debut Ramsey 'very proud' after Juventus debut

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    Ramsey made his first appearance for Serie A champions Juventus since leaving Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of 2018-19 – the Wales midfielder coming off the bench in Saturday's 1-0 win.

    The 28-year-old had been sidelined with a hamstring injury since April, but Ramsey replaced Federico Bernardeschi 20 minutes from the end at Stadio Nereo Rocco, where Paulo Dybala's 38th-minute stunner settled the game.

    "I feel good. I have had a good rehab so hopefully now I can stay fit and healthy and help the team as much as I can," Ramsey said.

    "I am really excited to be a part of it [Italian football] and experience the Italian league. We start now on Saturday, so I am looking forward to that and playing my first competitive match. I am really looking forward to it.

    "This was a very proud moment for me to put on this famous jersey. I am happy that I got a few minutes out there tonight. I have been working hard to get back fit and hopefully now I can stay fit. I am naturally quite good physically.

    "I have been working hard, and I know I haven’t had the minutes on the pitch, apart from tonight, but I feel good physically. It will take a few games to get there.

    "I think I have had a good pre-season. We have got a new coach who has given us his own ideas. We have been adapting to that. I think the team is in good shape and hopefully now we can have a very successful season.

    "We have been working hard on certain tactics and I think he wants to do good to the team, and we have put that into practice a few times. We are feeling quite confident."

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