401 NOT OUT
Valencia, Barcelona, Melbourne and New York. Rundown doubts any other player has had such a career of exotic locations. In his 17-year career, David Villa has served every one of his clubs with distinction and can now celebrate 400 career goals across club and international competition.
The Spanish maestro added to his 64 MLS regular-season goals to score from the penalty spot beyond FC Dallas’ Jimmy Maurer before capitalising on poor communication between Reto Ziegler and Matt Hodges to grab his 66th.
There are only four other active players to have reached that level, three of which have Barcelona connections. They are Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Villa has scored against 118 different clubs and countries, against 19 different countries’ club teams, against 35 different clubs in Spain and on six of the world’s continents, with 74 of them coming from the penalty spot.
TECHERA SEES RED
Rundown has very little sympathy for Cristian Techera. If you’re on a caution and you score a penalty against Real Salt Lake, the one thing you don’t do is take off your shirt and earn yourself a second yellow card. That’s exactly what Techera did on 73 minutes.
Vancouver Whitecaps went on to win 2 – 0 but Jesus H. Christ, don’t let your mates down like that. Had the team not claimed all three points, Rundown suspects manager Carl Robinson would have been rather less tactful in his reaction.
BANC OF CALIFORNIA STADIUM DECLARED OPEN
Co-owner Will Ferrell and a falcon mascot named ‘Olly’ (yes, really) signalled the opening of Los Angeles FC new stadium, the Banc of California. The ritual and the background of an amber LA sunset, the 3252 supporters club banner encouraging all fans to stand ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ and plumes of gold smoke contributed to an atmosphere worthy of Hollywood.
On the field, the script itself could have been written in Tinsel town. A tight and tense affair against MLS Cup finalists Seattle Sounders with chances cleared off the lines, Carlos Vela’s best efforts and some dogged Sounders defending.
With 40 seconds remaining on the clock before three additional minutes of extra time were up, Laurent Ciman stepped up to take a free-kick and the Los Angeles FC captain saw goalkeeper Frei shuffle to his right. With visions of his free-kick against Montreal Impact in mind, Ciman unleashed a strike at goal and this time it didn’t find the top corner. The shot found Frei but the Seattle goalkeeper fumbled the ball and it dropped over his shoulder to seal Los Angeles FC’s debut win at their new home stadium.
GALAXY CHANGES FORMATION
Rundown has been banging on about how to get the best out of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for some time now. The 4-4-2 Sigi Schmid has been using sees the Swede and his strike partner Ola Kamara far too static. Against New York Red Bulls and despite defeat, there were positives in a new 4-3-3 system.
If this system containing Zlatan looks familiar, it’s because that was the formation that RUNDOWN SAID WOULD BE MOST EFFECTIVE ON THE DAY HE SIGNED.
Sorry, it’s been bugging Rundown for some time that head coach Schmid has taken this long to figure it out. Against the Red Bulls, they had Kamara and Romain Alessandrini either side of Ibrahimovic with Giovani dos Santos tucked in behind and Sebastian Lletget in a deeper role where Jonathan dos Santos would normally start.
This is the same system which was used to great effect at PSG when Zlatan was supported by the athletic running of Cavani and one other, usually Lucas Moura. “I thought it helped us. I thought we played better soccer,” Schmid said following the game. “I thought Ola did a lot of work on the side, showed that he could score goals coming from there as well. Lletget playing deeper in midfield did a lot of the two-way playing that sometimes we got from Jonathan when he plays. I was pleased with the soccer that we played.”
Thank you for reading the MLS Rundown, a twice-weekly column focused on news, rumours and transfers. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CharlieTangoFM