Image: LA Times.
Happy Thursday, soccer fans! Last weekend's MLS scores continue to hammer home the fact that 2021 may be the best season yet for this league, so let's get a quick recap of what you may have missed, along with what you should check out this weekend!
Chicharito Nets Hat Trick Against New York
The LA Galaxy revenge tour continued this past weekend against the New York Red Bulls, and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez pushed himself atop the MLS Golden Boot standings by racking up his first hat trick of the season. Scoring in the ninth, forty-sixth, and sixtieth minutes, Chicharito singlehandedly kept the Red Bulls, who got off a couple solid chances of their own, at bay.
With preseason conversations dominated by teams such as the Columbus Crew, Seattle Sounders, and LAFC, the Galaxy have come out of nowhere to sit atop the Supporters Shield Standings, the only MLS Club to win both of their first two games this season. While Hernandez' scoring has been the focal point of the Galaxy's hype this season, the solid playmaking by guys like Victor Vazquez have given the veteran forward the opportunities he needs. Against a physical defense like the Red Bulls, LA is quickly proving that their current attacking is something opponents should fear all season.
I know it's still pretty early, but I would love to see the Galaxy find a way to clinch a spot in the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League to see what this roster can do against a tough Liga MX opponent.
Austin Records Their First Victory
While their season opener against LAFC was historic, Austin's 3-1 against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday will be the one fans remember first when recalling Los Verdes inaugural season. Still yet to play a home game, Austin looked like they had already settled into league play after a week, as Diego Fagundez scored the first goal in the club's history in the 58th minute. Despite the large celebration, Austin never let the goal get to their heads and kept pushing through the Rapids defense, allowing Cecilio Dominguez to net two more before the final whistle. The last goal scored by Dominguez was assisted by Austin's first star signing, Rodney Redes.
While they've got about 30 games left to play before the end of the season, Austin looks promising. A young, fast-paced roster like Austin's is exactly the type of team that can thrive in a league like MLS. Additionally, recent Timbers transfer Manny Perez, who signed with the Portland Timbers, has been sent on loan to Austin. While the amount of time he'll spend in the Capital of the Lone Star State is unknown, Perez is a solid signing. Despite not making an appearance for Celtic during his two years with the Club, Austin head coach Josh Wolff believes that he has a lot of potential.
Toronto Land a Solid Transfer
Toronto's signing of Yeferson Soteldo from Brazil's Santos is just one of those right place, right time moments that you just can't pass up on. As Santos try to plug up some financial hemorrhages, the former Club of Pele completed the sale of one of their top forwards on Monday to Toronto for $6.5 million. Toronto will be using the Designated Player Clause to complete this transfer.
After looking at Santos' goodbye to Soteldo on social media, in which they mention giving the 22 year old the "King Pele's" number, Toronto fans should be very excited about this signing. In just two years with Santos, the Venezuelan forward scored 20 goals in 97 appearances. It's unclear as to when Soteldo will be ready to take the field for Toronto, but if he can be ready for TFC's second Champions League Leg against Cruz Azul, he could be a huge difference maker.
Basel's Week 2 Awards:
Player of the Week: CHICHARITO
I hate to repeat myself, but if anyone deserves two POTY's in a row, it's Chicharito.
Goal of the Week: Austin's Diego Fagundez vs. Colorado
While there may have been some prettier goals this week, the fact that this is the first goal scored in Austin History gives it this week's honor.
My Match to Watch This Weekend-Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy (Sunday at 9 PM Eastern)
If the Galaxy can come away from this one with win, or something like a 2-2 draw, then their legitimacy as a 2021 MLS Cup contender will be set in stone. You will NOT want to miss this matchup between two Western Conference powerhouses this Sunday Night.