Through 50 games, Ibrahimovic records one of the best starts in MLS history
Zlatan Ibrahimović of the LA Galaxy reached the half-century mark in games played in his Major League Soccer career in last weekend’s game at Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field – having made an entrance to the league at a rate almost never seen previously.
Ibrahimović scored his 23rd goal of the season in the contest, the 45th goal of his MLS career. Just three players in MLS history have scored 40 goals or more over their first 50 matches in league play. Josef Martínez netted 49 goals in his opening 50 matches for Atlanta United in 2017-18, while Stern John scored 43 goals over his first 50 matches for the Columbus Crew in 1998-99.
Ibrahimović also hit for multiple goals on 13 occasions in those 50 matches, the most of any player from the start of his MLS career, surpassing the total of Martínez and John, who each had 12. Ibrahimović had scored multiple goals in three consecutive games before the Seattle match, equaling the MLS record for consecutive games with two or more goals.
After his 50th appearance, Ibrahimović had scored 45 of the Galaxy’s 104 goals netted during his time with the club. At the time of his 50th game, Josef Martínez scored 49 goals of ATLUTD’s 104 goals, while Stern John scored 43 of the Crew’s 107 goals in his first 50.
Ibrahimović has scored from the start of his tenure in MLS at a rate better than he’s shown in any of his stints among the world’s biggest leagues. The 45 goals in the first 50 games surpassed by two his total in France’s Ligue 1, while with Paris Saint-Germain.
LAFC’S VELA-ROSSI GOALS DUO ON TRACK FOR BEST EVER IN MLS
As the Los Angeles Football Club enter the stretch drive with the arrival of September, the club has the chance to have the greatest goalscoring duo in MLS history.
Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi have combined for 41 goals through LAFC’s 28 matches thus far this season, Vela leading the MLS Golden Boot standings with 27 goals, and Rossi is at a single-season career-most 14 tallies.
The 41 goals are the second-most for a pair of teammates in MLS history, behind only the total of 43 set last year by Atlanta United’s Josef Martínez (31) and Miguel Almirón (12). The LAFC pair is just the third to combine for 40 goals or more; Chris Wondolowski (27) and Alan Gordon (13) also hit for 40 for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2012.
With his next goal, Rossi will reach the 15-goal plateau. Just nine teams in MLS history have seen a pair of teammates each score at least 15 goals, the last Toronto FC in 2017, when Sebastian Giovinco (16) and Jozy Altidore (15) each hit the mark. On just one occasion has a team seen one player score 20 goals and a second score 15 – the LA Galaxy in 2008, when Landon Donovan netted 20, and Edson Buddle hit for 15.
LAFC TAKING RECORD SHOW ON THE ROAD
As LAFC has set its course toward a number of historical performances over the 2019 MLS season, the club is also nearing one of the all-time best records of any club in a difficult situation – playing on the road.
LAFC from the start has shown an ability to gain points on the road – the club’s 69 goals scored in away matches since its inception is by far the most of any club in Major League Soccer. The 69 road goals over consecutive seasons is already the most of any club over a two-year span, surpassing D.C. United’s 67 goals scored on the road from 1998-99.
With three away games still to be played this season, beginning with this Saturday’s match against Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium, LAFC currently has the second-best record of any team on the road over an entire season, with a .679 winning percentage from 8 wins, 3 losses and 3 draws. LAFC’s eight road wins are two away from the most of any team since 2000 (the end of the shootout era), after Atlanta United recorded a 10-5-2 record on their travels a season ago.
LAFC’s 33 goals on the road this season are tied for the fifth-best total over the course of a season. The club last year scored 36 goals away from Banc of California Stadium, the second-most in a single season. The average of the 33 goals over the 14 games played thus far this far (2.36) currently ranks as second-best in league annals.
MLS WEEK 27 – LOOK AHEAD
NEW YORK CITY FC vs. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 (Week 27, MLS Game #344)
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
3:30 p.m. ET (Univision)
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Gianni Facchini; AR2 (opposite): Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho; 4th: Robert Sibiga; VAR: Guido Gonzales Jr.; AVAR: Thomas Supple
MLS Career: 156 games; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 23; pens: 34
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: NYCFC 3 wins, 13 goals … Revolution 5 wins, 16 goals … Ties 3
AT NYCFC: NYCFC 2 wins, 8 goals … Revolution 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 2
- NYCFC won a fourth consecutive game, clinching a berth in the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in the process, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-0 at BC Place on Saturday evening.
- Héber scored his 14th goal of the season, tied for fourth in the MLS Golden Boot standings. It was his second consecutive game with a goal, now five goals over his last five games (since Aug. 11).
- The Revolution extended their undefeated streak to four games, reaching a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
- Gustavo Bou netted his sixth goal of the season, in his eighth MLS appearance, a fourth consecutive game with a goal (since Aug. 10).
- The Revolution have a three-game undefeated streak in the series between the clubs, winning in the last meeting, a 1-0 victory last Sept. 5 at Yankee Stadium. The teams also reached a 2-2 draw last March 24 at Gillette Stadium.
- NYCFC has won three of the six meetings all-time in the Bronx, including both matchups there in 2017. The Revs are undefeated over the last three meetings in Foxborough, Mass.; NYCFC has won once at Gillette Stadium, a 1-0 victory on July 6, 2016.
NYCFC: Alexandru Mitrita scored his seventh goal of the season, directly from a free kick, his first from a free kick since coming to MLS. Mitrita also added an assist, his third in MLS, the first time he’s had a goal and an assist in the same game. … Gary Mackay-Steven netted his first MLS goal, in his eighth appearance. … Tony Rocha collected his first assist of the season, his first with NYCFC (he had four in three seasons with Orlando City SC).
REVOLUTION: Diego Fagundez collected his third assist of the season, his first since July 17.
ORLANDO CITY SC vs. LOS ANGELES FOOTBALL CLUB
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 (Week 27, MLS Game #345)
Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
7:30 p.m. ET (YouTube TV [ORL] / My65; YouTube TV [LA] / KVMD)
REFEREE: Alan Kelly. AR1 (bench): Eric Weisbrod; AR2 (opposite): Claudiu Badea; 4th: Chris Penso; VAR: Geoff Gamble; AVAR: Kyle Longville
MLS Career: 120 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 17; pens: 47
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Orlando City 0 wins, 1 goal … LAFC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
AT ORLANDO: First meeting.
- Orlando City SC had a two-game undefeated streak on the road put to an end, falling 3-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening.
- LAFC lost for the first time at home all season, dropping a 2-0 decision to Minnesota United FC at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday evening. The defeat ended the LAFC home undefeated run at 19 games, dating back to last Aug. 15, equaling the seventh-longest in MLS history.
- The teams met once in LAFC’s inaugural MLS season, the expansion team taking a 4-1 win on July 7 at Banc of California Stadium.
OCSC: Cristian Higuita made his 100th league appearance for Orlando City in the Earthquakes match, the first player to reach the century mark in MLS play with the club. He is the lone member remaining with the team from the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2015.
LAFC: LAFC was shut out for the first time since June 28, scoring in each of the past 10 matches. It was the club’s fourth attacking shutout of the season, now tied for second-fewest in MLS this season (ATL leads with three).
FC CINCINNATI vs. TORONTO FC
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 (Week 27, MLS Game #346)
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
7:30 p.m. ET (TSN; WSTR – Star 64)
REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Jason White; AR2 (opposite): Eric Boria; 4th: Marcos de Oliveira; VAR: Victor Rivas; AVAR: Benjamin Hall-Volpenhein
MLS Career: 156 games; FC/gm: 22.1; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 37; pens: 67
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: FC Cincinnati 0 wins, 1 goal … Toronto FC 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 0
AT CINCINNATI: First meeting.
- FC Cincinnati were officially eliminated from playoff contention in their inaugural MLS season, following a 3-1 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening.
- Toronto FC extended their undefeated run to four matches, reaching a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season, and the second time in their histories. Nick DeLeon scored in the first half and set up a Jozy Altidore second-half goal as Toronto FC took a 2-1 win on July 27 at BMO Field.
FCC: Emmanuel Ledesma scored his fifth goal of the season, his third in the past six games, converting a penalty kick.
TFC: Nicolas Benezet scored his first MLS goal for the TFC tally, making his fourth appearance (second as a starter).
COLORADO RAPIDS vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 (Week 27, MLS Game #65)
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo.
7 p.m. MT (Altitude2; JOEtv / YouTube TV [SEA])
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Philippe Briere; AR2 (opposite): TJ Zablocki; 4th: Baldomero Toledo; VAR: Hilario Grajeda; AVAR: Jonathan Johnson
MLS Career: 347 games; FC/gm: 24.7; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 82; pens: 95
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Rapids 5 wins, 25 goals … Sounders FC 18 wins, 48 goals … Ties 2
AT COLORADO: Rapids 3 wins, 16 goals … Sounders FC 7 wins, 20 goals … Ties 1
- The Rapids put an end to a three-game winless run in Robin Fraser’s club coaching debut, defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening.
- Jonathan Lewis netted a pair of goals for the Rapids, his first career multiple-goal game in MLS, now with five goals on the season.
- Sounders FC won for a second consecutive match, defeating the LA Galaxy 4-3 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday evening.
- Cristian Roldan netted a pair of goals for Sounders FC, including the match-winner in the 89th minute; he has three goals in the past two games.
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Kelvin Leerdam and Raúl Ruidíaznetted goals in the opening eight minutes as Sounders FC took a 2-0 victory on March 9 at CenturyLink Field.
- Sounders FC have won the past five meetings between the teams, over the last three seasons. Those victories came after a three-game winning streak for the Rapids in the series – which had come on the heels of a five-game Sounders FC winning streak in the series.
- Sounders FC have won five of the past six meetings in Commerce City, Colo., in both league and MLS Cup Playoffs competition, dating back to 2014. Sounders FC have won the past three meetings in Seattle – all by shutout (now 317 minutes since their last home goal conceded vs. Colorado).
RAPIDS: Tim Howard was credited with three saves in recording his fourth shutout of the season, his first since June 28. … Diego Rubio collected his fourth assist of the season, his last coming Aug. 10.
SOUNDERS FC: Raúl Ruidíaz scored his 11th goal of the season, a third consecutive game with a goal, the 11 goals a single-season career-high in his two MLS seasons. Ruidíaz also added his third assist, a second consecutive game with an assist, the third time he’s had a goal and an assist in the same game. … Jordan Morris scored his eighth goal of the season, and also added his sixth assist, a second consecutive game with a goal and an assist, the third time with a goal and an assist in the same game, second this season (also March 16). … Nicolás Lodeiro recorded his 12th assist of the season, his first since Aug. 10.
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 (Week 27, MLS Game #347)
Providence Park, Portland, Ore.
7:30 p.m. PT (ROOT-NW; FS-KC)
REFEREE: Alex Chilowicz. AR1 (bench): Jeremy Hanson; AR2 (opposite): Cory Richardson; 4th: Tim Ford; VAR: Malik Badawi; AVAR: Joshua Patlak
MLS Career: 22 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 4; pens: 7
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Timbers 3 wins, 10 goals … Sporting KC 7 wins, 15 goals … Ties 4
AT PORTLAND: Timbers 2 wins, 5 goals … Sporting KC 4 wins, 5 goals … Ties 2
- The Timbers put an end to a two-game losing slide, defeating Real Salt Lake by the game’s lone goal at Providence Park on Saturday evening. Diego Valeri scored the Portland goal, a goal for a second consecutive match, now with eight for the season.
- Sporting claimed a third consecutive victory, defeating the Houston Dynamo by the game’s only goal at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday evening. Johnny Russell scored the SKC goal, his ninth of the season.
- The teams are meeting for the first time this season, the first of two encounters over the run-in to the end of the season. They face off for the return match on Sept. 29 at Children’s Mercy Park.
- The teams met twice a season ago. Sporting won the last meeting, a 3-0 victory at home on Aug. 18. They reached a goalless draw on June 9 at Providence Park.
- The road team has won five of the 14 meetings all-time in the series. Each team won on their home ground in 2016, the only team home-field advantage prevailed in a season series. Sporting have come away with points on six of their eight visits to Providence Park, including four victories; the Timbers have gained points on three of their past five visits to KC (one win, two draws).
TIMBERS: Steve Clark was credited with six saves in recording his fifth shutout of the season in 17 starts, his last coming July 27.
SPORTING: Tim Melia was credited with five saves in recording his sixth shutout of the season, his second shutout in a row, now 245 minutes since his last goal conceded.