With Nine Games Still Remaining in the Round, the MLS Goal of the Week Competition Is Over

Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry shut down the balloting for the week (and maybe the year) with this stunner:

The 88th-minute golazo put New York up 2-0 on Montreal, but of course, these being the Red Bulls, they gave up a goal to Marco Di Vaio in stoppage time, and then nearly blew Henry’s masterpiece a minute later, when Di Vaio hit both posts with a shot inside the box.

The former Serie A goal poacher was ruled offside, dubiously, and the ball just stayed out, enabling the Red Bulls (6-4-2) to hold on for a 2-1 win that lifted them into a tie with Houston atop the Eastern Conference standings.

MLS Goal of the Week Nominees: Kicking off the Season In Style

The first week of the 2013 MLS season is in the books, and it was a lively round indeed.

There was a shocker in Seattle, a wild one in Portland, and a slow-motion trainwreck the emerging saga of Chivas USA in Southern California.

The nine games yielded 24 goals, many of which were terrific, including the following five:

The week was filthy rich with great goals; there were also fine strikes from Mike Magee and Sebastien Le Toux. But of the five nominees, we have to go with Davy Arnaud’s excellent finish, teed up by Felipe’s superb scoop over the top. Finishing a close second for us was Diego Valeri‘s slick slalom and finish against New York, followed, again, very closely, by Vancouver’s beautiful team goal.

Keep an eye on Whitecaps midfielder Daigo Kobayashi, the man who laid that ball off for Gershon Khoffie to finish. Kobayashi’s teammate Jun Marques Davidson said the Japanese import (who’s only 30) would be the most technical player in the league when he joined in preseason. After seeing him for one game, we see what Davidson means: Kobayashi is superclean on the ball. He—and Vancouver—are going to be fun to watch.

MLS Goal of the Week Nominees: Who’ll Finish Second to Sanna Nyassi?

There were some great goals in MLS’s Week 23, from Dane Richards’ sly curl around a defender into the top corner, to Jair Benitez’s terrific free kick.

But they all took a backseat, in our humble opinion, to Montreal attacker Sanna Nyassi’s sensational 70-yard run and sizzling finish past New England keeper Matt Reis.

Take a look:

Note to MLS defenders: do not let Sanna Nyassi build up a head of steam. He becomes unstoppable.

Montreal: Soccer Town

When David Beckham and the LA Galaxy landed in Montreal ahead of last Saturday’s game against the expansion Impact, a reporter asked the former Manchester United star how it felt to arrive in a “hockey town.”

Without missing a beat, Beckham replied, “I think we’re the hockey town at the moment.” Oh, snap!

(If you’re not an NHL fan, the Los Angeles Kings are on a roll right now, and stand just two games away from the Stanley Cup finals. The Montreal Canadiens failed to make the playoffs.)

Turns out both LA and Montreal are hockey and soccer towns: The Galaxy–Impact game drew a Canadian-record 60,860 fans to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

Check out a cool field-level view of the spectacle:

They didn’t get a win, but Montreal fans got their money’s worth: they got to see the home team go up 1-0 on Davy Arnaud‘s early goal, then they saw a classic Beckham free-kick goal, and then their goalie, Donovan Ricketts, stood on his head to keep it 1-1.

The surprisingly competitive Impact (3-5-3) host New York—sans the injured Thierry Henry—on Saturday, while the Galaxy meet city rivals Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center later that night.

Minimum Impact: Montreal Unveils Suprisingly Bland MLS Jerseys

Major League Soccer’s 19th team, the Montreal Impact, which will join the league in 2012, raised the curtain last night on the kits they’ll wear in their debut season, and, well, how do you say “Meh” in French?

They’re certainly not a trainwreck (as MLS unis have been in the past), but they’re unexpectedly boring. Apart from a subtle cross composed of fleur-de-lys down the front of the shirt, these unis don’t bring a lot to the table.

They are a long way from being, as Impact vice president Richard Legendre suggested, “the best-looking jersey in the league.”

For our money, rights to that honor would be contested between the Red Bulls’ away shirt, D.C. United’s third kit, or Portland’s Rose City reds (with a late-breaking challenger in LA’s third shirt.)

Click here for more on Montreal’s non-magnifique new unis.

Jesse Marsch Hired as Montreal Impact Coach for 2012

The Montreal Impact will become the 19th MLS team next year, and today, they named the man who will lead them in their debut season: MLS original Jesse Marsch.

Marsch joined MLS in 1996, coming out of Princeton University and signing with D.C. United and coach Bruce Arena. He won the inaugural MLS Cup with the Black-and-Red, and another one in 1997, before moving on to the expansion Chicago Fire in 1998. There, he won a third MLS crown, this time under Bob Bradley, who had coached Marsch at Princeton.

Marsch would later join Chivas USA before retiring in 2009 with three MLS Cups, four U.S. Open Cups, one MLS All-Star nod, and two caps with the U.S. national team.

In February 2010, Bradley hired Marsch, 37, as an assistant with the U.S. national team.

Marsch’s hiring, and Saturday’s unveiling of the Impact’s MLS logo (see it here) got us thinking about the history of the game in the French-speaking city, and the ties that bind it to U.S. and international soccer history.

Let’s take a look:

Team: Montreal Olympique

League: NASL

Lifespan: 1971-73

Notable Players: Clive Charles, Graeme Souness

Legacy: Olympique played just three seasons in the NASL without ever making the playoffs, but the presence of Charles, future U.S. Olympic coach and architect of the excellent program at the University of Portland, and Souness, a Scottish legend, link it to both U.S. and UK soccer royalty.

Team: Montreal Manic

League: NASL

Lifespan: 1981-83

Notable Players: Tony Towers, Gordon Hill, Alan Willey

Legacy: Le Manic was a short-lived but memorable presence in the NASL, averaging 23,704 in attendance in ’81 and reaching the playoff semifinals in ’83. Towers and Hill were both capped by England in their careers, and Willey is second on the NASL all-time scoring list.

Team: Montreal Supra

League: Canadian Soccer League

Lifespan: 1987-92

Notable Players: Alex Bunbury, Christian Gourcoff

Legacy: Gourcoff is the current coach of French Ligue 1 side Lorient; Bunbury went on to play in MLS with Kansas City and his son, Teal, was the fourth pick in the 2010 SuperDraft going to….Kansas City. They are MLS’s only father-son duo to date. And Teal, after declaring for the U.S. in November 2010, has two appearances and one goal for the Nats.

Montreal to Join MLS in 2012 as 19th Franchise

The city of Montreal lifted its attention from Les Habs’ thrilling NHL playoff series with Pittsburgh to celebrate today’s announcement that the Montreal Impact of the USF D-2 Pro League will join Major League Soccer in 2012.

Club chairman Joey Saputo was hopeful that the franchise will be able keep its name, logo, and colors (blue and white) when it jumps to MLS.

This move gives the league another built-in regional rivalry, as Montreal and Toronto already have hotly contested histories in hockey, football (yes, we’re counting the CFL) and soccer. Indeed, Toronto FC and the Impact played a hard-fought Canadian Championship game on April 29 (Toronto won 2-0).

Get a glimpse of Impact history in this YouTube clip:

MLS currently has 16 teams, with Portland, Ore. (17), and Vancouver (18) set to join in 2011.

USA Today is reporting that Don Garber wants to add a second New York club in 2013 to bring the number of teams to a schedule-balancing 20. Other cities reportedly in the hunt for the 20th spot include St. Louis, Altanta, and Miami.