It’s still early in the new Major League Soccer season, and after an inaugural week that saw mixed starts for the Mexican contingency in MLS, Week 2 brought more of the same, with Marco Fabian’s Philadelphia Union still struggling to find form and Carlos Vela still racking up wins with LAFC. Here’s what we learned from Week 2.
Efrain Alvarez continues to be a bright spot for the Galaxy
A Zlatan-less Galaxy suffered their first defeat of the season after falling 2-0 at FC Dallas on Saturday. The home team ultimately prevailed on this one, but it’s teenager Efrain Alvarez who keeps giving Galaxy fans plenty to look forward to in 2019. New manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto has looked to Alvarez twice to come off the bench, and the 16-year-old has performed promisingly on both occasions.
Alvarez’s best moment of the game came close to injury time when the 16-year-old forced fellow Mexican American Jesse Gonzalez to an excellent save following a nutmeg at the edge of the box, in what could have easily been one of the goals of the week in MLS.
It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia
Played out headline aside, it was a week to forget for Marco Fabian in his second game with the Philadelphia Union. Not only did Fabian miss a penalty, but he was sent off early in the second half with a straight red.
Straight red card to Marco Fabián!— Joga Bonito USA (@Jasoninho10) March 10, 2019
He planted his studs into Johnny Russell's chest. Brutal day for the Union's new star, missing a penalty and getting sent off.#SKCvPHI #MLS #VAR pic.twitter.com/qXvwOZpegW
Fabian’s sending off didn’t come without controversy, and the argument could be made that the decision was a little too harsh. That said, regardless of Marco Fabian’s issues, the Union need to discover a backbone fast because their schedule isn’t going to get any easier with defending champions Atlanta United coming to town next week.
Carlos Vela looks unstoppable
Carlos Vela put in an outstanding performance against the Portland Timbers on Sunday, scoring a goal and notching two assists in his side’s 4-1 win at the Banc of California Stadium. Vela was by far the best player on the field. Technically, he was a level above the rest, and there was not a single player in the Portland Timbers squad that could stop the 30-year-old Mexican forward.
Look, we know the Mexico National Team is looking to go younger under the direction of new manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, but with Carlos Vela playing the way that he is right now, it’s hard to think he doesn’t have at least something to still offer to the national team.