In the much-anticipated battle between Carlos Vela and Marco Fabian, one of them went missing while the other one scored. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the Galaxy had a rollercoaster week, but after demolishing Sporting Kansas City 7-2, remain firmly in the fight for a Playoff spot. Here’s what we learned from Week 28 in Major League Soccer.
Marco Fabian strips us of showdown with Vela because of suspension
Marco Fabian picked the wrong time to miss a game for indiscipline. The 30-year-old Mexico international was suspended for Saturday’s match versus LAFC after apparently missing a team meeting a day before the match. Those of us waiting to see how a Marco Fabian vs. Carlos Vela matchup would play out were left wanting as Fabian had to watch his Mexican compatriot score in what eventually turned out to be a 1-1 draw.
Of course, Fabian is no stranger to indiscipline and rumor has it he wants out of the Philadelphia Union at the end of the season. Whatever the case may be, his team is going to be in the MLS Cup Playoffs, where he is set to have a major role for the Union. Perhaps this is coach Jim Curtin’s way of saying, “we need you to come completely focused in this team or face the consequences if you are not”.
Vela’s injury doesn’t cost him his scoring touch
While there was no Marco Fabian, there was definitely Carlos Vela. After missing two games because of a hamstring injury, Vela was his usual self on Saturday, scoring LAFC’s first half equalizer to help his side officially seal first place in the Western Conference.
We’ve ran out of adjectives to describe Vela, but here is another one, lucky. After Mark-Anthony Kaye’s shot hit the crossbar, Vela just happened to be in the right place at the right time to score his 28th goal of the season.
When you are blessed, you are blessed, and with just four games remaining in the regular season, Vela’s magic number for most goals ever scored in an MLS season is at four. Will he be able to accomplish it?
Galaxy goalfest pushes them closer to a Playoff spot
Speaking of goals, it was a wild week for the LA Galaxy. After a tumultuous midweek defeat away to the Colorado Rapids, the five-time MLS Cup champions bounced back with arguably one of their best performances of the season. They absolutely destroyed Sporting Kansas City on their way to a 7-2 home victory at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday.
Understandably, a lot of the headlines will go to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who after scoring yet another hat-trick for the Galaxy proclaimed himself after the game as the best to ever play in Major League Soccer. But for all of Zlatan’s self-aggrandizing words, it was really an all-around performance from everybody in the team.
One of the players who shined the most was Uriel Antuna. Antuna had possibly one of his best performances in Major League Soccer. In addition to finishing the game with a goal and an assist, his overall output was just stellar, even successfully turning his defender inside out on several occasions (a facet to his game he has previously needed to work on). Antuna also received plenty of praise from coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto after game, underlining just how effective he was on both the technical and tactical side of the game, especially when much of the focus on the defenders is always on Zlatan.
At the end, such was the importance of this Galaxy victory that it was enough to propel them all the way up to fifth in the Western Conference standings and into Playoff positioning. The pressure is definitely on now as we approach the business end of the regular season, but this was ultimately a step in the right direction for the Galaxy and its Mexican contingency.
P.S. Efrain Alvarez also got a ridiculously good assist in Zlatan’s third.