Major League Soccer began its 23rd season this weekend, with several players and executives having former Aston Villa ties.
Ah Major League Soccer.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you take it for what it’s worth, the action is awesome. The league favorites? Easily last year’s MLS Cup winner Toronto FC (I will never understand why they call the league playoff victors “cup champions”).
They proceeded to get their rear-ends kicked by Columbus on opening day, a club whose owner is legitimately holding the city hostage with a potential move to Austin, Texas, a city whose officials are indifferent about the team moving down south. The league’s second-best side? Probably Atlanta United, coached by former Barcelona manager Tata Martino. In the glory that is MLS, they got thrashed on Saturday by opponents Houston Dynamo 4-0. A pair of former Aston Villa players played a part in that one. Brad Guzan is Atlanta’s number one goalkeeper after spending a year at Middlesbrough following Villa’s relegation from the Premier League.
While Guzan enjoyed a fine match on the pitch, his teammates did not. Scoring on him for Houston’s second was none other than former Villa center back, Philippe Senderos. Senderos spent a year and a half at Aston Villa, signing immediately before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he featured for Switzerland. Senderos became a starter that August where Villa made a hot start in the Premier League. They remained in first through four or five matches before faltering.
Eventually he fell out of favor with Paul Lambert, spiraling towards anonymity before a move to Houston Dynamo of MLS.
Tom Fox, former Chief Executive of Aston Villa, is now the President of San Jose Earthquakes. He took over that role in June 2017.
San Jose do not kickoff until late Saturday night Eastern Standard Time. The Earthquakes are expected to struggle for a playoff spot this summer. Their opponents, Minnesota United, recently released former Villa winger Simon Dawkins, only a week or two after San Jose bought out his contract! Craziness!
Ross McCormack may still be with the claret and blues, but his rumored club Colorado Rapids begin league action on March 10th.