The MLS season may be over, but soccer fans in the US still have a lot to celebrate. After all, this MLS season was one of the most exciting ever and had some fantastic moments. Fans who like to bet on soccer had a thrilling final match between Atlanta and Portland in which the favored United came out to win their first MLS cup. The odds were tilted heavily in Atlanta’s favor, so anyone who decided to place a bet on the easy money, earned just that. For all of you soccer fans pining for next season, here’s a recap of the year that was and some of the best highlights of the MLS season.
Wayne Rooney beats Tim Howard, scores first-ever MLS goal
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have scored in his first-ever game at the Major League Soccer level, but that’s certainly not the norm.
For most guys, it takes a few matches, to get accustomed to the pitch, as well as develop camaraderie with their teammates.
As it relates to Wayne Rooney, he was given the opportunity take some free kicks — which he’s always excelled at doing — and was also able to record an assist after three games of action.
The fourth game appeared to be the charm for Rooney, who received a nice through-ball, and then nutmegged Tim Howard for his first-ever MLS goal against the Rapids.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 29, 2018
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores first-ever MLS hat trick in win over Orlando FC
Los Angeles Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, when on, looks like he’s in a class above all other defenders in Major League Soccer.
Ibra has scored over 500 goals in his career, and he has the size and explosiveness to completely change the outcome of a game.
That was exactly what happened during the Galaxy’s game against Orlando FC, when Ibra was literally a one-man team, doing just enough to propel them to victory. Heading into the game, Orlando was favored in many sports books and had the majority of the bets to win the game. To Orlando’s credit, they scored three goals on the road, which is often more than enough to emerge with three points. Unfortunately for them, Ibra was unstoppable, and scored just as many, helping his team to squeak out a 4-3 win. It was a stunning upset, propelled by a one-man-show that went against the odds.
Ibra’s first two goals were headers — in the 47th and 67th minute — but he wasn’t done. He showed he can bang home beautiful finishes as well, which he did in the 71st, for the game-winning goal.
15 goals in 17 #LAGalaxy appearances.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 30, 2018
Raul Ruidiaz’s insane volley kick goal in extra time came in clutch moment
Coming into the game, the Sounders were favored and Seattle fans had bet heavily on the team to win. The Portland Timbers were just three minutes away from pulling off a thrilling upset and advancing to the MLS Western Conference Finals in their match against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.
…But Sounders star striker Raul Ruidiaz had something to say about that.
Ruidiaz was enjoying the match, and was looking to play for at least 30 minutes more. so he took matters into his own hands.
He had already opened the scoring in the game in the 68th minute, but a late equalizer by Sebastian Blanco saw the Timbers even the score at one — putting the team in position to advance (2-1 aggregate).
But Ruidiaz had other plans. The ball was bouncing around in the box in the 93rd minute, and it floated over to Ruidiaz, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He banged it home with an insane volley — thwarting the Timbers’ chances at advancing at that moment.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) November 9, 2018
Atlanta United players lift MLS Cup Trophy after beating Portland Timbers
Atlanta United proved that they are indeed one of the greatest teams in MLS history, sealing the deal and defeating the Portland Timbers with ease in the MLS Cup final, 2-0.
Atlanta came out strong right out of the gate in front of passionate 73,019 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and they dominated the game from start to finish. A first-half goal by Josef Martinez set the table, and a second-half goal off a set piece by Franco Escobar essentially sealed the deal, as Atlanta emerged victorious to win the title.
They went on to lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy on the field after the match, which you can watch below.