The top 5 moments that shaped the 2019 MLS season
The 2019 Major League Soccer season is in the books, with the Seattle Sounders atop the mountain as MLS Cup champions. It was a season full of incredible moments that left fans in awe. Here are the top five moments of the season.
El Tráfico was en fuegoLA Galaxy versus LAFC. Zlatan versus Vela. El Tráfico was the league's best rivalry in 2019, and each of the three matchups were scintillating. From a Zlatan hat trick in their first matchup, to an epic draw in the second, to LAFC finally getting its first victory against their rivals in the playoffs, every second of every match was nonstop action.
Mike Petke firedOne of the low points of the season was when Real Salt Lake fired head coach Mike Petke, after he made some disparaging and homophobic comments toward referees during a complete meltdown at the conclusion of a Leagues Cup match in July.
It spawned an all-out war between club and coach. Petke sued the team for breach of contract and RSL dug in its heels. It's still an ongoing battle, but it was one of the wilder sagas of the year for the league.
Wayne Rooney announces departure from D.C. UnitedWayne Rooney was tearing it up for D.C. United since his arrival in July of 2018, but after a mysterious absence from a match against Atlanta United in July, it was announced that he would be leaving the team at the end of the season to join Derby County.
The move was made mostly due to his wife's desire to return to England (who was involved in her own drama as well with Jamie Vardy's wife), and the announcement killed the momentum of a team that had aspirations to win the MLS Cup. They crashed out of the first round of the playoffs, and Wayne Rooney's short time in MLS came to an end.
Carlos Vela sets single-season goals recordCarlos Vela had arguably the greatest individual season in league history. It was capped on the last match day of the regular season, when he had a hat trick to set the single-season record for goals (34). He also had 15 assists and was a landslide choice for league MVP.
He led LAFC to the Supporters' Shield and the Western Conference final but couldn't add MLS Cup champion to his 2019 list of accolades.
Iron Front banThe story that dominated the summer was the decision by the league to ban the Iron Front logo from flags, signs, banners and apparel in all stadiums. The Iron Front movement was in response to the emergence of white-nationalist groups that were infiltrating the supporters sections for some teams. The league's decision prompted protests, walkouts and all-out defiance by fans around the country. Finally the league reached an agreement with Seattle and Portland supporters groups to lift the ban for the remainder of the season, which allowed fans to freely express themselves in the stands and ended a major black eye for the league.