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Breakfast Links - February 28, 2022

Dynamo get the first point of 2022, Dash grab a preseason win, Carlos Vela bags a hat trick, Liverpool wins a dramatic League Cup Final, and more.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo FC Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS season is off and running, with all 28 teams playing their first game over the weekend. It’s also the last day of February (and first day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) and hopefully that means Spring weather is right around the corner. Let’s get to the Breakfast Links for a Monday.

Houston

The Houston Dynamo picked up their first point of the 2022 season after a 0-0 draw in the opener against Real Salt Lake. Darwin Quintero came closest to scoring with an effort from outside the box that stung the crossbar. Head coach Paulo Nagamura was happy to coach his first match but sees areas for improvement. “It’s all good,” Nagamura told the media after the match. “I mean it felt good (to) reach the first one. I’m glad we got this one out of the way, but overall, as a team I think in the first half we were a little too slow offensively. We made the game a little easier for Salt Lake to defend us. I think in the second half, we came forward little bit more and pushed on the front foot, more of the way that we want to be moving the ball a little bit faster. We had a little more possession in their half, which gave us a little more control of the game, but overall I’m happy with the defensive performance, not so happy with the offensive part, but that is something we can build on and that’s the best thing for us right now.”

The Houston Dash opened their preseason with a 1-0 win over TCU in a scrimmage on Saturday. Midfielder Shea Groom scored the only goal of the game, scoring with a shot from the top of the box. Newcomer Marisa Viggiano provided the assist. The Dash are now preparing to travel to Mexico City for training and a preseason friendly against UNAM Pumas Femenil.

MLS

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Los Angeles FC Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Vela is back to being Carlos Vela. After an offseason that was surrounded with question marks regarding the Mexican’s future, Vela quieted a lot of the talk with a hat trick on Saturday in LAFC’s 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids. When Vela is on and playing at his best, there are few in this league that can match his talent.

In a marquee matchup between east and west, Chicharito stole the show late. The LA Galaxy got a 90th minute winner from their Mexican star to beat reigning MLS Cup champions NYCFC on Sunday.

Perhaps the most impressive win of the weekend belonged to Nashville SC. The new Western Conference side went in to Seattle and got a 1-0 win over the Sounders. Anibal Godoy scored the game winner for Nashville to lay down a marker ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Around the World

Liverpool won the English Cup over Chelsea after an epic penalty shootout. All eleven of Liverpool’s players scored in the shootout, including goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. All ten of Chelsea’s players scored until their goalkeeper Kepa sent his penalty well over the bar to give Liverpool the trophy. Kepa came on in the 119th minute, specifically for the penalties, but Thomas Tuchel’s gamble did not pay off.

Teenage sensation Yeremi Pino scored four goals for Villarreal, becoming the first La Liga player to do so since Lionel Messi two years ago. The young Spaniard scored a natural hat trick, left-footed, right-footed, and header, in the first half.