MLS Week 2: Ain’t that a Kick in the Pants?

Well that was certainly an interesting weekend. A lot of surprises around the league, with narratives being tossed out the window nearly every half. We started the weekend off on Friday night with Chicago and Orlando playing to a draw after two early goals and a 32nd minute sending off seemed to shut door for further innovation from a still imperious Cyle Larin and surprisingly adept David Accam. 

Harrington wasn’t the only one to see red. Over in Kansas City, Vancouver’s early season woes went from bad to worse when shortly after conceding two first half goals to Dom Dwyer, Jordan Smith was dismissed in first half stoppage time for a rash challenge. Pedro Morales managed to pull one back from the spot in the 70th minute, but Vancouver never looked like winning this one, and will be flattered by the 2-1 scoreline after what was a truly limp performance.

It was zeroes in Boston. New England and DC United opened up the Saturday’s program with the week’s only scoreless match. Charlie Davies picked up an injury again and frustration has to be setting in for both the player and the fans as we still manage to only catch glimpses of his once promising career.

In Salt Lake, Seattle stormed out early with the new 4-3-3 finally beginning to look effective with some attractive and cavalier attacking play. The Sounders managed to net first, but, as they often do, gave up an equalizer shortly after to home debutante Sunny Obayan, who looked very comfortable in front of the Rio Tinto crowd. Fill-in Sounders keeper Tyler Miller looked decent if not spectacular in his first ever start, but managed to get completely out-muscled on a fair aerial challenge by Jamison Olave that wound up seeing the ball end up in the back of the net for a late winner. Seattle is still looking for their first point this season.

As are Columbus Crew SC, who were surprisingly dispatched at home by the perennially underachieving Philadelphia Union 2-1 following a rather opportunistic brace by newly acquired forward Chris Pontius. New designated player Kei Kamara managed to pull one back for the hosts, but ultimately the comeback came up short and the Crew will be left to ponder what might have been. 

Montreal continued their early season tour of fire and brimstone, defeating the defending Supporter’s Shield winners, RBNY at home 3-0. Ignacio Piatti was magnificent again - adding another goal and an assist to his early season returns. Montreal look very strong, and this is still without the services of Didier Drogba who may or may not play depending on the temperature, moon position, field surface, or just whenever or not he feels like it. It’s a scary proposition for the rest of the league to imagine how stellar this attack could be if a fully fit and motivated Drogba lines up with Harry Shipp, Piatti, and Dominic Oduro. 

Colorado fans will go home rightly pleased after managing to shock the Los Angeles Galaxy with a very late winner after Marco Pappa’s 95th minute volley off of a poor LA clearance managed to slam in off the underside of the bar and secure 3 points for the home team. It was truthfully a poor match until the 67th minute when Pappa’s introduction gave Colorado an injection of pace and creativity that livened up the final quarter hour of the match. Ashley Cole missed the match through injury in what is sure to be a recurring theme this season. LA were without him and Dos Santos, but will still need to do a lot better if they hope to reclaim their crown this year. 

Do you all remember when I posted here last week that Houston was going to beat Dallas 5-0 with 4 first half goals? Did I not hit send on that? Well, you’ll just have to trust that I knew that was going to happen. It sure did seem to surprise everybody else though.  Andrew Wenger had a great match, effectively stifling an admittedly less than 100% fit Fabian Castillo while adding a goal and two assists in the first half. Dallas was an accomplice in their own undoing however, as Matt Hedges unintentionally produced an early season contender for most purely comedic moment of the year when he cooly placed the ball past a bewildered Jesse Gonzalez for an own goal that summed up Dallas’ evening perfectly. This kind of result early in the season would test any team’s mettle, and it’s up to a team that a lot of people (myself included) had picked to be front-runners for the Supporter’s Shield and MLS Cup to pick themselves up and get back to their winning ways.

Toronto and NYCFC faced off in an early encounter between the two eastern conference hopefuls at Yankee Stadium. NYCFC got off to a good start with a first half David Villa brace coming on a penalty kick and then some in the box chaos that he managed to lash home (despite rather obviously handling the ball). But Giovinco did Giovinco things, producing a goal and an assist, and the draw will be seen as a fair result to anybody that watched.

The weekend’s fixture list ended in San Jose where the Earthquakes hosted the defending MLS Cup champions. Portland looked a bit out of sorts and San Jose was ruthless in capitalizing on a half chance by Wondolowski and a 40 yd bending chipped shot that mesmerized Kwarasey before nestling in the far post side netting right before the stroke of halftime. It’s unquestionably the goal of the week, and it’s very difficult to imagine anything beating it for goal of the year. Late sub Jack McInerney pulled one back for Portland late in the second half, but San Jose held on for a memorable 2-1 win at home.

So there you have it. Week 2, and what a doozy. Never bet on Major League Soccer kids.