Week 1 Recap
(home teams listed first)
Portland 5 – 1 Minnesota
Life comes at you fast. All the excitement and anticipation building for Minnesota United’s first season in MLS got hit with a sobering reality during the final 15 minutes in Portland. The Timbers made a 2-1 game a 5-1 final behind big performances from Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi. Sebastian Blanco impressed for Portland as well. Meanwhile, Minnesota has big problems it needs to fix if the debut season is going to be a success. The defense is too suspect to play as conservatively as Adrian Heath wants, but the Loons might not have the pieces in attack to win shootouts. A dilemma that needs to be worked out. Quickly.
Columbus Crew SC 1 – 1 Chicago Fire
New year, same story for the Crew. Plenty of possession and chances, but only one goal to show for it. Chicago’s rebuilt XI took some time to find its footing, but got stronger as the game wore on. David Accam provided a classy equalizer to earn Chicago a quality road point.
LA Galaxy 1 – 2 FC Dallas
Dallas flashed its credentials as a Supporters Shield contender with a win over LA at the StubHub Center. Kellyn Acosta got the winner making that three goals in all competitions this year. Getting that kind of consistent scoring punch from Acosta would make Dallas even more dangerous. The Galaxy are clearly going through growing pains without Bruce Arena and Robbie Keane. Giovani Dos Santos came alive in the second half, but LA can’t afford to have him drift in and out of games. Good news for LA: Jermaine Jones looks healthy. Now they just have to hope he stays that way.
Real Salt Lake 0 – 0 Toronto FC
Nick Rimando can still ball. At 37, he remains one of the best keepers in the league and the best ever at saving penalties. Sebastian Giovinco found that out the hard way and TFC had to settle for a draw. Home draws aren’t normally a positive, but we’ll give RSL a pass here against the defending Eastern Conference Champs.
Colorado Rapids 1 – 0 New England Revolution
Colorado continues to fly under the radar. While other teams got the hype coming into the season, the Rapids picked up right where they left off last year: getting results from tight games. Once Shkelzen Gashi gets back the offense should pick up. Pablo Mastroeni’s focus on defensive stability will keep Colorado in games until them. New England manager Jay Heaps topped many “first to be fired” lists coming into the season and this result won’t do much to help his case. Too much talent on this Revs roster to miss the playoffs again.
DC United 0 – 0 Sporting Kansas City
Another missed penalty that kept a game a scoreless draw. Bill Hamid and Tim Melia both stood on their heads to keep out a combined 24 shots. Missing Luciano Acosta due to injury was a big disappointment for D.C. after the club brought him in on a permanent transfer in the offseason. Sporting KC got encouraging performances out of Ilie Sanchez new Designated Player Gerso Fernandes. Graham Zusi, however, did not impress at right back. Saad Abdul-Salam is probably the better option, but Zusi’s contract makes it hard to bench him. Peter Vermes needs to get the situation figured out sooner rather than later.
Houston Dynamo 2 – 1 Seattle Sounders
New – look Houston jumped all over the defending champs as Cubo Torres returned from the dead with a goal and Romell Quioto scored a world-class curler. Seattle got it together in the second half after Clint Dempsey cut the lead in half, but couldn’t turn its possession and shot dominance into an equalizer. Seattle will be fine going forward and will be encouraged by Dempsey lasting the entire 90 minutes. It sounds like Houston is going to be a counterattacking team, which might just work with talents like Quioto and Alberth Elis roaming the wings.
San Jose Earthquakes 1 – 0 Montreal Impact
San Jose always seems to play the late, late game and Montreal looked affected by the 8 p.m. Pacific start time. Anibal Godoy scored a gorgeous chip, but there wasn’t much else of note. Marco Urena was an effective partner for Chris Wondolowski and Danny Hoesen flashed his potential. Tommy Thompson getting the start was also an encouraging sign for ‘Quakes fans hoping to see a more exciting team this year.
Orlando City SC 1 – 0 New York City FC
Orlando opened its beautiful, new stadium in style. Cyle Larin headed home off a great Giles Barnes cross and the Lions held on for all three points. Jason Kreis will be hoping Barnes continues playing well now that Kaka is out for six weeks with a hamstring injury. NYCFC likely doesn’t have anything to worry about, it generated plenty of chances and the defense did look much better than last year’s leaky unit.
Atlanta United 1 – 2 New York Red Bulls
A dream start for Atlanta turned into an ugly finish. Yamil Assad showed off good awareness to ghost in at the back post and volley in United’s first-ever goal in the 25th minute. The Red Bulls worked their way back into the game from there, getting an equalizer through Daniel Royer in the 76th and completing the comeback with an Anton Walkes own goal. Carlos Carmona picked up a late red card that Atlanta fans disagreed with. Instead of simply voicing their displeasure, several fans threw beer at referee Mark Geiger. It soured what was otherwise a fantastic debut for Atlanta.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 – 0 Philadelphia Union
Vancouver still has problems – Kekuta Manneh isn’t a central playmaker, but they may be better than we all thought. The defense was solid and the ‘Caps had the best chance of the game when Keegan Rosenberry had to clear a shot off the line. Alphonso Davies continues to impress at just 16 while Brek Shea and Fredy Montero provide desperately needed depth up top for Vancouver. Philly has reasons to be excited as well. Twenty-year-old Derrick Jones more than held his own and Oguchi Onyewu showed he might still have something left in the tank. Oh, and there’s also that valuable road point.