The first MLS opener for David Beckham turned into the worst drubbing of his brief Galaxy career, two young Gambians led the Revs to a spanking of Houston in a rematch of MLS Cup 2007, and the ballyhooed offseason FC Dallas signing turned victory into disappointment. For the first week of MLS 2008, we'll examine how much impact was wielded by some of the players signed for that purpose.
DUAL THREAT.During preseason when asked about Argentine DP Claudio Lopez, Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo never forgot to mention that other South American striker signed, Colombian Ivan Trujillo. They scored the goals Saturday as Kansas City beat D.C. United, 2-0, in front of a rowdy, roaring sellout crowd (10,385) at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
"Basically, in one week our team has changed tremendously, with obviously Claudio arriving and the same thing with Ivan Trujillio," said Onalfo when the Lopez signing was announced. "We want to have competition in that spot and it's going to make us a team that is deep and is able to win games consistently."
Trujillo tucked away a first-time feed from Jack Jewsbury to break open a scoreless deadlock early in the second half and in the 61st minute Ryan Pore chipped a ball over the D.C. back line that Lopez lofted off the fingertips of leaping goalkeeper Zach Wells and into the net.
FIRST GOAL FLYER. Anybody who wanted to bet on a longshot scoring the first goal of the MLS season - in what turned out to be a 2-0 Crew victory over Toronto -- could have heeded the words of Sigi Schmid two weeks ago:
"I think someone who is going to surprise people is Adam Moffat," said Schmid of the second-year midfielder signed last September who scored against UAG in a postseason friendly and in a March preseason match versus Blackburn.
With the Crew and TFC tied 0-0 in the 26th minute, Moffat hit a long-range shot of no great power that bounced past goalkeeper Brian Edwards, who got the start in goal as Greg Sutton sat on the bench, a decision that Coach John Carver may want to re-think.
GOMEZ POWER. Christian Gomez potted a penalty kick in a 4-0 thrashing of the Galaxy that marked his Rapids debut, and his central presence opened up space for Colorado's flank players, especially after his PK widened the gap to 2-0.
Right mid Terry Cooke scored the first goal on a rebound and set up two more with passes, one of which found left mid Colin Clark to score the final goal. On the day, Cooke got the best of Beckham, his former teammate - and housemate - when they were youth players at Manchester United.
DAVINO DUFF. FCD Dallas was about six minutes away from opening its season with a 1-0 victory against Chivas USA when the play of two major offseason signings converged.
Swiss midfielder Raphael Wicky lofted a ball across the center line that Mexican defender Duilio Davino seemed to have measured, but instead of flicking it to safety with the outside of his left foot, he prodded it into the path of Maykel Galindo, who sailed in alone to put the equalizer (1-1) through keeper Dario Sala's feet.
GAMBIA A-GO-GO. Former U-20 internationals Sainey Nyassi and Kenny Mansally, signed near the end of last season, overran Houston with their power and pace in a 3-0 Revs' thumping of the defending champion.
From his right midfield slot, Nyassi breached the Houston defense several times and Mansally gave central defenders Eddie Robinson and Bobby Boswell plenty of trouble. Nyassi's through ball set up Mansally for a shot that was saved and fell to Steve Ralstonto score on the rebound, and with seven minutes left Nyassi intercepted a lazy Richard Mulrooney pass and raced upfield to smash the third goal over keeper Pat Onstad