Rookie Sam Cronin started alongside Carl Robinson in TFC's midfield as Coach John Carver played with three out-and-out attackers (Dwayne DeRosario, Rohan Ricketts, Amado Guevara) and Chad Barrett more or less as a lone forward in a 3-2 win at Kansas City. TFC is on the road again Saturday to play Columbus.
Attacking midfielder Santiago Hirsig came on for Kansas City in the second half and showed some creative instincts and a nice touch. He earned an assist on one of Davy Arnaud's two incredible long-range strikes, one with each foot, in the loss to Toronto.
For Chivas USA, Mexican newcomers Eduardo Lillingston and Mariano Trujillo started at forward and right back, respectively. Maykel Galindo replaced Lillingston at halftime and a livelier Chivas USA rallied to beat the Rapids, 2-1, with a pair of Paulo Nagamura goals.
Dallas defender Steve Purdy, a Cal-Berkeley product who came to MLS after two seasons in Germany, struggled against the Fire. A slip allowed Patrick Nyarko to set up the winning goal and a foul provided Cuauhtemoc Blanco a free kick he swerved into the net.
Another Bear who first tried his luck in Europe, Andrew Jacobson, came on as a sub for D.C. Dejan Jakovic, 23, started his first MLS game for United and obviously is still sorting out assignments and responsibilities with central partner Greg Janicki and their midfielders.
Rookie defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez started in the Galaxy back line. Neither could stop newcomer Chris Pontius, a Southern Californian who played his college soccer up the road a piece at UC Santa Barbara, from marking his debut in the 62nd minute with a sharp cut and unstoppable shot into the far top corner.
Landon Donovan's header that tied the Galaxy-United match, 2-2, came from a clever chip by Kyle Patterson, a St. Louis University product who had been on the field only five minutes after debuting as a sub in the 80th.
Debutant forwards Cam Weaver and Pablo Garcia both squandered great chances in San Jose's 1-0 loss to New England. Weaver slammed a point-blank rebound off keeper Matt Reis onto the crossbar in the first half; Campos replaced him in the 83rd minute and flashed a header wide of the far post.