A spectacular opening weekend to the 22nd MLS season featured a sellout crowd of more than 55,000 in Atlanta, where the Red Bulls came back from a 1-0 deficit to disappoint the huge crowd.
FC Dallas moved into second place with a calm, composed defeat of the Galaxy at StubHub Center, and Portland rattled in five goals to take fourth place. Impressive wins lifted
Orlando City, San Jose and Houston -- which toppled defending champion Seattle, 2-1, despite a Clint Dempsey goal -- into the middle of the pack.
MLS Week 1, Results:
Atlanta United 1, New
York Red Bulls 2. Highlights
Orlando City 1, New York
City FC 0. Highlights
results are evaluated for the Power Rankings, which include a team’s record in parentheses and preseason ranking.
1. NY RED BULLS (1-0-0), 2.
Coming back from one goal down on the road is a great kickoff to the season, regardless of setting and opponent. Getting goals six minutes apart by Daniel Royer and AUFC’s Anton
Walkes -- under pressure by Bradley Wright-Phillips -- is a good first step into a new era without Dax McCarty. Also must be mentioned is Luis Robles’
excellent save on Josef Martinez late in the first half with Atlanta leading 1-0.
2. FC DALLAS (1-0-0), 3. The most impressive result of the weekend
given the opponent, venue, and perceived caliber of opponent. Debutant Roland Lamah caused the Galaxy plenty of problems on the flank and set up Kellyn Acosta to nail the winning
goal after L.A. had matched Max Urruti’s opening goal with a penalty kick.
3. TORONTO FC (0-0-1), 1. Six blocked shots and 29 clearances helped
TFC post a road shutout that should have been a win, but Sebastian Giovinvco’s streak of converted penalty kicks in MLS ended at nine in the gloves of Nick Rimando. Fielding
the same XI that took the field for the MLS Cup final, TFC held a narrow edge (50.5-49.5 percent) in possession and completed 72 percent (to 66 percent) of its passes.
4. PORTLAND (1-0-0), 6. As expected, the Timbers took their expansion guests to the cleaners as a strengthened attack ran rampant. Diego Valeri scored twice
and so did Fanendo Adi, for the 12th time in 91 league appearances.
5. COLORADO (1-0-0), 9. The same old formula -- make the first one you score the
only goal of the game -- got the Rapids off to a winning start. Dominique Badji tallied during a scramble stemming from a free kick, and Zac MacMath thwarted Kei Kamara from close
range for one of his three saves. Dillon Serna got a big hug from namesake Dillon Powers and a nice ovation when he stepped onto the field in the 79th minute for his first appearance
since suffering a torn ACL June 29.
6. D.C. UNITED (0-0-1), 5. The final home opener at RFK Stadium (supposedly) yielded yet another fine performance by
Bill Hamid and aside from a furious scramble that sparked three shots –including two cleared off the goal line -- within 20 seconds, a rather lackluster attack. Luciano
Acosta sat out the match injured. A spectacular parry of a free kick ranked as the best of Hamid’s five saves. A good save at the other end repelled Marcelo Sarvas’ penalty
7. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (0-0-1), 11. Hamid’s counterpart, Tim Melia, saved a penalty kick as well as follow-up attempt, and also foiled
another attempt by diving full-length to quell a scramble that included a Jimmy Medranda headed clearance from underneath the crossbar. SKC outshot United, 15-9, and controlled the ball 60.5
percent of the time.
8. SEATTLE (0-1-0), 3. Back is Clint Dempsey and apparently so are some of the same problems that plagued the Sounders during
the first half of the 2016 season. They weren’t up to speed for the revived, revamped foes that raced out to a 2-0 lead. Dempsey’s goal highlighted a second half in which Seattle
outshot Houston, 12-2, and raised expectations of a better show in the home opener Saturday against Montreal.
9. NEW YORK CITY FC (0-1-0), 7. Among the 14
shots that failed to find the net were two by David Villa, a one-on-one opportunity for Alexander Ring, a ball over the top for Khiry Shelton, and a close-range chance that
Jack Harrison couldn’t put away. NYCFC fought through a hostile environment and concession of an early goal to dominate possession and much of the play. Not a bad showing on the
road with six new players making their club debuts.
10. L.A. GALAXY (0-1-0), 8. No one predicted a smooth transition without Robbie Keane and Bruce Arena,
and FCD won at StubHub Center last year in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal, but for long periods before and after Giovani Dos Santos converted a PK the Galaxy didn’t do much with a lot of
possession. Roman Alessandrini and Joao Pedro played some nice stuff on their debuts. Up next: a grove of very tall Timbers.
11. ORLANDO CITY SC (1-0-0), 18.
Only another goal or two went missing as the Lions opened their new stadium in raucous conditions with striker Cyle Larin bagging the historic first goal. He has scored seven goals in as
many games against NYCFC. Fate handed head coach Jason Kreis a tough task right out of the gate; planning to be without Kaka (hamstring strain) for about six weeks.
SAN JOSE (1-0-0), 19. Seldom in the Dominic Kinnear era (since 2015) have the Quakes played so well in most aspects of the game for the full 90 minutes. They outshot Montreal
17-5, Anibal Godoy scored a wonderful goal on a one-two with Chris Wondolowski, and a defense led by Bundesliga veteran Florian Jungwirth and Homegrown product Nick Lima
held the Impact without a shot on goal.
13. HOUSTON (1-0-0), 21. After 22 straight games without a goal for the Dynamo, Erick “Cubo”
Torres sliced a free kick into the net. Romell Quioto scored an excellent goal to mark a performance of same. With frontmate Alberth Elis, they sliced apart the defending champ
impressively, and the team regrouped after Dempsey’s goal to ride out an encouraging victory.
14. MONTREAL (0-1-0), 10. A very tepid performance in San Jose
yielded a 1-0 loss that should have been worse. A second caution dispatched Hassoun Camara midway through the second half. None of the Impact’s five shots were on target, Ignacio
Piatti seldom broke free of challenges, and Matteo Mancosu was especially quiet in his first match since the Impact converted his loan into a transfer.
CHICAGO (0-0-1), 15. One of the bright spots during the recent bleak seasons lit up the scoreboard after a sluggish start in Columbus. David Accam’s goal in the 73rd
minute accounted for a 1-1 tie in the Fire debuts for Dax McCarty and Nemanja Nikolic.
16. REAL SALT LAKE (0-0-1), 14. Nick Rimando atoned for his
own foul as well as several early howlers by Chris Schuler to help RSL snag a point. Rimando twice denied Jozy Altidore and dove smartly to smother Giovinco’s penalty kick.
Playmaker Albert Rusnak set up several chances and missed the target with his two shots.
17. PHILADELPHIA (0-0-1), 17. Homegrown signing Derrick Jones
made a memorable MLS debut by shutting off lanes and pushing the ball forward. Right back Keegan Rosenberry’s clearance off the goal line and a stout defensive performance that
conceded just that one shot on goal earned the Union a road point.
18. NEW ENGLAND (0-1-0), 12. The Revs didn’t generate much on attack, other than a
clear chance that Kei Kamara couldn’t put away. Lee Nguyen left with a bruised ankle in the 57th minute. The three debutants in the back -- defenders Antonio Delamea and
Benjamin Angoua, and goalkeeper Cody Cropper -- labored through a few instances of miscommunication but were solid for the most part.
19. COLUMBUS (0-0-1),
13. A strong first half and 1-0 lead provided by Ethan Finlay’s goal dissipated in the second half. Centerback Jonathan Mensah cast a good impression in his first MLS game but
aside from being cautioned Federico Higuain seldom brought his influence to the fore.
20. ATLANTA UNITED (0-1-0), 16. A packed house and early goal by Yamil
Asad got the MLS debut off to an unforgettable start but breakdowns in the second half were punished. Alec Kann’s egregious bobble gave NYRB the corner from which it equalized. This
is a young, talented expansion team that will be prone to hot streaks and barren spells, often within the same game.
21. VANCOUVER (0-0-1), 20. The ‘Caps
generated just one shot on goal in a frustrating home opener. Kekuta Manneh dribbled himself into traps on several occasions and despite some nice midfield work by 16-year-old Alfonso
Davies the attack ran aground in the final third. On the plus side, defender Christian Dean replaced suspended Kendall Watson to cap his comeback from injury issues that had excluded
him from league play since August 2015.
22. MINNESOTA UNITED (0-1-0), 22. Nice goal by Christian Ramirez. Rough game for Vadim Demidov and a few
other players. As they say, a learning day. The Loons open at home Sunday in an expansion clasico with Atlanta.