Round 1 of the MLS got underway this week with two new expansion sides dawning a new era.
Orlando City shows how stadiums should be done
All the talk before Orlando City’s game against New York City FC was about the move to their new stadium, Orlando City Stadium. It was a packed house full of purple, even including a first in American Soccer. The stadium included a safe standing area for the Orlando fanbase to sing and chant in a safe manner, which drew inspiration from Europe. Another aspect of the stadium is a particularly touching tribute – rainbow seats, paying tribute to the Pulse nightclub shooting. Orlando has done the stadium right and is something the A-League could learn from. Orlando christened their stadium with a 1-0 win courtesy of a Cyle Larin header.
Portland give newcomers tough introduction
It was never going to be easy for Minnesota United on debut against Portland. The Timbers have been in the league since 2011, but won the MLS Cup in 2015. It took only 20 minutes for Portland to take the lead through a Lawrence Olum goal, and they scored again just after half time through a Diego Valeri header. Minnesota left it late but eventually got their first goal through Christian Ramirez before Valeri piled another on. The established order went on to record a comprehensive 5-1 win, handing a lesson to the new boys.
Star power doesn’t guarantee success
When one thinks of LA Galaxy, star power comes to mind. Think back to David Beckham, who put the Galaxy on the map, and more recently, think Steven Gerrard. Sure, the Galaxy still have big names on their roster including Ashley Cole, Jermaine Jones and Giovani dos Santos, but they looked out of sorts against FC Dallas. That was evident in the leadup to Dallas’ first goal when Maximiliano Urruti scored a blinder. Galaxy did get back in it via a controversial penalty, and up stood dos Santos, who converted. It was short-lived though, with Kellyn Acosta scoring the winner from a tight angle. It may only be week one, but Galaxy have their work cut out. Conversely, could we be seeing what FC Dallas could produce? Only time will tell.
Attack is the best form of play
Attack was on display by both teams when Houston Dynamo hosted 2016 MLS Cup winners Seattle Sounders. There was plenty to like about this match with both teams having more than enough chances to win the game. Houston opened the scoring through a delightful Erick Torres free kick, curled around the wall and nestling in the bottom corner. If Torres’s goal was good, there was only one word to describe Quioto’s goal: freakish. He made the most of plenty of time, floating the ball perfectly into the back of the net. The old guard then prevailed when Clint Dempsey scored to give Seattle a minor chance of a comeback, but it was bot to be. Stats show a whopping total of 31 shots on goal across the 90 minutes.
San Jose set the benchmark early
It may only be the first week of the new MLS season with teams still tyring to find their feet, but it looks like San Jose Earthquakes are not afraid to go all out in week one. They hosted Montreal Impact and looked very impressive, if not dominant, controlling almost every aspect of the game with high energy. The Earthquakes scored in the 17th minute, with Anibal Godoy chipping the goalkeeper. The second half was more of the same, and the Impact’s case was not helped by the sending off of Hassoun Camara. The game ended 1-0, but it could have been much more.