The Major League Soccer season kicked off last weekend and although there was a distinct lack of goals throughout the opening round’s games, there was still cause for excitement with some excellent finishing and tough tackling. We take a look at a few of the week one results, and discuss the standout performers while considering who disappointed across the MLS.
Two newly formed clubs, Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City FC, matched up against each other on Sunday evening in what was described by some as the biggest clash in the league’s brief history. Unfortunately, the match failed to live up to the hype and both sides laboured to a 1-1 draw, although both will be satisfied to avoid defeat in their opening clash.
After a poor first half, the game sparked into life in the 77th minute as Mix Diskerud put New York City in front with a fine, curling effort into the far corner of the goal. The hosts appeared frustrated and the game looked to be settled when Aurelien Collin was shown a straight red card for a horrendous challenge on David Villa. However, there was late drama as Brazil international Kaka found the net via a deflection to earn Orlando a share of the spoils.
Seattle Sounders 3-0 New England Revolution
Seattle started their campaign with a convincing 3-0 victory over New England at CenturyLink Field on Monday. The Sounders racked up the most points during the regular season last year, and their victory last week is a real statement of intent as they aim to go one better and reach the MLS Cup final.
Former Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins and United States international Clint Dempsey continued where they left off and both got their name on the scoresheet, with the latter bagging a brace. The two scored 32 goals in the MLS last season and were key players as the Sounders won the Supporters Shield. They were beaten in the conference finals by the eventual champions LA Galaxy last year, and Seattle will be looking to avenge their defeat this time around.
New England were without midfielder Lee Nguyen, who set a club scoring record of 18 goals last season. He was clearly missed as the Revolution lacked bite and purpose up front, and they may have given the Sounders a tougher battle if he hadn’t been ruled out with a groin irritation.
Vancouver Whitecaps 1-3 Toronto FC
In what was arguably the ‘shock’ of the opening set of fixtures, Toronto earned a comfortable victory against Vancouver Whitecaps, winning 3-1 at the BC Place stadium. The hosts were well beaten by their Canadian rivals, who are looking for an improved performance after a mediocre season in 2014. This was the first opening day home defeat for the Whitecaps since 2002, which included four previous wins in the MLS era.
Vancouver’s new striking acquisition Octavio Rivero put the hosts in front midway through the first half after some tidy footwork presented him with the opportunity on goal, and he held his nerve to rifle past Joe Bendik in the Toronto net. However, the sides would go into the break all square as former Sunderland forward Jozy Altidore rounded the Whitecaps goalkeeper and slotted home before the half-time whistle.
The second half belonged to the away side and, after some neat work on the right hand flank by Justin Morrow, Robbie Findley found the back of the net to send the away fans into raptures. Toronto secured the three points late on as Altidore added his second – and Toronto’s third – to cap off the perfect debut.