MLS Monday Week 1: This Year Isn't Last Year

When last we left you, Toronto had won the 2017 MLS Cup while being heralded as the best MLS side EVER. Seattle were kings of the West. Atlanta was rampaging, although exiting early.

Well, Week 1 in MLS kinda changed all that.

Of the ten matches played this past weekend, FIVE could be termed upsets of a sort. So let's get started.

Toronto vs. Columbus--UPSET
Over 26,000 packed BMO Field to see their heroes defend their title as the best team ever.

Things didn't go according to plan.

Even though TFC had most of the ball, the shots were even, and two late first half goals by the Crew were enough to get a 2-0 victory. Higuain opened his account in the 44th minute, and Gyasi Zardes knocked in another (to try and erase his 100% forgettable 2017 form.)

The result was perhaps a bit unkind to Toronto. They got 21 crosses in, but the Crew defended well, even though TFC rang the woodwork a few times.

Houston vs. Atlanta--UPSET
The big signings in the offseason were supposed to just make Atlanta United unstoppable this year, after being nearly so during last year's regular season.

But Houston didn't go 12-1-4 at home by accident in 2017. A win? Sure, a possibility. But the 4-0 thrashing? Eye opening. That's the reason this was an "upset." Atlanta not even getting on the board? Shocking.

Brad Guzan did his Brad Guzan impersonation by making some good stops and letting in some weak ones. Only time will tell if 2017 was an anomaly for Atlanta, and if Houston can manage to improve on their hapless road record from last year.

Philadelphia vs. New England
Only three points separated the Union and the Revs at the end of 2017.

But each team was pulling a Houston Dynamo last year--with only one road win. (And both playing some really rotten soccer along 2017.)

Form held as home team Philadelphia rode C.J. Sapong's goal and an assist to a 2-0 win--spoiling Brad Friedel's coaching debut. The most exciting thing going on in New England right now is the Lee Nguyen telenovela.

Orlando vs. DC United
These two teams were buddies last year--hanging out in the basement of the Eastern Division together.

Yamil Asad scored unassisted in the 34th minute, and DC hung on to...get scored on in the 94th minute to say "bye bye" to three points in a 1-1 tie.

Good news for Orlando fans is that new signing Jason Meram assisted (along with Jonathan Spector) on Stefano Pinho's goal at the death.

FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake
The Hoops' epic collapse last year was the stuff of legend--but under the radar was RSL's coming back from an abysmal start to 2017, finishing just a point behind FCD, and one out of the playoffs.

Joao Plata scored for RSL in the 25th, and Real Salt Lake spent most of the rest of the game not marking Michael Barrios, who ran rampant for a big chunk of the match.

In the end, though, it was an own goal that did in Real Salt Lake in the 86th. Just over 16,000 showed up to see FC Dallas, so maybe that's a start to ending that attendance problem.

And FCD took 18 shots to RSL's 9--without scoring. The only thing more annoying than that for Dallas fans is having to listen to another match by the long-winded, casually-interested, never-one-second-of-silence, "this is our part time job" FCD broadcast team, the very worst in the league.

San Jose vs. Minnesota
The Earthquakes finished 10 clear points above the Loons last year. So, no surprise that San Jose took all the points in this one, powered by a brace from Danny Hoesen.

The 3-0 lead an hour into the match didn't come without some scares, though. Kevin Molino struck goal(d) in the 81st and 85th to make things interesting in what ended up a 3-2 San Jose victory.

Props to Valeri Qazaishvili, who assisted on both Hoesen's goals. Can't pronounce his name? No problem. He'll let you call him Vako.

Seattle vs. LAFC--UPSET
The newest franchise in MLS, Los Angeles FC, went into the heart of the beast. Their first-ever match that mattered came against perennial power Seattle. IN Seattle.

What did Bob Bradley's boys do? They came out with a 1-0 win.

Seattle pounded away at LAFC--with 22 shots. LAFC had 5. With only one on target. The one that counted.

Diego Rossi got it in the 11th minute--assisted by former Arsenal man Carlos Vela--and LAFC made it stand.

Remember Bradley's Chicago Fire in '98? Could this be the start of something?

Vancouver vs. Montreal

One team was demonstrably better in 2017. Vancouver.

And they won over the Canadian side from Montreal in a not-that-unexpected, and not-that-entertaining 2-1 win.

The biggest news was probably that Kei Kamara opened up his Vancouver account in his debut.

Sporting KC vs. NYCFC--UPSET

How can NYCFC beating ANYBODY be called an upset at this point?

It's not so much that they won. It's that they won AT KC, by far the league's stingiest side in 2017. And one that had only lost once at home last season. And NYCFC got it done by two clear goals.

Tim Melia got beaten twice--by Moralez and Medina--and David Villa took six shots.

A reasonable amount of plastic got shown in this one--three yellows and a red. All for the guys from New York.

LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers--UPSET

2017, for the Galaxy, was the very definition of "falling on hard times" for one of MLS's most storied franchises.

The club of Beckham, Gerrard, Keane, Donovan, and more? They finished TWENTY-ONE POINTS behind Portland.

Hence, upset.

The Galaxy got two goals within two minutes, as Ola Kamara and Romain Alessandrini tallied in the 32nd and 34th, respectively.

Most of the stats were even--although Portland had a bit more of the ball. Does this mean that 2018 will be a return to glory for the Galaxy? Will Sigi Schmid be able to work his special voodoo?

Let's not get crazy. This was Giovanni Savarese's first game at the helm, which might account for a less than Portland performance by Portland.

That's Week 1. Tune in next week to see what happens as the MLS moves slowly, but inexorably toward December. (With a World Cup in the middle.)

No comments

© 2010-2016 Tom Gulley. Powered by Blogger.