Sunday featured three MLS games. All three were juicy match-ups, while most of the eyes were set on the battle of the expansion teams. For the Fire fan, still looking to cleanse the palette after Friday's game, there was plenty of action to be had on Sunday.
Orlando 1, New York City 1
In front of 62,510 fans at the Citrus Bowl, the new teams on the block made fans everywhere else jealous with their new toys. Mix Diskerud proved – in the 76th minute – that with great hair, comes great skill. After being fed the ball from the David Villa, the Norwegian-American DP took one touch before sending a low curler to the left of an outreaching Donovan Ricketts.
Orlando City defender Aurelian Collin was sent off in the 83rd minute following a brash tackle on Villa. Arguments can be made as to whether the tackle was deserving of a straight red. Collin’s reputation does him no favors in situations like that.
As the game went into stoppage time Kaka reminded NYCFC that they aren’t the only team with fancy names on their DP list. With a stroke of luck, the Brazilian took a free kick which shot off defender Jeb Brovsky’s chest and into the goal. Terrible misfortune for New York goalkeeper Josh Saunders who had a giant welt on the back of his head from an earlier collision with his own post. Having been out of the league for a year due to injury, Saunders put in a heroic performance.
Sporting Kansas City 1, New York Red Bulls 1
Both Sporting and Red Bull have been consistent playoff teams, but both are much changed. While the blue on blue had to slightly re-tool, the energy drink pretty much blew the whole damn thing up. After some front office shuffling and unpopular dismissal of a successful coach, not many people knew what to expect from NYRB this season. After one game, certainly no need to hit the panic button yet.
Another capacity crowd at Sporting Park saw the home team gain the lead in minute 50 when a sublime Benny Feilhaber cross met the head of Ike Opara. The lead would be short-lived, however, as four minutes later Lloyd Sam would create his own shot by shaking off Matt Besler and sending a lovely ball past Luis Marin from just outside the box. Besler’s poor outing wouldn’t end there as he was sent off in the 70th minute after collecting a deserved second yellow card. Dom Dwyer – now one half of America’s favorite soccer couple – had a golden opportunity to put SKC level in the 88th minute but couldn’t manage to slide onto the ball and put it home.
Seattle Sounders 3, New England Revolution 0
What many thought could be a preview of MLS Cup 2015 turned into likely MLS champs vs MLS basement dwellers. Let’s not be too harsh after one game, though, especially with Jermaine Jones on the shelf. As one would expect, Century Link Field was just shy of 40,000 spectators to get a glimpse of the post-Yedlin Sounders.
Things went from bad to worse for the Revs in the 24th minute as they were deemed to have fouled Clint Dempsey in the box. A minute later, Seattle’s number two lined up for the PK, sent Bobby Shuttleworth the wrong way and calmly put the ball into the top corner. Sixteen minutes later, Deuce would deliver a beautiful ball down the right flank to Tyrone Mears, who would subsequently deliver the perfect cross into the box for Obafemi Martins to head home. Marco Pappa would get involved in Seattle’s final goal in the 67th minute. The former Fire player sent a through ball to Martins, who at that point jetted past the Revs' ridiculously high line. With only the keeper to beat, it was easy pickings for Martin who passed over to a wide open Dempsey to finish off his former employers, New England.