The season got off to a high scoring start this weekend, as every game featured at least two goals, including Seattle putting four past new addition FC Cincinnati and a snowy six goal affair in Colorado. Let’s take a look at Week 1 in MLS 2019.
(Fun side note: Cascadia teams scored nine goals this weekend but only walked away with four points. If the clubs sort out their defense, they could all be trouble for the rest of the league.)
Philadelphia 1-3 Toronto
Philadelphia came into the season as a dark horse contender in the East, but quickly found itself overmatched by Toronto, as goalie Andre Blake was forced to make a number of great saves to keep the scoreline close, including a great save on Jonathan Osorio’s penalty kick in the 35th minute. Toronto’s Michael Bradley also had himself a fantastic night, scoring a brace for his first goals since 2016, benefiting from some poor defending from Philadelphia on the first, as Auro Jr. was able to pick out Bradley completely unmarked in the box, and the captain finished from about seven yards out.
New Union signing Marco Fabian gave Philly a lifeline in the 71st minute, earning and converting a penalty kick, and Philadelphia nearly tied the game four minutes later, as Toronto was forced to scramble to clear a ball of the line. Ultimately Philadelphia was caught pressing too hard for an equalizer, as Nick de Leon forced a turnover and smashed a long-range effort past Blake to complete the scoreline.
Columbus 1-1 NY Red Bulls
The Crew came in with momentum resulting from the team being saved in the offseason, when Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem completed a deal to buy Columbus from Anthony Precourt, ending a long standoff. New York also came in with lots of good energy, fresh off completing a 5-0 victory in their first round of the CONCAFAC Champions League. The Red Bulls opened the scoring early, as Ivan was able to head home a good cross from Florian Valot in the 5th minute.
Columbus answered shortly before halftime with a headed goal of their own, as Gaston Sauro finished off Frederico Higuain’s corner. The Crew continued their momentum after the break, with a great strike from Harrison Afful from 25 yards out that forced a great save from Robles, but both defenses held strong in the second half and the sides were left to split the points.
Colorado 3-3 Portland
Colorado’s home opener provided plenty of entertainment value, as the match was played in record cold and heavy snow fell throughout the match, and Andre Shinyaski scored in the 4th minute of stoppage time to rescue a point for the 10-man hosts. Kei Kamara opened his Colorado account with an easy goal off of some great buildup play in the 15th minute, but things took a sour turn for Colorado in the 27th, as Axel Sjoberg was given a red card for handling a ball in the box, and while Tim Howard saved Diego Valeri’s initial penalty attempt, he was able to tap in the rebound to make it 1-1.
The two teams traded goals on either side of halftime through Sebastian Blanco and Benny Feilhaber, before Portland benefited from a Colorado own goal in the 66th and seemed set to take all three points. Colorado managed to conjure up some magic in what would be their last attempt to get forward, as Shinyaski was waiting at the back post to tap in a ball that was deflected numerous times inside the box, rescuing a point to start the season.
Seattle 4-1 FC Cincinnati
Raul Ruidiaz almost opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, but new signing Przemyslaw Tyton was able to dive and tip the ball onto the post. Cincinnati got the opener ten minutes later, with Leonardo Bertone producing the goal of the week, as he volleyed a high arcing ball straight into the bottom left corner, leaving Stefan Frei with no chance.
From there out it was all Seattle, as the Sounders outshot Cincinnati 23-7, en-route to putting four goals past Tyton, including a brace from Jordan Morris on his return from a major knee injury last season. Morris’ second was a fantastic team goal, as Seattle used their speed to get out on the break, with a sprinting Victor Rodriguez able to cut a pass across the 18-yard box to find Morris with room to launch a shot.
Vancouver 2-3 Minnesota
The new-look Loons put together an impressive performance north of the border, spoiling Vancouver’s home opener. Erik Godoy got the Whitecaps off to a great start off of a beautiful long free kick, but a Darwin Quintero penalty kick and second half goals from Francisco Calvo and Romario proved to be enough to get all three points for Minnesota. Doneil Henry gave Vancouver late life, heading home a ball resulting from a poorly defended corner by Minnesota, but ultimately the Loons were able to hold on for a crucial three points.
Between starters and substitutes, fifteen different players made their debuts for these clubs, as the game was pretty even throughout, as possession ended 50-50 and both sides registered four shots on goal.
A quick glance around the rest of the league:
Orlando 2-2 NYCFC
Christopher Mueller and new addition Tesho Akindele both scored in the second half to rescue a point in the Orlando home opener, as Ebenezer Ofori and Alex Ring scored for New York.
Dallas 1-1 New England
Dallas opened the scoring early through Michael Barrios but New England’s record signing Carles Gil had a great strike in the 57th minute to send both sides home with a point.
Houston 1-1 Real Salt Lake
The sides split the points in Houston, as Albert Rusnak and Mauro Manotas both scored, with the later continuing his fine form from CONCACAF Champions league.
San Jose 1-2 Montreal
New look San Jose got things started in the 11th minute but Montreal got all three points on the road through Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taider.
DC United 2-0 Atlanta
DC came out strong in their home opener, but Guzan was able to stand firm for the first 45 minutes, until Paul Arriola’s strike off a corner in the first minute of stoppage time. DC struck again twelve minutes into the second half, as Lucho Acosta’s long range, swerving effort completely fooled Guzan and snuck into the goal.
LAFC 2-1 Sporting KC
LA came back in the second half against a fatigued-looking Sporting side, with substitute Adama Diomande scoring in the 94th minute to give the home side the win. Kansas City scored first through Krisztian Nemeth, but were handed six yellow cards and a red card on the night, perhaps the product of the more physical CONCACAF Champions league. Diego Rossi also scored for LAFC on the night.