MLS Week 1 Recap: Expansion Sides Stumble


Major League Soccer’s two new United teams — Atlanta and Minnesota — offered the bookend games to the league’s 2017 opening weekend, with both expansion clubs showing glimpses of promise but with both coming up short after 90 minutes. Elsewhere, some teams looked ready for the regular season, others not so much.

Atlanta United 1-2 New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls went down to Georgia and spoiled Atlanta United’s MLS debut. Yamil Asad scored the first goal in club history, in the 24th minute. He made the run to the back post to finish Tyrone Mears’ diagonal cross. That lead held up for 50 minutes, and would have been doubled if not for the efforts of New York goalkeeper Luis Robles.

A successful opening night unraveled over the final 15 minutes. Daniel Royer headed in a corner kick to tie the match. The Red Bulls then took the lead on an own goal from Anton Walkes. Carlos Carmona was sent off in the 88th minute, compounding Atlanta’s trouble.

Portland Timbers 5-1 Minnesota United

Portland welcomed Minnesota to MLS with an offensive outburst. The Timbers dominated the first half. Lawrence Olum, who once played for the Minnesota Thunder in the USL, scored the opening goal. He bundled in a free kick that perhaps should have gone the other way.

Diego Valeri doubled Portland’s lead with a header after halftime. Minnesota seemed to settle down and had long stretches of possession. Its first goal came from substitute Christian Ramirez, a prolific scorer in the NASL. Hopes of a comeback were short-lived as Vadim Demidov gave up a penalty a couple of minutes later. Things got worse from for Minnesota. Fanendo Adi showed off his dribbling skills on both of his goals in stoppage time.

Orlando City 1-0 New York City FC

Orlando City opened its new stadium with a narrow win over NYCFC. The raucous atmosphere was muted when Kaká had to leave the match early with a hamstring injury. His replacement, Giles Barnes, delivered the assist on Cyle Larin’s minutes after coming on. The visitors had the majority of the game’s chances, but were unable to capitalize. Goalkeeper Joe Bendik came up big on multiple occasions to preserve the clean sheet and the win.

Los Angeles Galaxy 1-2 FC Dallas

Dallas took three points from its trip to LA. Maxi Urruti gave the visitors the lead with a goal from outside the box in the 47th minute. The Galaxy responded quickly, earning a penalty six minutes later. A strong individual goal by Kellyn Acosta proved to be the difference, handing the Galaxy a rare home loss.

Houston Dynamo 2-1 Seattle Sounders

Houston’s Cubo Torres caught Stefan Frei on a free kick goal in the 20th minute. It was Torres’ first competitive goal for the Dynamo. Romell Quioto also scored for Houston on a curling goal just before halftime. The hosts faded in the second half, allowing Seattle to get back into the match. Clint Dempsey scored in his return to the field, but the Sounders were unable to find a second goal.

DC United 0-0 Sporting Kansas City

The game between DC and Kansas City ended scoreless, but not for a lack of chances. DC could have gone ahead early when it was awarded a penalty in the 17th minute. But Marcelo Sarvas’ penalty was saved, and so too was the rebound from Patrick Mullins. United also had a flurry of chances off a corner kick in the second half; SKC cleared the ball off the line twice and escaped without conceding a goal.

Columbus Crew 1-1 Chicago Fire

Columbus and Chicago shared the points on Saturday afternoon. The Crew dominated the first half, but would come to regret scoring only one goal. Ethan Finlay got the breakthrough for the hosts, with a header in the 17th minute.

The Fire seemed disjointed for most of the first half, but they held the edge after halftime. David Accam scored the equalizer, twisting Jonathan Mensah around before finding the net. Of the two sides, Chicago came closest to finding a winning goal.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 New England Revolution

Colorado seems to have picked up where it left off, with a 1-0 home victory over New England. Dominique Badji headed in the game’s only goal in the 52nd minute.

Real Salt Lake 0-0 Toronto FC

Both teams showed some firs- game rust, and the game didn’t produce many moments of note. The key sequence took place late in the first half, when Nick Rimando took down Sebastian Giovinco for a penalty. Rimando made up for his mistake, however, by saving Giovinco’s attempt from the spot.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Montreal Impact

San Jose comfortably defeated Montreal on Saturday night. The Quakes were the better team from the opening whistle, and took the lead on Anibal Godoy’s chip in the 17th minute. The Quakes could have had more than the one goalt. Hassan Camara earned a pair of yellow cards, and after going down to 10-men, the Impact never seriously threatened David Bingham’s goal.

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-0 Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake was credited with just one save, but was regularly off his line to prevent the Whitecaps from breaking in on his goal. Jordan Harvey nearly scored against his former team, but had his attempt cleared off the line by Keegan Rosenberry.