MLS Week 1 Recap, Highlights: Timbers win Cup rematch, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

Major League Soccer kicked off its 21st season with a full slate of games on Sunday. It was a difficult day for home fans, as home teams won just four matches out of ten. The marquee matchup of opening day pitted last year’s finalists against each other, with the same result.

Portland Timbers 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

A rematch of last year’s MLS Cup produced the same scoreline, as Portland defeated Columbus once again. Diego Valeri whipped a free kick into the space between the back line and Steve Clark, who was rooted to his spot as the ball bounced by him. But after the Timbers wasted several good opportunities, Columbus equalized against the run of play. You’ll be seeing a lot of Federico Higuain’s bicycle kick that leveled the game. The winning goal by Fanendo Adi was nowhere near as pretty, but it counted all the same

New York Red Bulls 0-2 Toronto FC

In perhaps the most surprising result of opening day, Toronto went to Red Bull Arena and grabbed all three points off the defending Supporters’ Shield winners. A revamped TFC defense held strong against increasing pressure from the hosts, and Toronto took the lead on a penalty in the 81st minute. Sebastian Giovinco scored from the spot, and added an assist to Marky Delgado in stoppage time to secure the result.

Orlando City 2-2 Real Salt Lake

An improbably stoppage-time comeback earned Orlando City a point in front of more than 60,000 fans at the Citrus Bowl. RSL was already a man down when they earned a penalty to take the lead in the 26th minute. Darwin Ceren picked up a straight red just before halftime to level the sides at 10 men apiece. Plata scored a second from open play in the 66th minute. That lead lasted until the 94th minute, when Cyle Larin scored. Less than a minute later, Adrian Winter scored an improbable equalizer.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-3 Montreal Impact

Ignacio Piatti proved too much for the Whitecaps to handle as the Impact won in Vancouver. Without Didier Drogba in front of him, the Argentine playmaker scored two goals and assisted Dom Oduro on the other. The Whitecaps had goals late in both halves, but were kept from more by an eight-save performance from Evan Bush.

LA Galaxy 4-1 DC United

LA overcame an early goal and ended up with a big win over DC. Lamar Neagle stunned the hosts with a goal from distance in the 5th minute. Dan Kennedy, who later left with an injury, could have done better. The Galaxy began to click on the attack in the second half, and found an equalizer in the 54th minute. Mike Magee chipped Andrew Dykstra ten minutes later to give the Galaxy the lead. Magee tried to repeat the feat, and earned a penalty in the 82nd minute. Robbie Keane buried the penalty, and with it DC’s chances. Magee scored again minutes later.

FC Dallas 2-0 Philadelphia Union

An otherwise perfect day for Dallas was marred when Fabian Castillo was stretchered off the field with an apparent groin injury in stoppage time. Castillo scored the game’s first goal after being freed by a through ball from Mauro Diaz in the first half. Dallas controlled the game, but wouldn’t score again until deep into the second half, when Maxi Urruti scored his first goal for the Hoops. The scoreline could easily have been more lopsided if not for the efforts of Andre Blake in goal for Philadelphia.

Chicago Fire 3-4 New York City FC

The wildest game of opening day took place in Chicago, where NYCFC won a barnburner. Tommy McNamara had the first, and best, of seven goals with a curler early in the first half. The two teams combined for some calamitous defending, and NYCFC had a 3-1 lead by halftime. Tony Taylor, Khyri Shelton, and Mix Diskerud scored the other goals for the visitors.

Houston Dynamo 3-3 New England Revolution

Houston had to settle for a point after a late equalizer against New England. The Revs struck first with a beautiful goal from Diego Fagundez in just the third minute. But the Dynamo would go on to take leads of 2-1 and 3-2 late. Giles Barnes had the third goal, after one each from Houston newcomers Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger. Deep in stoppage time, Daigo Kobayashi’s header erased the Dynamo’s good work and snatched a draw for the visitors.

Seattle Sounders 0-1 Sporting Kansas City

SKC took all three points against ten-man Seattle. The Sounders started off on the front foot, but couldn’t capitalize on their early chances, notably one that Jordan Morris sent over the bar. The momentum had shifted towards the visitors even before Oneill Fisher was sent off for a two-legged tackle late in the first half. Without Benny Feilhaber, SKC struggled to break down a disciplined Sounders defense. So it was Nuno Alberto Coelho, a center back, who took a chance and ended up scoring on a 25-yard shot. Stefan Frei really should have done better.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Colorado Rapids

Chris Wondolowski’s goal made the difference between San Jose and Colorado. The second half had barely started when Alberto Quintero hit Wondo with a cross that the striker was able to head past Zach MacMath. Colorado actually had significant advantages in shots and possession, but weren’t able to fashion a goal.