MLS Week 1: Debut glory, champions deposed and lawsuits announced

The new Major League Soccer (MLS) season dawned and immediately entered the dramatic. Its champions lost to a team that’s doing a commendable job of alienating their own fans, and even faces a lawsuit from their home state. The newest Los Angeles team upset Western heavyweights Seattle and last season’s surprise hit were hammered by Houston, conceding three in the first 30 minutes.

The Columbus Crew brought the highflying – and record setting – Toronto FC back to earth on the first weekend of MLS play, inflicting a 2-0 defeat to the 2017 champions. Down 1-0 at halftime, Toronto FC could have felt disappointed that they trailed at the deficit despite an evenly paced match. However, Gyasi Zardes put the game to bed pushing a first-time hit past TFC’s keeper. TFC have now lost as many home games as they did the entirety of last season.

As for Columbus, the opening win gives the club some breathing space as it faces a lawsuit from the state of Ohio and city of Columbus and an ongoing mutiny from supporters groups over its ownership decision to move the club to Austin, Texas. Why would you move a team from an area that has supported you and has given you government funding? Because you want a free stadium.

South of the 49th parallel, Los Angeles FC made their debut against Seattle Sounders in the Pacific Northwest. LAFC filled the spot of Chivas USA – a Los Angeles-area club that dissolved back in 2015 – and claim to be looking to achieve success through a grassroots approach, using their academy. By and large, they possess a youthful team buttressed by MLS veterans such as fullback Jordan Harvey and midfielder Benny Feilhaber.

LAFC scored the gamewinner in the 11th minute with Uruguyan prospect Diego Rossi curling home an attempt, after a beautifully weighted sliced pass from ex-Arsenal forward Carlos Vela. The loss was compounded for the Sounders as Tony Alfaro saw his marching orders after bringing down Vela.

The Californian club will be hoping manager Bob Bradley shows some of the talent that made him a success with the U.S. National team and not showcase his skillset from his time in South Wales.

Sweetly struck

  • Starlet – and the bright, shining hope for the Canadian men’s national team – Alphonso Davies scored his first ever MLS goal as the Vancouver Whitecaps edged the Montreal Impact 2-1. He’s the 10th youngest goalscorer in league history and too young to be included in the team’s online Man of the Match honours due to the alcohol-themed sponsor.

  • LAFC winning their inaugural MLS game and getting a goal from Uruguayan prospect Diego Rossi
  • Columbus Crew upsetting league winners Toronto FC
  • Houston Dynamo scoring four goals in the first half – three in the first 30 minutes – on their way to an opening day win
  • Jesus Medina. New York City FC’s newest South American import — assisted the first goal and scored the insurance goal in a 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. Not bad for a guy who looked to bobble his attempt to control the ball before scoring

Wayward attempts:

  • Remi Garde. After a disastrous time managing Aston Villa, Garde made his return to club football with Montreal. However, his debut was upended by Canadian rivals and he was sent back to La belle province with a loss on his record.
  • Columbus Crew. Even after winning against last season’s champions, the club’s ownership and league face a lawsuit from an embittered state and city. Excellent tonic to an encouraging win.
  • Real Salt Lake and Marcelo Silva. Silva finished off a tidy goal helping Dallas tie the game up against Real Salt Lake. Only problem? Silva is a centreback for RSL. On a simple ball across the face of the goal, Silva did what every centreback since time immemorial has aimed to do and looked to get it away. Cue the rustling of the net as he smashed it across the line and into the roof of the goal

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