Editorial- After all the opening weekend hot-takes flowed from the analyst/blogger/podcaster volcano, week two of MLS Play in 2018 allowed for a few of those narratives to be flipped on their heads. Week two brought a lot of goals, great plays, and a lot of fun. Here is what happened:
MLS Week 2 Roundup
New York Red Bulls 4 – Portland Timbers 0
#PlayYourKids came to fruition as RBNY trotted out a largely youthful second choice side for their season opener. With the massive match against Tijuana looming for Tuesday, you had 17 year old Ben Mines scoring goals instead of BWP. BWP got his goal though, and Rivas added a brace as the Red Bulls routed the Timbers. Two games aren’t much of an indicator, but the Timbers have looked bad to start the season. They’re in need of some real leadership on the field, and especially on the backline.
Chicago Fire 3 – Sporting KC 4
In what was easily the wildest match of the weekend Sporting KC looked a whole lot better from their season opener. If it weren’t for a 15 minute stretch where they lost focus, allowing their 2-0 lead to become a 3-2 deficit, they would’ve waltzed through Chicago. The Fire showed a whole lot of fight in getting that lead back, but Sporting KC came back and punched them in the mouth when Chicago thought they might lay down. Felipe Gutierrez’s winner in the 86th minute sent the RoadRon into a frenzy as Sporting KC got their deserved three points. Chicago
Columbus Crew SC 3 – Montreal Impact 2
Columbus Crew are the dark-horse, yet again under Gregg Berhalter. Gyasi Zardes had a brace and Higuain was pulling the strings. It took two absolute wonder goals to make this one close. Columbus is on the up and up, with Montreal still leaving a lot to be desired. They got it close on individual effort, but now in this league, individual effort won’t carry you to the postseason. They need to get Nacho some help. If they don’t, Montreal will continue to come up short.
Atlanta United 3 – D.C. United 1
Atlanta United and their crazy fanbase set another MLS attendance record, with 72 thousand people there to watch a really good team play a pretty bad team. The game went how we all thought it would and Atlanta walked away with three points while scoring some amazing goals, exorcising their D.C. United demons. Shocker? No. On the flip side, is Ben Olsen not being able to get much out of what is a pretty talented roster a shocker? Absolutely not. If the results and play on the field don’t start looking up, Ben Olsen could be conceivably (and deservedly) canned before they even open Audi Field.
NYCFC 2 – LA Galaxy 1
Yeah so NYCFC are still really good. If there is any team that I truly think has the organization on the defensive side, and the firepower in the attack to knock Toronto from its perch, it would be NYCFC at the moment. Jesus Medina is incredibly talented, Maxi Moralez’s pace causes problems, and their defensive organization has looked nice. The Galaxy actually do look like a team that has improved, but just not good enough to beat Man City lite on the night. I don’t think they actually would’ve stood any chance against NYCFC, but they showed well and so far look to be improved. We’ll see how long it lasts though.
Real Salt Lake 1 – Los Angeles FC 5
It spiraled out of control really quickly for Real Salt Lake in their home opener. After earning their 1-0 lead, their backline got out of shape real quick. LAFC pinged the on the counter a few times and their attacking quality showed. Diego Rossi is an early candidate for newcomer of the year, and at the moment, maybe even MVP. He’s the real deal. But don’t sleep on RSL despite this performance. Petke’s been able to get through to this team when things were bad last year, and he can certainly do it again. They still need a true striker though. But, early returns on LAFC are NICE.
Houston Dynamo 1 – Vancouver Whitecaps 2
This was just a case of Houston regressing to the mean in terms of scoring. They dominated the game with pressure, posession, and shots. Their problem was that only 13 of their 21 shots actually got through. Vancouver shut up shop and made it difficult for Houston to get a clear look. They pinged them on the counter twice, including Brek Shea’s “Gareth Bale” esque winner. Shea is a quarter of the player Bale is, but that speed and burst around the outside all the way to the goal was reminiscent of Bale’s stunner in the Copa Del Rey Final a few years back. Vancouver gets another three points, and Kei Kamara joins the 100 goal club as Vancouver gets off to a decent start.
Minnesota United 2 – Orlando City SC 1
In the surprise result of the week, Minnesota United and Adrian Heath went and stole three points from Orlando. With the firepower that Orlando City possess, one would’ve thought that Minnesota was going to be in for it heading into the night. But Ethan Finlay showed up, and Mason Toye’s lovely assist gave Minnesota the points. Should we be worried about Orlando’s slow start? I’d wait until they get all their pieces together to be the judge of that. Also, Minnesota is not as bad as we all might have thought.
New England Revolution 2 – Colorado Rapids 1
The Rapids starting away from home, with one of the first times they’ve played with all their acquisitions, under a new head coach, on turf, was a recipe for disaster. The Revs certainly had to be hoping to get off to a better start. They still look relatively toothless and I’m worried about them in the long term. The Rapids, I’m willing to give it more time with them just because they have a lot of new pieces and it takes time to work it out. They were one deflection and about three years off of Tim Howard’s decision making process speed away from a road point. Three points barely deserved for the Revs, but Friedel doesn’t care as he gets his first win as an MLS Head Coach.