MLS First Kick ’11 is as Good as Advertised

Flying V

Photo by Mafue

MLS could not have asked for a better opening weekend of soccer than this weekend.  After a somewhat pedestrian first match between the Galaxy and Sounders, there were a ton of story lines to follow in this weekend’s games.  While it may be a lot to ask for every weekend to be this exciting (although we can hope) there is no doubt that this season is looking like a great one.

Just like Don Garber planned it.

Vancouver 4, Toronto 2

What a tale of two cities.  Expansion Vancouver certainly kicked off their first first-division season in style.  The fans were decked out in white as part of the “White Out”, celebrity fan Steve Nash sat among the masses and led the cheering, and the action on the pitch could not have been better for the home team.  Eric Hassli started the scoring in the 15th minute and, after Dwayne De Rosario equalized, it was all Whitecaps.  The Toronto defense was exposed and the Reds looked pretty bad; it may be worst case scenario for them at least in the near future.

For more weekend reviews…..

Colorado 3, Portland 1

I was intrigued by this match because I wanted to see how Colorado looked in their first match that counted after their MLS Cup win, as well as see how our other newest club looked.  Kenny Cooper contributed a goal (and points for my MLS fantasy team) but otherwise it was all Colorado.  The Cummings/Casey duo again looked dangerous in front of the goal, a must for the Rapids, and it was last year’s key pickup Jeff Larentowicz who got the scoring started for Colorado.  A tough first match for Portland, but their next three matches are very winnable: at Toronto, at New England, versus Chicago.

Dallas 1, Chicago 1

If you stepped away to the fridge for a beer, you missed the scoring in this one.  Milton Rodriguez for Dallas and Diego Chaves for Chicago scored within two minutes of each other, and defense carried the game.  Hats off to Dallas for selling out their stadium, after receiving so much criticism for their poor draws last year.  Let’s hope that they are building a tradition of being a tough ticket to get.  Kevin Hartman picked up where he left off last season, facing 12 shots (5 on goal) and conceding one goal.

D.C. United 3, Columbus 1

I did a story for the site on this match, but I want to make a few follow-up points.  Can any Crew fan fill me in on Robbie Rogers absence for most of the match?  He had a discernible and positive impact when he was subbed on in the 65th minute, and he may have made a difference playing the full 90.  Charlie Davies is getting the attention from this one, but the DC backline (which was horrendous last year) played very well in this match.  But with Perry Kitchen called up to the U-20s and Jed Zayner picking up an injury, their depth may be tested (find more information here).

New York 1, Seattle 0

Daniel did an excellent job covering this match for MLS Talk, so I will refer you to his analysis.  But allow me to continue heaping praise on Juan Agudelo.  The guy will be something special if he is allowed to grow properly both in a playing sense and media sense.  I also hope the European clubs dismiss him as an overrated American so he plays in MLS for a while longer.  I’d like to hear from Sounders’ fans – what can your team do to generate some goals?  Goalless now in two matches.

Real Salt Lake 1, San Jose 0

RSL is a very efficient team.  They manage only two shots on goal and that’s all they need for Kyle Beckerman to find the winner.  It was a good win in bad weather and there was nothing in this match that doesn’t make you think RSL may be the best team already.  For San Jose, they are in a tough spot like we expected.  They need to win home games against the favorites in the West to be considered playoff contenders; this match will do nothing to make anyone think that they are one of the better Western Conference teams.

Sporting KC 3, Chivas 2

Newcomers shined for Kansas City in this quality away win.  James Madison University rookie C.J. Sapong scored the first goal in the second minute and newcomer Omar Bravo added two more in this match.  Both teams should be very concerned about their defense, however.  Sporting KC allowed two goals on only four shots on goal, while Chivas obviously had some defensive lapses.  Does this match assert the Eastern Conference’s dominance over the Western Conference?  Probably not, but it is a good win for a potential playoff contender.

Philadelphia 1, Houston 0

Another match where if you turned your head you missed the goal, as Danny Califf scores off a long throw-in.  Kudos to Houston for another good crowd of almost 20,000 to begin the season, but a disappointing offensive output.  They needed some points from this match, as their next two (at Sounders, at Red Bulls) could see them trailing early in the season, never a good place to be.  The Union also needed this one, as five of their next six matches are against 2010 playoff teams and the sixth is against Vancouver.

Los Angeles 1, New England 1

Paging Mr. Angel, please pick up the white courtesy phone.  The Galaxy need him healthy or need other players in their midfield to step up if they want to create more scoring chances.  Again it was Juninho who salvaged the point for LA, and the good news for their supporters is that they have taken the early lead in the Supporters Shield race.  It is good that New England salvaged a point from this match, but they showed some concerning tendencies in the match.  Joseph’s third minute goal was their only shot on goal.  Their home opener is DC United, so that will be a good test of where they stand.

20 Responses to MLS First Kick ’11 is as Good as Advertised

  1. chico says:

    can someone please help me here. i tried ordering direct kick on directv website but it says “Please check back again later to order online”. I really want to order it but directv is somehow not letting me.

  2. Ivan says:

    Direct TV had all the games live on Saturday night in glorious HD. I was a Direct Kick subscriber last year, but, who knows, maybe we have all the games for free this year…

  3. SSReporters says:

    I wouldn’t mind if Ty Harden never played for Toronto FC again. Ever.

    That’s the worst defensive performance I’ve ever seen from them, and that includes 5-0 against New York two years ago.

  4. Charles says:

    Sounder’s fan here.

    The Sounders have had this problem for 2+ years now. Starting to get old. Actually it is way past that stage.
    I was watching the Colorado highlights and I realized…..Sometimes you just need to want it as bad as Casey does. All the talent in the world can be replaced by someone that wants it more than the talented guy.

    Tooting my own horn and staying the course:
    DCs D is going to carry them to be a good Eastern team. See LA and NY for examples of drafting defensive stud and then winning.
    LA is old in many places and it will affect them winning.
    Vancouver will be better than Portland because D is what matters most in soccer and they built from the back.
    Toronto might be the worst team in soccer ( I only care about NAmerica )

  5. Charles says:

    oh yeah, Great recap.

  6. Lysander says:

    As stupid as it sounds, I think all the sounders need to do is put the ball in the back of the net. They are doing a decent job on defense, they are transitioning the ball up good, getting good play development and fast breaks and getting the ball to guys in front of the goal, and then inexplainably missing the goal. There are twweaks to the line up I would make and there will be tweaks made as injured players come back to health, but even with the lineups we have seen I think we are doing okay but just had some bad luck.

  7. dan says:

    LA was screwed over this weekend. There was NO contact on the first goal, no one here can deny that. 2nd goal was off i agree, 3rd was class from juninho and 4th Angel was very VERY close on the line.

  8. dan says:

    btw, any news on attendance and ratings figures? attendance seemed to be high pretty much everywhere. NY has to fill their stadium tho

  9. Adam says:

    First kick was great. Heck of a game between the Canadians.
    We want a team in Detroit please help by signing this online petition

  10. Alan says:

    Pretty good assessment. I will agree to disagree with you on San Jose. They did very well, and against a lesser team (pretty much the whole league) with a lesser keeper, they would have put 2 or 3 in the back of the net easily. I was happy with their performance, and I thought it was a great game given the horrible conditions that both teams had to play in.

    New York looks good in the Eastern Conference. Sporting KC and DC United should be right on their trails though. Philadelphia, Columbus, and Houston didn’t show me much. Toronto has to be the worst team. I can’t believe that they even scored. RSL is the team to beat in the league, followed in my opinion by Colorado. This puts to rest all the naysayers that hate on the MLS Cup considering these are the two most recent winners. I wish that I got to see LA/NE but I did not. Chivas and Seattle look so-so so far. Portland still has a ways to go, while Vancouver might surprise people. FC Dallas and San Jose will be top contenders in the Western Conference, I don’t care what anyone says.

  11. Alistair says:

    this was one of the best season openers in MLS history.

  12. Charles says:

    “Take me out to the Ballgame” went somewhere else, but attendance was over 21,000 for the first week. That is a huge number. Sure Seattle was in that, but over 1/2 of the teams were over 20k.

    “Take Me Out” probably got sick of competing with the Pro/Rel arguements of the Non-MLS watchers on articles like :

    Why Someone You Dont Care a Lick About Thinks MLS is Strange.
    Gaffer’s favorite:
    I Am Not Saying Anything By This, But MLS TV Ratings Suck.

    Next up on this site:
    IF MLS is NOT Your Favorite League, Please Post Here on How to Fix it.

  13. ExtraMedium says:

    “Just like Don Garber planned it.”
    Too easy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *