Haters are gonna hate, that’s what league’s top sponsor is saying but outside of a some friendly banter (more of that below), there really is not much to dislike about this weekend. The strike has been averted and Major League Soccer’s 20th season is now underway.
Storylines, news and notes from Week One after the jump! 1. Orlando City, NYCFC split the points as Kaka would not be denied.
Mar 8, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando City FC midfielder Kaka (10) controls the ball around New York City FC defender Josh Williams (13) during the second half at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium. Orlando City FC and New York City FC tied 1-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Wasn’t Florida supposed to be where soccer went to die? Maybe the old real estate adage is true, it is about “location, location, location. David Beckham would certainly agree.
After watching Orlando City’s home-opener, rumors of the sport’s Floridian demise are highly exaggerated or flat out wrong. More than 68,000 crammed into the Citrus Bowl–good enough for the second largest crowd in league history–as fans watch Kaka equalize in the second half stoppage time with a forceful free kick.
Mix Diskerud scored first for NYCFC but it was a rough day in general for David Villa. A lack of service vexed the Spaniard who had high hopes for his first game with the new club.
It was perhaps Brek Shea (remember him?) who had the moment of the match when he flummoxed a hapless defender to the ground in midstride at full speed. Apologies to NYCFC’s Josh Williams, it was pretty awesome.
But it was Kaka who stole the show. The last Ballon D’or winner not named Ronaldo or Messi shined and finally broke through late in the game. The man did it all including giving a heck of a pregame speech. It wasn’t William Wallace, but give the man credit.
2. Sickly in Seattle
Seattle beat New England 3-0 in a Superbowl rematch. Except that it’s not the Superbowl and it’s not these two teams that met in the MLS Final.
What I’m trying to say is: let the healing begin.
Seattle didn’t change much over the offseason and nor did they need to. When your team can pass the ball this fluidly, you’re inviting disaster when you begin mindlessly tinkering.
Pretty dominant win for Seattle over a very good New England team.
3. Jozy and Toronto go viral
Speaking of healing, Jozy Altidore and TFC had 2014’s that started with high hopes before ending in a very unsatisfactory manner. Despite all of his success in Holland, Jozy never really developed at Sunderland. Then, of course, came the World Cup injury. Toronto started off well last year, pasting Seattle, behind a Jermain Defoe brace.
Jozy Alitdore and the Vancouver faithful had slightly different reactions from their weekend matchup.
The above photograph made the rounds this week and both parties, Altidore and the fan were both amused with both the photograph itself and the chain reaction of social media. ““I am completely surprised at the reaction it is getting and, thankfully, most of it is positive,” Kirsty Olychick told the Toronto Sun. “I heard [Altidore] was amused by the picture and really that is all that matters. If I had a chance to talk to him, I would make sure he wasn’t offended as it was nothing malicious.”
“It is all in good banter.”
Indeed it was. And with Jozy scoring goals–and more importantly–wanting (even being delighted) to be a part of the team, I think TFC and it’s fans will take as many birds as possible.
The game (Toronto came from a goal down to win 3-1) set a record for the TSN’s largest MLS tv audience ever.
4. LA Story
Robbie Keane’s goal was great but his reaction–apparently uncorking a spew of f-bombs–made it special. The Galaxy did what they always do. Get a goal and protect it. The Galaxy haven’t lost at home for over a year now and that trend shows no signs of stopping. Chicago meanwhile continues to rebuild.
Crazy fact: Three teams finished their matches this weekend down a man.
Chivas USA is not rebuilding. Only four players from last year’s squad played in this weekend’s matches and only two players (Nigel Reo-Coker and Donny Toia, both of Montreal) played the full 90. Mauro Rosales was subbed off while Bobby Burling earned a red card. Four players from last year’s Chivas team made their team’s starting 18.
One time Sporting wiz, Kei Kamara returns to MLS to spearhead the Columbus Crew attack.
5. Columbus struggles out of the gate
Columbus is many a pundits darling for the 2015 season. The team has a young core, a great goalkeeper, an innovative coach and addressed what was really their only glaring weakness last year (forward production) by picking up Kei Kamara.
Though the team last 1-0, Kamara had six shots.
What are your favorite parts of the past opening weekend? What did I miss? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!