Last month saw the return of the MLS. With new champions, a new team, and a season full of storylines set to unfold.
Major League Soccer kicked off its 28th season during the final week of February, and has already produced some thrilling matchups.
DC United 3-2 Toronto FC
Lorenzo Insigne and Toronto FC traveled to Wayne Rooney’s DC United on matchday one. New signing Mateusz Klich from Leeds United found the back of the net just 13 minutes into his debut.
Toronto scored two goals in the 66th and 83rd minute, before Christian Benteke equalized in the 90th minute. Eight minutes later in injury time, 21-year-old Theodore Ku-DiPietro scored his first MLS goal to win the game for DC.
Austin FC 2-3 St. Louis City
Austin FC kicked off their second season as a club hosting St. Louis City in their first ever MLS game. After forming in 2019, St. Louis finally entered the league as the 29th MLS franchise. St. Louis scored their first goal in the 24th minute through center back Tim Parker.
By the 72nd minute Austin took the lead, and it would be an uphill battle for St. Louis to get their first win. Jared Stroud leveled the game in the 78th minute however, letting in hope. Brazilian striker Joao Klauss struck the ball with the outside of his foot in the 86th minute, winning St. Louis their first ever MLS game.
LAFC 3-2 Portland Timbers
Extreme weather conditions in California meant that the return of the MLS would have to wait an extra week for LAFC. This meant the reigning champs opened their campaign against Portland.
After an opening ceremony, including a trophy presentation with the now-retired Gareth Bale, LAFC took an early lead. In the 24th minute, veteran Giorgio Chiellini scored his first goal since arriving in Hollywood last summer. Captain Carlos Vela converted from the penalty spot before halftime, and then assist Kwadwo Opoku for his first goal of the season.
Portland got two back before the end of the game, but ended up falling short by full time. The second half also saw the introduction of Aaron Long for his LAFC debut, having recently joined in the offseason from the NY Red Bulls
Inter Miami 2-0 Philadelphia
Matchday two would also bear witness to Inter Miami’s second win of the season: a convincing victory at home to last years MLS Cup runners up, the Philadelphia Union. Philadelphia had won their first game comfortably 4-1 over Columbus, and had a Champions League game to prepare for.
Correntin Jean opened the scoring for Miami about thirty minutes into the game, but Philadelhpia would continue to pressure. In the 77th minute, Jean was subbed off for Finland International Robert Taylor.
Just one minute later he played a quick ball back and forth with Mota, and volley the ball into the far corner from just outside the box. This goal sealed the result for Miami, and ensured another three points.
The return of the MLS leaves fans with a lot to take in as the season gets underway.
LAFC still looks like the team to beat right now. Despite losing Gareth Bale, Cristian Arango, and Latif Blessing, the ‘Black and Gold’ still could be the league’s best. Vela picked up right where he left off, and signings like Aaron Long and Timothy Tillmann are sure to bolster the squad.
David Beckham’s Inter Miami underwhelmed and underperformed in their opening two seasons. This season they have already beaten one of the league’s top teams, and it looks like head coach Phil Neville has finally worked his squad out.
The LA Galaxy ended last season strong, and a few weeks ago seemed one of the teams to beat. This would change with a opening day loss to FC Dallas. A not so convincing draw against Kansas City would follow. It looks like it might be another tough year for the five-time champions, but with Riqui Puig and Chicharito fired up they will surely fight to the final day.
Atlanta United emerge again as another team to watch, with two wins and a draw through the first three matches. The offseason saw them lose their main goalscorer Josef Martinez, as well as midfielder Marcelino Moreno
Despite these losses they were able to mount a comeback in the opening day against San Jose led by Thiago Almada. The 2018 MLS champions started the season with a bang and don’t look to be backing down anytime soon
The return of the MLS has already produced some brilliant moments, so if the opening weeks are anything to go off of we are in for another year of action packed US soccer.
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