1. D.C. United look legit
A 2-0 win to start the season against Atlanta United will drive DCU hype. Luciano Acosta was fantastic as D.C. looked cohesive and smooth, sitting tight against ATL as Frank De Boer’s side tried to keep the ball. Paul Arriola was a renegade up and down the right flank, combining with debuting right back Leonardo Jara.
Whether this level of success is sustainable remains to be seen — after all, ATL rested Pity Martinez and Julian Gressel until the second half. This start indicates that D.C. could challenge the elite class of the Eastern Conference, especially as Atlanta and the Red Bulls deal with the CONCACAF Champions League.
2. Adama Diomande pokes out ahead of Christian Ramirez in LAFC’s striker battle
Diomande scored the winner for LAFC in a 2-1 win against Sporting KC at home, exciting the LA crowd with a stoppage time rocket. Ramirez started the game up top before Bob Bradley subbed in Diomande in the second half as LA looked to score a big home win. He delivered at the last moment.
It’s a disappointing result for Sporting, who netted the first goal and looked to scrape out at least road point against a fellow conference elite. Peter Vermes started the same lineup that dominated Toluca at altitude on Thursday in CCL, a bold move that nearly paid off. Roger Espinoza’s late second yellow damaged their chances.
3. FC Cincinnati aren’t there yet
FC Cincinnati lost 4-1 in their inaugural match against the Sounders. Their first goal was iconic (see below), but Seattle blitzed them after Leonardo Bertone’s ridiculous volley smash. The Sounders torched FCC’s right side, with Eric Alexander on the wing and Alvas Powell at right back. Alexander is an average-at-best center midfielder, out of place on the wing, and Powell seemed almost apathetic.
4. Darwin Quintero will be in MVP contention
Minnesota somewhat quietly won 3-2 at Vancouver. This was a nice win for the Loons to start the year. Darwin Quintero led the way; he scored once and assisted Minnesota’s two other goals, essentially driving the bus for a team that relies heavily on his attacking production.
It’s a good sign for the Loons that striker Romario Ibarra had a goal and an assist after Adrian Heath gave him the start up top over Designated Player Angelo Rodriguez. Perhaps even more crucial is the consistency of the Jan Gregus-Ozzie Alonso midfield pairing.
5. Keep giving the Rapids home games in March
The Colorado Rapids hosted the Portland Timbers and drew 3-3 in a wacky snow game. True snow soccer games are a rarity, but when they happen it is gorgeous. The goals and the VAR controversies made it that much better.
Watch and enjoy the highlights:
You don’t see that every week!