Around MLS: Week 1

Portland celebrating the only way it knows how: In the rain.

Around MLS will be a weekly feature covering some of the matches and drama around Major League Soccer. Not every single match will be covered, but those that I found of interest will have a few bullet points about them.

Goats Struggle in Opening Match

Starting off in LA, the Goats got their season started off with a nut-punching last-gasp loss to the Dynamo, a team we can all agree is better off playing somewhere far away. Maybe Malta. Their loss was troubling in more ways than one, especially considering the bleak pre-season they had. Juan Pablo Angel just might be losing his touch, though perhaps it was simply awful luck that got in the way of his scoring about 3 separate goals. The midfield control was weak, though the Goats did put up a fight and their effort can’t be faulted.

Hamid Looking Good

Bill Hamid, the likely Olympic Team keeper, looked damn good in DC United's season opener versus Sporting KC. If not for this massive man's play the score could have looked ugly. One particular kick-save he made can only be described as "virile" and "invigorating". If Hamid continues playing this way he could be the Stefan Frei of DC United: Stealing points out of games they had no business getting points out of.

The Peacock Era Begins

NBC Sports began a new era in soccer coverage on Sunday at FC Dallas stadium that lived up to the hype. While there were a few miscues and transmission was spotty at times, the presentation excelled. The network built an elaborate graphics package that looked elegant and well thought-out, giving MLS the luster usually associated with the network’s coverage of sports, including football and hockey. They had up close camera angles, a goal breakdown that included numbers on screen to explain the steps (SEE THAT FOX??) and Arlo White and Kyle Martino did a great job I think, especially considering how awful Fox Soccer’s coverage was last year.

I for one look forward to more of White’s coverage, especially next week at Philly. The Sons of Ben put up a good show.

Vancouver Wins Opener

The Whitecaps’ defense looked shaky I thought, being cut and diced a couple of times by Montreal’s disjointed attack, but their forward corps looked like they were living up to their billing. Sebastien Le Toux’s goal against Donovan Ricketts couldn’t really have been stopped once he got free. Camilo scored a second whopper of a goal, turning himself into a ginsu knife and shredding the Impact’s defense and slotting a shot past Ricketts.

Le Toux Breaks a Record

Sebastien Le Toux broke an MLS record on Saturday for fastest goal to open the season. Not only is he a classy guy who knows how to score, but he was willing to stay with the Union for cheap. Then they went and dumped him. He’s a perennial expansion-child. Philly could barely score WITH him last season and he’s led them in offense for two years running. Do you think Nowak might regret that decision later? His team's offense did not particularly impress in Portland, though that was only one game. Focusing on building your youth sounds good, but a bird in hand...

Portland Crowd Impresses

The story of the week will likely be RSL vs LA, but the next big thing will be the show that the Timbers Army put up at Jeld-Wen Field. While the first half was a soporific snooze-fest, the crowd did much to distract from that. Their rendition of the national anthem was impressive, and they had a nice tifo up on display as well. Portland won the game to reward their loyal fans but two of the goals were baby-bottom soft, one an own goal and another a terrible gaffe of save by Zac McMath. Young McMath seemed to have trouble handling the ball all night, though some of that can be chalked up to the rain that never stopped pouring. Kris Boyd's header was a pretty sight though, and he'll hope to do the same thing to Dallas this weekend.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good

  • FC Dallas won! This always makes the week better.
  • Blas!
  • NBC's coverage and ESPN's mildly improved package.
  • Le Toux sticks it to Peter Nowak. Goal!
  • Kenny Cooper scores at home but doesn't rub it in.
  • Portland helps MLS look real good to casual observers...
The Bad
  • ... so long as no one notices the quality of the match played last night.
  • Dan Kennedy's back four: Really Chivas? Really??
  • Thierry Henry's interview skills.
  • Juan Agudelo's hair.
The Ugly
  • The Eastern Conference's week 1 results. Yikes!
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