MLS Week 1 Review: Charlie Davies' Spectacular Comeback Highlights Eventful Week
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Major League Soccer kicked off it's 16th season in Seattle Tuesday night and it's opening weekend delivered a plethora of action, goals and story lines.
No story line however, came as big or as heartwarming as the one from RFK Stadium in the Nations Capital.
Charlie Davies' Dream Comeback for DC United
Seventeen months ago, as Charlie Davies lay in a hospital bed following an awful car crash in Northern Virginia, speculation was not when Davies may make his soccer comeback, but whether he would be able to recover from the horrific injuries at all.
During the long road to recovery, Davies joined DC United on a season-long loan from his club Sochaux. He began his debut for his new team on the bench of their season opener against Columbus Crew.
It was the first competitive game Davies had been part of since that fateful day in October 2009, and it could not have gone much better.
DC were already enjoying a good start to the game when fellow newcomer Josh Wolff opened the scoring.
Chris Pontius was felled in the box in the second half, resulting in a DC penalty. The ball was placed on the spot by Charlie Davies, who had only been on the field 10 minutes, and was calmly stroked to the keepers left to give him a comeback goal.
Davies wasn't finished either. A slip by Chad Marshall allowed Charlie a one-on-one chance against Crew 'keeper William Hesmer. Marshall rounded Hesmer before slotting into the bottom left corner for his second goal and a dream comeback into first team football.
Crew's consolation goal came via a Robbie Rogers penalty kick in the 79th minute.
New Beginnings for Two MLS Franchises
MLS has introduced a new team to the league every year since 2005. For this season, it introduced two: Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers.
Vancouver's MLS debut against Toronto marked the first ever Canadian derby game in the League (which will grow next year with the introduction of Montreal).
Many have predicted a basement finish for Toronto this season. They opened true to expectations, getting soundly defeated by the Whitecaps at Vancouver's temporary home of Empire Field.
Vancouver's new Designated Player, Eric Hassli, earned the honor of scoring the franchise's first MLS goal before doubling his tally later in the game. His second goal simply padded the scoreline for the British Columbia side, who were already leading 3-1 thanks to additional goals by Dunfield and Harris either side of halftime.
Toronto's goals came courtesy of Dwayne De Rosario and Maicon Santos.
Portland's expansion debut however, was not quite as memorable.
Colorado jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after just 30 minutes, holding out for a 3-1 win.
Kenny Cooper entered the history books as the first Timbers player to tally an MLS goal with his deflected free kick with 10 minutes to play. For Cooper it also marked his first goal in MLS since June of 2009 after two injury hit seasons in Germany with 1860 Munich.
Jeff Larentowicz, Omar Cummings and long range Jamie Smith strike got the goals for the Rapids.
Difference in Fortunes for LA and Seattle as They Play in League Opener
After week one, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders are the only two teams to have played multiple games, and both sit at opposite ends of the standings.
The league showcased the season's opening game in front of nearly 37,000 fans at Quest Field in Seattle. However the majority of those 36,443 left the game disappointed over a 1-0 defeat to their Western Conference rivals thanks to a 58th minute goal by Juninho.
Seattle had the chance to make up for this defeat just four days later as they were hosted by the New York Red Bulls and 21,000 fans at Red Bull Arena.
Unfortunately for the Sounders, they were at the wrong end of the same scoreline with the only goal of the game coming from New York's 18-year-old prodigy Juan Agudelo, who scored his first ever goal in MLS.
The Red Bulls might have opened the scoring earlier in the game, but new captain Thierry Henry saw his penalty kick saved by veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller in the eighth minute.
More worrying for the Red Bulls is that Henry announced afterward that he suffered a hamstring pull during the game. This put into question the Frenchman's availability for next week's game against Columbus, a game in which New York may already be missing up to six players due to international duty.
LA enjoyed an extra day's rest after the opening game, but could not overcome the New England Revolution at the Home Depot Center, drawing the game 1-1.
Juninho was again the LA hero, scoring his second goal in two games to cancel out Shalrie Joseph's opening goal.
LA currently leads all teams in MLS with four points, tallied by virtue of playing the extra game.
The Rest of the Week One Round Up
Chivas USA 2 - 3 Sporting Kansas City
The team formally known as the Kansas City Wizards opened up their first season under their new name of Sporting Kansas City on the road, something they will be doing for their first 10 games of the season until new stadium, Livestrong Sporting Park, is opened in June.
Omar Bravo notched up two goals for KC on the night which proved to be the difference between the two teams.
Rookie C.J. Sapong had opened the scoring in just the second minute, before Bravo's two goals, either side of a Jimmy Conrad header, gave Sporting a 3-1 league.
Ben Zemanski's late goal for Chivas set up an nervous finish for Kansas, who ultimately held out for the 3-2 victory.
Houston Dynamo 0 - 1 Philadelphia Union
New boys Philadelphia enjoyed a winning start to their second season in the league, with an surprising win away at Houston.
Two of the Union's stand out players in 2010 were involved in the only goal of the game as defender Danny Califf turned in a rebound from a Sebastien Le Toux shot in just the fifth minute.
FC Dallas 1 - 1 Chicago Fire
The Brimstone Cup rivals made an explosive start to the game with the ball hitting the back of the net three times on the opening 18 minutes.
Zach Loyd's 10th minute goal for Dallas was disallowed, but Diego Chaves's 17th minute strike did count as the Uruguayan reacted to a rebound in the six yard box to score his first goal for the Fire.
Chicago's lead lasted all but a minute as Dallas responded with a goal of their own, a sublime back heeled flick by Milton Rodriguez from a cross by Loyd on the left hand side.
Dallas held on for the draw despite losing defender Brek Shea to a red card in the 55th minute. Shea earned a straight red card after being adjudged to have illegally upended Gaston Puerari as the last defender.
San Jose Earthquakes 0 - 1 Real Salt Lake
As one of the favorites for the championship heading into the season, Salt Lake opened up their campaign the same way they did last year, by taking 3 points from San Jose.
This year's opening game was far from being as convincing as last year's 3-0 effort. Salt Lake had to withstand a barrage of Earthquakes attacks, particularly in the final 20 minutes, just to hold onto the win. In the end, San Jose managed eight shots on goal to Salt Lakes two.
However, the statistic that always matters the most is the goals scored. Kyle Beckerman's 63rd minute goal separated the two sides in a windy and wet day in Northern California.
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