MLS Week 2: 10 Things We Learned
There was a full slate of Major League Soccer games this weekend, with a host of teams (including Sporting KC, the Colorado Rapids, the Houston Dynamo, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake) off to perfect starts with six points from two games.
Here are 10 things we learned from this weekend’s action.
C.J. Sapong Is off to a Good Start
After playing well in both of the January friendlies for the US MNT, Sapong has had a hot start to his MLS season as well.
After scoring the stoppage time winner in Sporting KC’s opener, Sapong netted again in their win over New England.
Sporting KC Could Be a Serious Contender This Year
While both of their wins could be considered a bit lucky (their first was in stoppage time, and in their second they played up a man for 74 minutes), Sporting KC looks set to continue their strong run from last year’s playoffs.
With an attacking force of Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong, Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury, Sporting KC has the ability to terrorize opposing defenses and find goals throughout the season.
Montreal Impact Are Up and Running
Sure it was only a point, and their only point in two games, but it was their first point earned as a Major League Soccer franchise and it was done in front of an impressive crowd of 58,000 fans.
Josh Gardner almost stole all three points in stoppage time with a rocketed blast from 35 yards out that smashed against the crossbar.
The Houston Dynamo Are Tough, Yet Again
After a bittersweet 2011 in which the Dynamo reached the MLS Cup, but lost, they look set to pick up right where they left off for 2012.
The Dynamo have six points from two games, their win this weekend earned courtesy of a Brad Davis penalty conversion, earned after the San Jose Earthquakes' goalkeeper ran over Dynamo forward Brian Ching in the 14th minute.
Chris Wondolowski’s Ability to Find Space Is Uncanny
Although most US MNT fans will never forget his terrible miss in this summer’s Gold Cup, Wondolowski has proven he is a quality MLS striker.
In this week’s game against the Dynamo, he created three chances for himself simply through his great movement off the ball.
Unfortunately for Wondolowski and the Earthquakes, he finished exactly zero of these chances.
Real Salt Lake Are Ready to Roll
In their first two games, RSL has beaten two of the best teams of 2011—defeating defending champion LA Galaxy in their opener, 3-1, and this week defeating the New York Red Bulls, 2-0.
Even better for Real, their offense is creating opportunities with ease. Their midfield passing is superb and they consistently find space in behind opposing defenses with nifty one-two combinations and fantastic field vision.
They could have easily won this weekend’s game by more.
The Red Bulls Are in Trouble
With two games and zero points for the Red Bulls, the season is already not going well for a Red Bulls team that experienced too much drama in 2011.
The loss of Tim Ream may be more than the team can handle, as the Red Bulls have already given up four goals in their first two games.
David Estrada Was Brilliant
Scoring all three goals for Seattle in their win against Toronto FC, David Estrada put together a nice combination of goals for his hat trick.
On his first goal, Estrada was unbelievably patient as he danced inside the Toronto box waiting for the right moment to find his shot, on his second he coolly finished a breakaway and on his third, he thundered home a first-time strike to finish off Toronto.
Philadelphia Could Be in Big Trouble
A combination of poor defending and poor goalkeeping currently have the Union at 0-2. What’s worse, they have a 2.5 GAA, the worst in the league among teams who have two games under their belt.
What’s worse than that? They played a man up against the Rapids for the last 33 minutes.
The Galaxy Looked Much Better
After being touted by many as the preseason favorite to win the league, the Galaxy went out and lost their opener, despite the fact that it was played at the Home Depot Center, a virtual fortress for LA.
Then the Galaxy were promptly trounced out the CONCACAF Champions League by Toronto midweek, leaving many to question whether LA would be able to compensate for the offseason loss of Omar Gonzalez to an ACL injury.
However, the Galaxy responded well yesterday, beating DC United in fine fashion, 3-1, on the strength of two Robbie Keane goals.
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