MLS 2013: 10 Things We Learned from the Opening Weekend
Major League Soccer kicked off its 2013 campaign this weekend with a full slate of games over Saturday and Sunday.
As is typical for an opening weekend in any league, there were some surprising results as well as results that almost everyone saw coming.
Here are 10 things we learned from MLS’s opening weekend.
Chivas USA Has Become an Embarrassment to the League
This offseason, Chivas USA began widespread roster moves, offloading many of its non-Latino players while all of its signings were Latino.
Chivas defended the policy saying that the club was trying to return to its roots and a Mexican style of play. Chivas USA manager José Luis Sanchéz Soláeven, "Chelis," went so far as to accuse the media of being racist for implying that the team had taken on a Latino-only policy.
However, the folly of Chivas’ ways was fully exposed this weekend as they were both roundly defeated at home, losing to the Columbus Crew 3-0, and it became apparent how much they have alienated their fanbase.
The home crowd was officially announced as 7,000 fans. That number on its own is bad enough to be an all-time low for an MLS home opener, but even worse was the fact that it was obvious from the television cameras that that number was highly inflated.
If Chivas continues down this path, the league may need to seriously think about stepping in.
Take a Bow, Mike Magee
Mike Magee, who has put together some impressive playoff runs over the past two seasons, opened his season with a hat-trick in the L.A. Galaxy’s 4-0 destruction of the Chicago Fire.
Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that Magee did it without playmakers Landon Donovan or David Beckham.
Houston and Sporting KC Are Still the Teams to Beat in the East
With a solid 2-0 win over DC United, the Houston Dynamo stamped their name firmly on the list of contenders once again showing no sign of letting up from the form that led the squad to the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup.
Sporting KC also showed the desire of a championship team, coming back from an early 1-0 deficit on the road to defeat the Philadelphia Union 3-1.
The Vancouver Whitecaps Could Be in Big Trouble Without Jay Demerit
The Vancouver Whitecaps spoiled Ryan Nelson’s debut as manager of Toronto FC by beating Toronto 1-0, but it may all be for naught as Vancouver’s Jay Demerit was forced to leave the match in the seventh minute after sustaining a non-contact injury.
Demerit is the heart and captain of the Whitecaps and a long-term injury to Demerit could spell disaster for the Whitecaps' season.
Early Candidate for Howler of the Year: Steward Ceus
It was not a night to remember for Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Steward Ceus.
Replacing an injured Matt Pickens in the Rapids’ net, Ceus’ error in the 11th minute was all FC Dallas needed to win the match 1-0.
On the play, Ceus tried coming out to stop a ball over the top of the Rapids defense, but found himself out of his box on a bouncing ball that went over his head. Dallas forward Jackson followed the play up for the easy finish.
Goal of the Week: Davy Arnaud
Davy Arnaud scored the game-winner for the Montreal Impact as Montreal stole a 1-0 victory on the road against the Seattle Sounders.
Arnaud’s goal came on a beautifully chipped effort over Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
The Larentowicz/Lindpere Midfield Combination Did Not Get off to a Good Start
This offseason, the Chicago Fire signed two of the best midfielders in Major League Soccer in Jeff Larentowicz and Joel Lindpere. And, because Larentowicz is primarily a defensive midfielder and Lindpere is primarily an attacking midfielder, the pair seemed perfect for one another and the Chicago Fire.
However, the Fire’s 4-0 beat down at the hands of the LA Galaxy revealed that the midfield combination, and the Chicago Fire, still have a lot of work to do.
LA Is Still the Team to Beat in the West
Many observers thought the LA Galaxy were primed for a slow start to the 2013 campaign coming off back-to-back championships, the loss of David Beckham and the sabbatical of Landon Donovan.
However, the Galaxy proved they are ready to play and still the team to beat even without Beckham and Donovan as they thrashed the Chicago Fire 4-0 on opening day.
The Caleb Porter Era Opened with a Bang
The Portland Timbers hosted the New York Red Bulls on Sunday and the game produced more than its share of fireworks with the final score being knotted at three goals apiece.
Despite going into the half down 3-1, the Timbers rallied back, finding two goals in the second half to complete the comeback.
Graham Zusi Had a Nice Weekend
After some fairly anonymous performances with the USMNT over the past few weeks, many American soccer fans have begun to doubt the true quality of Graham Zusi.
Zusi seemed determined to put any of those doubts to rest on Saturday as he was a key factor in all three of Sporting KC’s goals, picking up one goal himself and assisting on the other two.
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