Winners and Losers from MLS Week 3

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

Winners and Losers from MLS Week 3

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    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    While the third week of play in Major League Soccer did not produce as much excitement as the EPL or El Clasico, it did have some clear-cut winners and losers. 

    A few games on Saturday and Sunday were affected by weather, while some saw designated players shine once again. 

    Other matches saw some terrific individual performances, but there were some brutal outings on the pitch too.

    Continue reading for a complete look at the winners and the losers from Week 3 in MLS. 

Winners: Everyone in Toronto

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    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    If the first two games of the new regime in Toronto are any indicator of success, the Reds will be a flourishing club that will play a very attractive style of soccer. 

    All three designated players, Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe and Gilberto, have lived up to their potential so far and BMO Field saw its biggest crowd in years at the home opener against D.C United. 

    Defoe and Gilberto did not skip a beat upfront as they peppered Bill Hamid in the D.C. goal, but they could only get one goal past the United keeper. 

    Although two games is a very small sample size, it looks like the ownership of the club hit a home run with its offseason moves. 

Loser: Philadelphia's Set-Piece Defending

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    For the second consecutive road game, Philadelphia let in a goal off of a set piece because of some poor mistakes. 

    Against Columbus on Saturday, Sebastien Le Toux let Bernardo Anor fly past him and head home the first Crew goal. 

    To make matters worse, Cristian Maidana missed the clearance of Anor's shot at the far post. 

    This mistake comes two weeks after Brian Carroll's misguided clearance gifted Portland a stoppage-time equalizer at Providence Park. 

Winner: Jose Goncalves

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    A week after being left out of the squad for the match against Philadelphia, Jose Goncalves returned in dominant fashion for the Revolution against Vancouver.

    Whatever issues behind the scenes that were going on between Goncalves and the front office seemed to settle down enough to let the center-back play in the home opener at Gillette Stadium.

    Goncalves' presence was a welcome sight to the New England back four, who earned the first clean sheet of the season in a 0-0 draw with Vancouver. 

Loser: New England's Goal Tally

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    While New England did earn its first point of the season on Saturday, it still didn't find the back of the net. 

    The Revolution are the only team to play 270 minutes of soccer this season without scoring a goal. D.C. hasn't scored a goal in just two games on the pitch. 

    There were some positive signs that life was being brought into the attack, but progress still has to be made for Jay Heaps' side to score in San Jose next week. 

Winner: Snow

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    On the one-year anniversary of the SnowClasico at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the weather once again tried to play a factor in Colorado. 

    The Rapids prepared for the worst, but this time around, the snow was cleared off the pitch, and they were able to net a 2-0 victory.

    Mother Nature did pull off a slight victory in Montreal as she forced the Impact to postpone their match with Seattle by a day because the Olympic Stadium roof is old and cannot handle snow well. 

    The most important weather-related development of the weekend may have been the fact the orange ball was broken out in Colorado for the Rapids' win over Portland. 

Losers: Portland Goalkeepers

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    In a three-minute span during the second half on Saturday, two Portland goalkeepers picked up two bookings and caused two penalties. 

    Donovan Ricketts was sent off in the 71st minute for a senseless tackle on Deshorn Brown, a decision that led to Vicente Sanchez's opening goal from the spot. 

    Ricketts' replacement, Andrew Weber, was able to stay on the pitch, but he did earn a yellow for tripping up Sanchez in the 74th minute.

    Weber saved the initial penalty from Brown, but his rebound bounced to the feet of the Jamaican, and he conceded his first goal of the season. 

    With Ricketts now suspended, Weber will look to avoid the same mistakes when he next steps to the pitch against FC Dallas on Saturday. 

Losers: Teams with Champions League Hangovers

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    It was a rough week down in Mexico for LA, Sporting and San Jose, and that translated into some bad results in Week 3 of league play. 

    LA earned just a draw on the road at Rio Tinto Stadium, while San Jose fired just one shot on target in its 1-0 loss to Sporting. 

    While four points from three teams after a midweek disappointment seems like a moral victory, the quality of play from each of the clubs was not up to par with their usual standards, especially during the game at Sporting Park. 

Winners: Designers of New Jerseys

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Not only are the players on the pitch delivering quality for clubs like Toronto, Seattle and Sporting, but they are doing so in some visually appealing jerseys. 

    All of the new jerseys that have been debuted in the first three weeks have been upgrades from last year's editions, especially since Seattle finally got rid of the super cyan shirts. 

    The terrific jerseys are not limited to those three cities as Portland has worn some beautiful kits, while the alterations made by Real Salt Lake, Columbus and others have been subtle but worthy of praise. 

Loser: Bill Hamid

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    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    If the first two games are a sign of things to come for D.C. United, Hamid will have to work miracles in net to earn his team a few points.

    Hamid did just that on Saturday, though still falling short, as Defoe and Gilberto carved apart the back four of D.C. 

    The United States international was forced into seven saves, one of which ended up in a rebound that Defoe put home for the only goal.

    On that rebound, the D.C. defenders stood around and failed to mark Defoe. 

    It is a shame that a quality keeper like Hamid is on such a terrible team, but now, he knows how Dan Kennedy felt at Chivas USA last season. 

Winner: Oscar Pareja

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Oscar Pareja is quickly becoming one of the best managers in the league.

    After leaving a playoff team in Colorado during the offseason for FC Dallas, Pareja has recorded seven points in three games with his new club. 

    The early leaders in the Supporters' Shield standings have shown off a fluid attack fueled by Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo and Blas Perez as well as a stingy defense led by center-back Matt Hedges. 

    While it is too early to hand Pareja the honor of Coach of the Year, he may earn it if his resurrection of the franchise continues. 

    Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report, you can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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