The good, bad and ugly from first week of MLS
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 21:03
Major League Soccer returned with a bang last weekend with nine matches on both coasts from Philadelphia to Portland.
Throughout the entire weekend we saw the full spectrum of what MLS has to offer. We saw a wonderful, long-range strike from Columbus Crew striker Federico Higuaín against Chivas USA, Mike Magee’s industrious play result in a hat trick for the LA Galaxy and Graham Zusi’s dead ball delivery give all three points to Sporting Kansas City.
In addition to the delightful play, MLS also showed off why skeptics still call it a sub par league. Steward Ceus' goalkeeping blunder gave FC Dallas their lone goal in a 1-0 win, and former Inter Milan, Manchester United and Arsenal center back Mikaël Silvestre struggled in Portland in his first MLS match gifting two goals to New York’s opportunistic Fabián Espíndola.
In the first weekend of MLS we saw what the league has to offer in terms of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good – Portland and New York’s 3-3 draw
ESPN kicked off its MLS coverage in 2013 with a gem of a match up between Portland and New York – played with the backdrop of frenzied atmosphere provided by the Timbers Army. They do everything a little different up in Portland, and instead of having a famous singer from the city’s vibrant music scene sing the national anthem, they opted to have the entire supporters section belt it out. On the field, New York jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead at halftime, but Portland fought back to earn a 3-3 draw predominantly spurned on by the Timbers Army.
The Bad – The Galaxy’s beat down of Chicago at Toyota Park
Heading into the 2013 season, questions were asked of the two-time defending MLS Cup Champions, and if they could three peat without David Beckham and Landon Donovan. And we all know one match doesn’t make a season, but the Galaxy look like they’ll do fine again this year. The bad of this match was brought to you by a disjointed Chicago Fire team. Many new pieces were added to this roster in the off-season and it definitely showed on the pitch. But all is not doom and gloom in Chicago, as they were missing defender Arne Friedrich and midfielder Logan Pause due to injury. A home match against New England next weekend could be just what they need to get their first win.
The Ugly – Chivas USA
Chivas, Chivas, Chivas, where to begin? On the field, Chivas looked confused and about as disjointed as a team could possibly be. They played a bizarre 3-5-2, which could work, except they routinely coughed up possession and never looked like a slick passing side. They only managed two shots on target and lost the possession battle 45 percent to 55 percent. But off the field is really where Chivas go from just a bad team to a maybe-we-should-take-away-the-franchise bad. Chivas managed to sell less than 2,500 tickets for the home opener. That is less than the UConn men’s soccer team averaged during the 2012 season (4,228), and under six percent of what Seattle averaged per home game during the 2012 season.