It is only Week 2. It is only Week 2. That may be the statement several teams are echoing this morning. Heck, I’d imagine most of the league is saying that at the moment.
As odd as it may seem, Week 2 may be one of the strangest weeks in MLS that we’ve seen in some time. All three Canadian teams won in the same weekend, has that ever happened before? Chivas showed they can win a game. New York proved they have a ways to go. And teams we thought were decent might just not be that good after all.
But it is early in the season here. We can’t ignore that just yet.
Canadians Doing Work
Looking at the three wins by the three Canadian MLS sides, I don’t know which result was more impressive. Montreal showed well against Portland and won their second straight game on the road in the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver won their second straight home game with a 2-1 win over Columbus. And then there is Toronto FC, they downed Sporting KC of all teams at home 2-1.
Robert Earnshaw scored three minutes in and doubled that lead from the penalty spot in the 21st to lift Toronto FC. The two goals scored by Earnshaw were more than anyone else scored this week, don’t be shocked if he gets some Player of the Week votes from lots of folks.
One thing I was very impressed with in the Vancouver game wasn’t just Diego Kobayashi’s long range bomb, but the play of striker Kenny Miller. The Designated Player actually looked like one in the 2-1 win over Columbus. His game-winner was also very nice, he showed some heart, hustle and actually looked good wearing the captain’s armband. Maybe Miller has figured this MLS thing out by now. Or maybe, just maybe, he needed the full preseason to get ready with this club. Whatever it may be, I was very pleased to see him show up.
Yes, Montreal and Vancouver are the only 2-0-0 teams in MLS at the moment. Both still have a ways to go but early returns are very, very positive. Toronto also didn’t look half bad this weekend and got three points out of it.
Is the world going mad with the Canadian sides running a muck in MLS? No, it is still early. Now if this continues for another month and a half out of these three, things may different.
Chivas, Chelis, and Agudelo
There may have been no wilder ride this weekend than that of Chivas USA’s surprise (but not shocking) 3-1 win over FC Dallas. The North Texas side looked like they were well on their way to victory once David Ferreira slammed home the game’s first goal but after that moment, Chivas took over.
Juan Agudelo scored a goal that made you realize that he still has it. Oswaldo Minda also slotted one home late to give Chivas the win. But no one really wants to talk about that. Everyone cares more about what manager Jose Luis Sanchez Sola had to say about the club’s first win in 224 days(!).
Just because it is fun, you’re going to get all of his quotes.
“In this team we are all obligated to play soccer, but nobody is obligated to do the impossible. However, this team [Chivas USA] today got to the edge of the impossible. This team, to many, lacks the quality, but if you pay attention, we scored the first and second goals with a lot of quality. I believe that’s the difference between last week and today. We, as a group, are fighting and giving all on the field, that’s what we are obligated to do. For that, everyone who is involved with this team, we are doing our best, day in and day out. If with that, we can do what we did today, I have to say welcome. We still can improve in many aspects, especially individually. Today, we missed a lot of passes and we should have been close to score more.”
His thoughts on substitutions were amusing.
“Obviously you make substitutions looking to improve your team’s performance, but please do not give me credit for the win. The players won today, not me. Every one of my players wants to go in. If I could, I would make seven substitutions, but I can’t. This win is a credit to all my players.”
Sounds like he needs to get into the college scene if he wants seven subs.
“This is our first win, we are still like a new-born in this league, but thank God we did something good today and that gives credibility to my players and the institution. As I said before, we committed several mistakes on the field, but the only mistake that I’m not going to allow is for my players to stop fighting. I insist, my players should never put their heads down, and today we demonstrated that once again. With the score against us [1-0] , with little time on the clock, we came back when some people thought we were dead and [Chivas USA] kept on fighting and found Dallas’ net three times.”
So yeah, enjoy any Chelis press conference this season. They’ll all be a treat.
Other points on the weekend:
– New England won their first season opener since 2009, with two rookies on the field. The new look roster that also featured some other debuts made quick work of the Chicago Fire in a 1-0 shutout win on the road. While it is still EARLY, I like where the Revs are going. Defensively sound, good enough in possession and once the offense clicks they could be very dangerous.
– RSL hates going to D.C. for a game with United. They just hate it.
– Late Goonies magic returned last night in San Jose’s 2-1 win over New York. Okay, I won’t call it that again. They were gifted a PK in the dying moments of the game and let’s be fair, they should have won it well before that PK.
– Colorado may be the best club in the league at 0-2-0 right now. They’re going to frustrate the living hell out of people but they won’t be good enough to win a bunch of games either. On the flip side, the Philadelphia Union have the makings to be special but if they don’t get a number 10 in the midfield to orchestrate things, they’ll struggle at reaching the playoffs this season.