MLS Review: Week One

Valentine reviews an exciting opening weekend

Omar Bravo Sporting Kansas City

Photo Credit: 
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

What a week it was in Major League Soccer! After 13 weeks of learning about the MLS with you Whitecaps fans, I would like to continue reviewing each week of this exciting journey we are all on. Of course, I would like to review our MLS debut, but we should save the best for last.

The season actually kicked off last Tuesday at Qwest Field, where Seattle Sounders FC lost to Los Angeles Galaxy on a long-range strike from Juninho in front of a sell-out crowd. Sounders FC were trying to win their third straight home opener, but could find no way past Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, as they lost their fifth straight match to LA.

Seattle were then involved in another marquee game on the first weekend of MLS regular season action when they traveled to Red Bull Arena to face Eastern Conference favourites New York Red Bulls. Despite Kasey Keller saving a Thierry Henry penalty, Sounders FC were undone by in-form Canadian goalkeeper Greg Sutton, and a breakaway goal by teenage sensation Juan Agudelo for another 1-0 defeat.

The good luck story was at RFK Stadium, where Charlie Davis scored two goals in a 3-1 victory over Columbus Crew. Two years ago, Davis was fighting for his life after a car crash, and in his first real competitive game since that accident, he scored his first MLS goal on a penalty to spur his side on to victory. The winning goalkeeper was Canadian veteran Pat Onstad, who came out of retirement after both of United's first-team goalkeepers were injured.

Defending MLS champions Colorado Rapids started their campaign with a 3-1 win over expansion side Portland Timbers. Kenny Cooper scored Portland's first MLS goal, but the Rapids were too strong on the night after Conor Casey and goalscorer Omar Cummings terrorized the Timbers' backline all evening.

The highest scoring match came at The Home Depot Center, where Sporting Kansas City defeated hosts Chivas USA 3-2. Sporting KC were led by Mexican legend Omar Bravo, who scored two goals on his MLS debut.

The last game of the opening weekend had LA Galaxy hosting New England Revolution. This match was played in a torrential downpour in Carson, California, and Juninho scored another spectacular goal to give the Galaxy a draw and send them to the top of league with four points from two games.

But the story of the first MLS weekend of 2011 had to be at a sold-out Empire Field, where our Vancouver Whitecaps FC sent our Canadian foes Toronto FC packing with a 4-2 victory - led by two goals by Eric Hassli. It was a perfect MLS debut for the 'Caps and the crowd can take a lot of credit for making it a perfect day and willing our team on to a victory over a well-beaten TFC side.

Our home debut was made fantastic by the win and the tremendous atmosphere created by our supporters. The question has been asked how we can top this. The answer is easy, the relationship between Whitecaps FC fans and players will only get stronger and stronger. This, in turn, will enhance the atmosphere in our home stadium each week.

On Saturday, the fans were singing and chanting to some players they were seeing for the first time. Now they have a chance to read about them and see them this Saturday against Philadelphia Union on Rogers Sportsnet One. As I have said before, this is a team that our fans will be able to identify with. With Teitur Thordarson's in-your-face style of soccer, the club will provide many exciting moments for our fans and make them proud to be a Whitecaps fan.