The first weekend of MLS action is in the bag, a weekend that saw goals, bad defendings, comebacks and storylines. Here a few general observations and what did this weekend mean for the Impact:
A few teams missed the memo about pre-season being over
Team defending is a foreign concept for many MLS clubs
The Argentine contingent in MLS is scary good: Piatti, Diaz, Higuain, Valeri …
Toronto FC 2 - 0 New York Red Bulls
A somewhat grinding game with few flashes of brilliance. Everything about TFC will still revolve around Seba Giovinco. Lovitz though is not yet a MLS starter. For the Red Bulls, Dax is king, the conduit for everything offensively and holding team shape in the middle.
What it means for the Impact: neither Toronto nor New York were particularly impressive which makes the game between Montreal and New York next week a tempting occasion to grab all three points.
Real Salt Lake 2 - 2 Orlando City SC
Kyle Larin is the real deal, no sophomore jinx for him. On the other hand, Ceren showed a real lack of brains with a stupid red card. The two goals in stoppage time demonstrated a newfound willpower for the Lions even in the absence of Kaka. For RSL, they are very good up front but their back four is suspicious.
What it means for the Impact: Orlando will be an improved side in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal Impact 3 - 2 Vancouver Whitecaps
The impact was impressive. Their midfield was dominant. There’s a need to improve defending on set pieces for the Bleu-Blanc-Noir but it was a solid performance. For Vancouver, Bolanos is a key under-the-radar signing.
What it means for the Impact: A great start. Bush is making his way up the MLS goaltending elite list. Playoff bound.
New York City FC 4 - 3 Chicago Fire
Both teams demonstrated a total lack of understanding of basic defensive concepts. The Fire will be improved. Vieira’s team is strong in midfield but Pirlo’s inability to defend could hurt.
What it means for the Impact: Chicago and NYCFC should finish behind Montreal in the standings and offer some points for the taking for Biello’s team.
FC Dallas 2 - 0 Philadelphia Union
Dallas looked sleek. A predator cat pouncing on unsuspecting defenders. Their ability to counter is deadly. Diaz and Castillo are pure class. The union missed Edu and Barnetta. Not sure the idea of "moneyball" in the City of Brotherly Love will mean a place in the playoffs.
What it means for the Impact: the trip to Dallas in a couple of weeks will be a true measure of Montreal’s position as a contender.
Houston Dynamo 3- 3 New England Revolution
Owen Coyle’s team will be much improved this season. Will Bruin’s hold up play looked great. New England’s defending was sloppy in front of goal. The Texas derby next week between Houston and FCD should be a great match.
What it means for the Impact: New England will be contending for first place in the East but there are opportunities for Montreal to exploit ...particularly wide.
San Jose Earthquakes 1 - 0 Colorado Rapids
Wondo is wonderful. No other forward in the MLS has the same sense of space and anticipation as the Earthquakes’ main threat. Despite their loss, the Rapids could be a major surprise in the West.
What it means for the Impact: very little … but matches against both teams will be testy.
Portland Timbers 2 - 1 Columbus Crew
A great rematch of the MLS Cup final. Two of the best midfields in the league. Higuain’s goal = WOW … Valeri, Chara and Nagbe are a fantastic trio that makes the Timbers a real threat to repeat as champions.
What it means for the Impact: despite the loss, the Crew should still be favourite to win the East and challenge for the Supporters" Shield. The Impact should take note.
Sporting Kansas City 1- 0 Seattle Sounders
Sporting KC looks strong again although they have to replace Nemeth’s skills and goals going forward, Melia and Coelho are key to the strength of their spine, Seattle’s attack will be very good this year. Their defense looked slow.
What it means for the Impact: very little, Montrealers should thank the soccer gods that Kansas City now plays in the West.
LA Galaxy 4 - 1 D.C. United
If all the stars align, the Galaxy could very well play for the MLS Cup in December. If Magee stays in form, he’ll be a super sub … DC’s back four had a rough day and look very exploitable to wide play and balls played behind.
What it means for the Impact: another Eastern contender with a tough start. United look like they could be put at risk by the Impact’s speed on the side.