MLS 25 burst to life this weekend, with every side from East coast to West competing in the season’s first round of fixtures. There were new faces in the league’s dugouts as well as plenty of stars taking to the pitch, resulting in plenty of dramatic story lines and more than a few golazos.
Here’s our take on the 5 biggest things we learned from match day 1 in the Western Conference.
Adrian Heath’s Minnesota United finished last season’s MLS season in 4th place in the conference and 7th overall, only being knocked out of the postseason by LA Galaxy. They had an impressive series of dealings in the offseason, recruiting the likes of Tyler Miller from LA and striker Luis Amirilla from Velez Sarsfield.
Both players started in Minnesota’s curtain-raiser at Portland, with the Paraguayan forward finding the net on his debut fifteen minutes from time. The Loons had never won at the Timbers in their history, and it was a real exhibition of taking your chances when they fall.
Minnesota are currently +2000 outsiders for a surprise MLS Cup win this year.
Seattle romped to their second MLS Cup in four years last year against Toronto, having finished their regular campaign only behind the imperious form of LAFC. They began their title defence back at CenturyLink Field against the Fire, one of this season’s potential dark horses in our MLS picks, and definitely didn’t have their own way in this game.
Having conceded right after the break, local boy Jordan Morris stepped up to deliver the game’s equaliser in the 62nd minute. The USMNT striker completed his brace in dramatic fashion, netting the game’s winner in the 93rd minute and sealing the three points. Whilst Morris missed the entirety of the 2018 season through injury, he was able to bag 13 goals, including a hattrick in the postseason, and could be a key player in the Sounder’s season.
Sounders are currently +1300 outsiders for another MLS Cup triumph.
LA Galaxy dominated the off season with the loss of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the acquisition of legendary Mexican striker Javier Hernandez. All eyes were on the forward as Galaxy travelled to Houston, however it was Argentine teammate Cristian Pavon who stole the limelight with a stunning golazo in the the 13th minute. Hernandez managed just one shot across the game and was caught offside twice in a fairly lukewarm debut.
There’s been a lot of excitement building around Houston and their new head coach Tab Ramos, and they proved to be a tough nut for the Galaxy to crack across the game. Colombian forward Mauro Manotas equalised in the 54th minute, sharing the spoils between the two sides.
Galaxy are currently +1600 to win the MLS Cup this year.
Legendary striker Thierry Henry took the reigns for the first time as a Major League coach at home to the Revs on Saturday, and had to overcome a tough start as Teal Bunbury volleyed in the game’s opener for New England. Maximiliano Urruti’s 37th minute corner proved too troublesome for the Revs defence to handle and the Impact were level.
Urruti supplied the winner as well, taking advantage of the confusion caused by a VAR decision to take away a Revs goal to run through and chip New England goalkeeper Matthew Turner in the 80th minute. With the exhaustion of playing in the CONCACAF Champions League just days before, it was an impressive win for Henry and Montreal.
The Impact are currently at +2000 to win the MLS Cup under Thierry this year.
2019 Supporters Shield winners LAFC playing host to David Beckham’s newly introduced Inter Miami side was undoubtedly the game on everyone’s radar coming into the new season. Bob Bradley’s Black and Gold outfit were brilliant across the campaign last year, largely thanks to the goals of Carlos Vela, and the Mexican forward opened the scoring with an unstoppable golazo in the 44th minute.
It wasn’t a spectacular performance by LA by any means, and Inter Miami can take a lot of heart from holding the league’s best side last year for the majority of the match.
You can back Bob Bradley’s side to go one step better this year and claim the MLS Cup at +275.
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