Seattle Sounders 1-2 Toronto FC

5 Things We Learned from MLS Week 2

Defoe is Lethal

It’s not a surprising how good a finisher Defoe is. What was a surprise is how quick he acclimatized. Many European stars have come across to MLS and either taken a while to adapt, like Thierry Henry, or struggled full stop like Rafa Marquez.

At half time, he had already scored two goals past a sloppy Seattle side. The goals illustrated textbook Defoe. One, he seized upon a Marco Pappa mistake and fired the ball past a helpless Frei. Both goals showed great finishing and pace, something that Toronto have often lacked. The added bonus was the genuine joy on Defoe’s face as he scored. He looks motivated and happy to be in MLS. All good signs for the Canadian club.

Improved Wingers from San Jose Earthquakes

It was clear that the Supporters Shield success of recent times relied upon the tough side of the Earthquakes. The presence of Gordon and Lenhart meant that the team was built for aerial prowess. This left added responsibility on the wingers. Last season, they bucked under the success, with Shea Salinas suffering the most noticeable blip. When new coach Watson came in, they accounted for this problem by tightening the defense.

It largely worked, but it is a new season. Changes are afoot. Atiba Harris came in to add a new wide option. European talent Yannick Djalo has also joined. However, against Real Salt Lake, it was old boy Salinas who shone. He created the opener for Wondolowski from a set piece, and he threatened throughout from set pieces, creating further goals. He was not just a one trick pony, as he also created chances in open play. For the Quakes to succeed, Salinas & co. need to keep the consistency up.

New-Look Chivas

Some would say Chivas’ victory over Chicago was a false dawn. The Goats did their best to dispel that myth against Vancouver Whitecaps. It is easy for a team to become frustrated when chasing the ball for long periods, and Chivas did. Augstin Pelletieri took 12 minutes to let his temper get the best of him. He lunged at Pedro Morales studs first. It was a clear red card, and the old Chivas would have instantly folded.

This Chivas, however, had other ideas. They retained a solid shape and frustrated the Whitecaps. They took their solo chance, with Erick Torres scoring a fortuitous goal, and frustrated the Canadian side until the 80th minute when  Kekuta Manneh scored the tying goal. A disappointment, but with 10 men, could also be considered an improvement for Chivas.

Houston Dynamo’s Perfect Start to the Season

It was hard to see where Houston could get goals last season. Will Bruin was a shadow of his former self, Giles Barnes was inconsistent, and Boniek Garcia missed too many games. It was a shock when you consider the club had these players and the likes of Andrew Driver to complete an attacking set. It didn’t take long to rectify.

The first game saw New England Revolution receive a battering with Will Bruin in particular improving. He has now scored in two consecutive games. Boniek Garcia continues to be impressive, and Giles Barnes has lost weight and looks sharp. The Dynamo look to be a better side in 2014.

A Good Week for American Players

Maurice Edu was in the best XI for the second week running, and is a large part of the Union’s impressive start to the season. Michael Bradley made a strong start to his Toronto career, while at the other end of the pitch, Clint Dempsey added a goal to his assist from last week to post an impressive start statistically. Kyle Beckerman scored and moved up to 4th in all-time outfield minutes. In short, everywhere you look, U.S. National Team players had a great weekend. With Brazil on the horizon, long may it continue.

Tom Errington

MLS writer at Newcastle, New York Red Bulls & England fan. Therefore, I don't see much success.