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  • Jeff Carlyle

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American Football Correspondent

Jeff Carlyle covers the MLS and the U.S. national soccer team for ESPN.

  • Kyle Bonagura.

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ESPNcontributor

    • Covers the Pac-12.
    • ESPN since 2014.
    • He studied at Washington State University.

MLS is back for 2021 and the opening weekend had no shortage of drama, big goals and big hits. Austin’s new team started with a loss, Los Angeles Galaxy beat a converted Inter-Miami thanks to two goals from Chicharito (remember him?), and Columbus’ team played a 0-0 draw at Eastern Conference rival Philadelphia. However, the most important result of the first round might be the 4-0 beating of Minnesota on Friday night, which set the tone for the final MLS Cup match.

Check out the weekend’s events and see where your team stands in our Week 1 rankings.

Previous review: N/A
Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April in Los Angeles, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN Deportes).

The most one-sided result of the opening weekend was Seattle’s 4-0 victory over Minnesota United. The Sounders have never finished lower than fourth in the Western Conference in their 12-year history, and there’s no reason to think that will change this year. — Bonagura

Seattle’s big win over Minnesota to open the season will draw attention from the rest of the MLS. Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April vs. Inter Miami, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

In a clash between the Supporters’ Shield winners and the current MLS Cup winners, the Union left Columbus with more luck in a 0-0 draw. Andre Blake was in Philadelphia in the middle of the season and saved a point with a couple of big saves. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 1. May against CF Montreal, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

When Blake was in his element, Eloy Room wasn’t bad in goal either, although his lack of pace in the attacking box was another story. This should improve as the season progresses. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Friday 23. April against Orlando City, 7:30 pm. AND

Even with a depleted squad, CSC found a way to overcome a 1-0 deficit and win 2-1 over the Red Bulls. In the process, 19-year-old John Pulskamp became the youngest goalkeeper to win an MLS match since Bill Hamid in 2010. Nine local players were also part of the CSC team. — Bonagura

– Daily FC stream on ESPN+
– MLS on ESPN+ : Live broadcast of matches (USA only)

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Sunday 25. April against the New York Red Bulls, 5:30 p.m. AND

Perhaps the most encouraging start to the season was for the Galaxy. Not only because they managed to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win over Inter Miami, but also because Chicharito scored twice to match his 12 appearances from last season. If he can be the same constant scoring threat he was signed for, it would solve a lot of the problems of last year’s team. — Bonagura

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April vs. Seattle, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN TV

The Black and Gold had to do without reigning Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela in the 22nd minute, but LAFC foiled their MLS debut with a second half goal from newcomer Corey Baird and an own goal from Austin. Rossi and Vela’s injuries are minor, and it’s likely both could be used against the Sounders. — Bonagura

– Bradley on Vel: I took a ranking from LAFC.

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April against Nashville FC, 2 p.m. ET.

Djordje Mihajlovic has long been an emerging talent. Saturday against Toronto, he showed that he is capable of making the kind of impact that had long been predicted. Aside from his goal, he was perhaps the best player on the field in the 4-2 victory. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April in New England, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

Some matches are won by technical finesse, others by energy and disruption of the opponent. DCU’s first win under Hernan Lozada fell in the second category: 2-1 at NYCFC. Given the long list of injuries, the new DC manager won’t mind. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April in Portland, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+.

The Dynamo opened the season as well as they could have hoped, thoroughly beating San Jose in the first half in what would end up being a 2-1 victory. Goals from Memo Rodriguez and Maximiliano Urruti kept San Jose at bay. — Bonagura

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April versus Toronto (Orlando), 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

A header by Lucas Cavallini in the 49th minute. The Whitecaps secured the win in the 42nd minute, sealing the final game of the weekend. After missing the playoffs the last three seasons, can they end that run? — Bonagura

2 Connected

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April vs. Chicago, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

The Gabriel Heinze era begins on a positive note with a 0-0 draw against rival Orlando. Although Joseph Martinez is back on the field, there are some issues in the offense that need to be addressed. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Friday 23. April against Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

The Lions’ 0-0 draw against Atlanta wasn’t exactly the start Orlando was hoping for, but the sight of Alexander Pato suffering an injury to his right knee was certainly sobering. Would this change the calculations for Daryl Dyke’s translation? — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April against Washington United, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

The first 11 minutes were a nightmare for the Revs as they gave up two goals to Chicago, but Bruce Arena’s team fought back impressively and nearly pulled out the victory. A 2-2 draw at home to start the season is not bad. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April against New York City FC, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

The good news is that Lucho Acosta and Brenner were up to the task, but after taking a 2-0 lead, FCC had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Fortunately goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton was strong enough to prevent the equaliser. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April against Montreal CF, 2 p.m. ET.

NSC was very active offensively (32 shots!), but it took a cross from Randall Leal to break a 2-2 tie with Cincinnati. Gary Smith hopes the real NSC is the one that dominated the last 80 minutes. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April vs. Austin FC, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

With Sam Vines out due to injury, the Rapids used Kellin Acosta on the left side of the defense and started the season with a 0-0 draw at Dallas. The game didn’t necessarily show it, but the Rapids have raised their expectations after last year’s playoff run in Robin Frazier’s first year as head coach. — Bonagura

Major League Soccer on ESPN+. Columbus is the defending champion of the 27-team league, which will add Austin in 2021.
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Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April in San Jose, 3:30 p.m. (ET)

Those who expected FC Dallas to rely on the products of their acclaimed academy early in the season were wrong. Midfielder Paxton Pomical returned to the field in the 69th minute. Dallas came back from injury in the 29th minute and 18-year-old striker Ricardo Pepi made his appearance late, but offensively Dallas couldn’t do much. — Bonagura

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April vs. Houston, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+.

After a 5-0 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal victory (7-2 on the offensive) over Honduras midweek, Portland never found a rhythm in a 1-0 loss against Vancouver on Sunday night in Salt Lake City to begin the MLS campaign. — Bonagura

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April vs. Vancouver, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

Tired from their CONCACAF Champions League appearance midweek, TFC lost 4-2 to Montreal with a hat trick. The Reds will undoubtedly improve when Alejandro Pocelo, Jozy Altidore and Chris Mavinga return to the field, but a rotation of the squad will also help. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April against Minnesota United, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+.

RSL was the only team to miss out on week one, but the team got some good news when it was announced that striker Bobby Wood would be joining the team earlier than expected after Hamburger SV cancelled his contract. — Bonagura

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 in Atlanta at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

The Flames played a home game in front of their own fans for the first time since 2019, but the Flames’ defensive weaknesses – especially in standard situations – are all too familiar, as they squandered a two-point lead against New England. At least Robert Berich got off to a good start with a goal and an assist. — Carlisle

2 Connected

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April vs. FC Cincinnati, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

After an encouraging first 20 minutes, NYCFC collapsed and failed to rebound in a 2-1 defeat to Washington United. It will be interesting to see if Alfredo Morales, back from Europe, can help in that regard if he gets more minutes. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Sunday 25. April versus Los Angeles Galaxy, 5:30 p.m. ET.

Enjoy Caden Clarke while you can, folks. All he seems to do is score goals, including one for the Red Bulls on Saturday. Unfortunately for New York, the rest of the team didn’t do enough to compete and lost to Kansas City. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April against FC Dallas, 3:30 p.m. AND

San Jose’s poor first half in the 2-1 defeat to Houston was reminiscent of some nightmarish performances last year, but the Quakes found their rhythm in the second half. A brilliant roundhouse by Paul Marie in the 74th minute. Chris Wondolowski halved the deficit in the 42nd minute before missing a throw-in that could have been decisive. — Bonagura

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April in Philadelphia, 8:00 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

Dream day turned into a nightmare for Miami, as they lost 3-2 to the Galaxy. Gonzalo Higuain finally showed his qualities as a designated player with a goal and an assist, but he was beaten by Javier Chicharito Hernandez. The Miami midfielder is also expected to take more than an hour. — Carlisle

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April versus Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+).

Austin didn’t get the result they were hoping for in their first MLS match, but the 2-0 loss against LAFC, also the first match of head coach Josh Wolfe, is an encouraging example of what can happen. It didn’t result in many exquisite chances, but to understand Austin’s style of play, you have to know that he had 55.8% possession against an LAFC team known for dominating possession. — Bonagura

Previous review: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, 24. April against Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+.

After Minnesota United reached the Western Conference finals last year, it entered the season with legitimate MLS Cup aspirations. A 4-0 loss to start the year has a way of raising expectations immediately. — Bonagura

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