In the first week of the 2015 MLS regular season there were 10 games that produced a mostly sad 16 goals. It was a choppy and dispiriting start to a season that honestly seemed to take forever to get going. Through the first six weeks of last year, the average goals per game was just a tick over 2 -- by far the lowest in league history.
The first week of this 2016 MLS regular season produced 36 goals in 10 games. Some were great, some were awful, and one was just Wondo being Wondo. However they came, and whoever they were scored by, it made for a much more entertaining opening to the 21st edition of MLS than we got on the 20th, and for that I am grateful. This may make me something of a Neanderthal, but the best part of the game is still the build-up to a goal, and the wild celebration afterward. We got plenty of that today.
With a few exceptions, the driving forces behind this scoring outburst were the exact guys you'd expect to be the driving forces behind this scoring outburst. The stars shone bright just about everywhere.
This is the same issue that plagued this team down the stretch in 2015, and at times for each of the last three seasons. They get on the back foot and stay there, and don't really scramble all that well as a unit.
But how much for this one?
Glenn Davis even calls it just before Andrew Wenger scores: "New England is caught here with some bad shape now."
He was right, and it didn't improve until they were picking the ball out of their own net.
A few more things to ponder...
7. A great, if ugly 1-0 win for Sporting KC in Seattle. All the inter-conference qualifiers and signifiers I applied to TFC/RBNY applies here, too, and as I mention in the video at the top of the page, help is on the way for Sporting.
The same might be necessary for Seattle after Brad Evans went down hard on his left shoulder. He is critical to their success with his quality, versatility and leadership.
6. The Portland Timbers broke Columbus Crew SC's hearts early in December's MLS Cup. In Sunday's 2-1 win, they left it late -- which is becoming a habit:
Diego Valeri was balling throughout. He somehow remains underappreciated.
5. Three games, three late collapses for Real Salt Lake so far in 2016. All due respect to Cyle Larin (Go Huskies!) on the first Orlando City goal, but that second one simply can't be allowed to happen. The 2-2 draw definitely felt unfair for the visitors, but a dangerous pattern is not to be ignored.
4. You knew I was going to give this year's first Pass of the Week to the Magic Little Unicorn, right?
3. I praised Wondo at the top, and San Jose should be happy with their 1-0 home win to start the year. But I think it's pretty clear that the Colorado Rapids are much better than they were a year ago.
That's not a particularly high bar, but it's a ray of hope after a miserable two years in Commerce City. The Rapids do have some nice pieces to build around.
2. Mike Magee, king of The South Bay! The chemistry between Magee and Robbie Keane back in 2011 and 2012 was always breathtaking, and clearly, after Sunday night's 4-1 win over D.C. United, they've kept their symbiotic connection alive over the years.
Also excellent was Ashley Cole. Credit where it's due, folks.
1. And finally, our Face of the Week goes to Chicago Fire rookie Brandon Vincent:
He speaks for all of Firedom after their 4-3 loss to New York City FC.
As for the visitors from The Bronx... the youth shall lead them. Tommy McNamara, Mix Diskerud, Tony Taylor and Khiry Shelton all had arguably their best performances in City Blue (is that what we call it? Like Carolina Blue?). I'm wary of reading too much into it, however, since the Fire were so disorganized and error-prone at the back.