Every new MLS season brings new faces, characters and stars to our televisions (or tablets, phones, apps — shoutout 2019) that we quickly come to familiarize ourselves with.
With 12 games to kick off the 2019 season, there were many debutants making their first runs, passes, tackles and goals in the league. Here are 10 of the biggest and best from the weekend:
10. Pity Martinez
After starting Atlanta United's first two Concacaf Champions League matches, Pity Martinez was given a breather on the bench to start against D.C. United.
Down 2-0 in the 59th minute, Martinez made his MLS debut. He was unable to orchestrate a comeback, but showed flashes of why Atlanta broke MLS's inbound transfer record to sign the reigning 2018 South American Player of the Year.
GOAL: Tesho Akindele levels the score with a tap-in
Nani, like Martinez, began his MLS career as a substitute. Nani, unlike Martinez, got his first goal involvement of his MLS career, picking up a game-tying assist. He played Dom Dwyer in behind who selflessly squared a pass to Tesho Akindele for a tap-in, completing Orlando City's comeback against NYCFC.
May he get his first start against the Chicago Fire on Saturday? (1 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; DAZN in Canada)
8. Lucas Rodriguez
Conditions weren't perfect for Lucas Rodriguez's D.C. United debut — 35 degrees and pouring rain — but the Argentinian enjoyed a successful first shift with the club.
The 21-year-old went 67 minutes and picked up an assist while being able to drift in and out of the game as Lucho Acosta, Wayne Rooney and Paul Arriola were more heavily involved in the attack. Rodriguez and D.C. earned a 2-0 win over the Five Stripes.
7. Inbeom Hwang
An awaited debut after signing from South Korea, Inbeom Hwang didn't disappoint.
The all-action midfielder completed his side's second-most passes (61), completed the most dribbles (3) and took three shots. The Vancouver Whitecaps fell 3-2 to Minnesota United, though.
6. Przemyslaw Frankowski
Przemyslaw Frankowski arrived in Chicago with mild fanfare this winter. The Polish winger had played all of his matches in his native league and hadn't yet been a prolific goalscorer or creator in his young career. On Saturday, he showed a glimpse of what we might see this season in a 2-1 loss at the LA Galaxy.
The first thing to jump off the screen is Frankowski's pace, which is going to be a problem for defenders. He adds another dimension to the Fire attack, one that the club lacked last season.
5. Efra Alvarez
Another player to make his debut from the bench, 16-year-old Efra Alvarez drove his hype train into fourth-gear. He entered with the LA Galaxy were down 1-0 and his assist sparked a comeback, culminating in the 2-1 win.
Expectations were already sky-high for the kid's future, but if Saturday night is anything to judge, perhaps his time as an impact player for the Galaxy will begin in 2019.
4. Leonardo Bertone
GOAL: Leonardo Bertone gives FC Cincinnati a memorable first goal
No one can ever take away the moment Leonardo Bertone gave FC Cincinnati fans in Seattle. He scored the club's first ever MLS goal, a full volley from 20 yards. His name will go down in FC Cincy history as the club's first scorer.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill for FC Cincy after that, losing 4-1 to the Sounders.
Bertone wasn't bought to be a goalscorer, though, and his success or failure with the club won't be down to how many goals he scored. The midfielder completed a team-high eight final third entries and was tied for the team-lead in tackles for the Orange and Blue.
3. Alexandru Mitrita
An assist with an outside-of-the-foot 15-yard through ball that nutmegged an Orlando City defender? Decent start to Alexandru Mitrita's NYCFC career, that.
Mitrita commanded one of the most lavish transfer fees in league history and is off to a strong beginning.
2. Marco Fabian
Marco Fabian lived up to the hype in his Philadelphia Union debut, even if the club fell 3-1 to Toronto FC.
Fabian scored a penalty for Philly's lone goal — a spot kick that he forced create, as his cross deflected off Jonathan Osorio's arm. The Mexico international took seven shots, won three fouls and was a nuisance to Michael Bradley and TFC for 90 minutes.
1. Carles Gil
GOAL: Carles Gil fires home an equalizer
Helping the New England Revolution secure a point on the road against FC Dallas with a second-half equalizer, Carles Gil had a strong debut for his new club.
Gil's goal was coolly taken and his set-piece delivery constantly provided the Revs with opportunities to score. It's quite easy to understand how lethal his left foot can be this season.