Now that the MLS Opening Weekend is in the books, we've finally got somem good ol' regular-season competitive tape on the bumper crop of new talent. With a reminder that is limited to players eligibile for Newcomer of the Year – established pros making their MLS debut – with apologies to our friends in SLC, here's a look at the five peak performances from Week One:
El Honduras Dynamo
Well. We knew they were fast. But did you know Romell Quioto could do this?
That comes after a Houston Dynamo preseason in which he led what seemed a potentially, ahem … dynamic attack, and now that we saw it against a Seattle Sounders squad that returned all the essentials from an MLS Cup champion, it's safe to say the rest of the league won't be caught resting on their laurels against last year's Western Conference cellar dwellers.
Paired with fellow Honduran Alberth Elis on the opposite wing, the repeated strafing runs kept Seattle on the back foot throughout the match. Per Opta, Elis completed four dribbles – tied for third-best on the weekend – while ripping a pair of shots and creating another two chances. That 1-v-1 threat and Quioto's counterbalance is going to leave "Cubo" Torres a lot of room to maneuver, which could prove dangerous now that he's broken the Houston duck.
San Jose shuts 'em down
The San Jose Earthquakes rode out a 1-0 victory against a dangerous Montreal Impact, a team whose attack typically revolves around 2016 Best XI winger "Nacho" Piatti, but was stifled Saturday after a team-wide San Jose smothering. Key to the efforts was Florian Jungwirth, who led the team, per Opta, with four tackles while also providing two clearances, three interceptions and eight ball recoveries. Throw in a .714 winning percentage on his seven duels, and the groundwork is laid for a solid partnership with Victor Bernarndez centering the San Jose backline.
Atlanta opens fire
Expansion side Atlanta United FC finally took to the pitch, and all that potential energy felt awfully kinetic through the first 25 minutes, when Yamil Asad converted the first strike in franchise history.
The 22-year-old Asad – who battled his way through a team-high 21 duels, four tackles and won seven fouls on the day – arrived via loan from Argentina's Velez Sarsfield. When the contributions come from players young AND without that Designated Player tag affixed, it's probably a sign ATLUTD is on the way toward that ambitious effort to "Unite and Conquer".
Timbers' two-way threat
Look, the Research Baer laid out the case – in great depth – but the addition of David Guzman to the Portland Timbers could prove to be one of the league's most crucial moves. Both in defense (6 interceptions, 3 tackles) and distribution (completing 89 percent of 64 passes), Guzman looked like someone who'd played in Providence Park for years, not minutes. Be very afraid of the unleashed Diego Chara.
Spector's stateside return
Former US international Jonathan Spector made a trans-Atlantic journey after a long run at Birmingham City and immediately impacted the Orlando City SC backline, producing 14 clearances, an interception and two recoveries.
They jest, but it's no coincidence this was one of the quietest ORL-NYC matchups since the two sides joined the league in 2015. Slotting alongside Jose Aja in central defense, if Jason Kreis has managed to successfully shore up the OCSC back line, it could make things interesting on the fringes of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.