Sebastian Blanco - John Alvbage - Portland Timbers - Minnesota United - falling

ExtraTime Radio Podcast

We’re back, baby: What you might have missed in Week 1 of MLS 2017 -

LISTEN: No more previews! MLS is here (finally) and the guys gather to break down the action as Minnesota United and Atlanta United officially made their league debuts. Who shined? Who has work to do? Whose hype train is the closest to leaving the station? And what's Orlando going to do without Kaka for six weeks? Subscribe so you don't miss a show!

The 2017 season opened with a bang – well, several bangs – over the weekend, as two expansion clubs and one glittering new stadium made their long-awaited MLS debuts.

There were plenty of other developments, good, bad and ugly, as all 22 member teams hit the field for their first matches of the year. Here’s a rundown.

10. Loons get scattered in the Rose City

It’s been a hell of a journey for Minnesota United just to get to this point, and kudos are due on their MLS bow. But Friday’s 5-1 shellacking from Portland drove home how tough life in this league can be. As our Armchair Analyst noted, however, that scoreline is a bit deceptive, as the Timbers bagged three of their goals in the final 10 or so minutes of action. The Loons will learn from this one.

9. Kellyn Acosta can’t stop scoring

Most of us tend to think of FC Dallas’ talented Homegrown and rising US international as a box-to-box or even holding mid. He’s blowing up that preconception one goal at a time in 2017, however. After bagging a brace in FCD’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal destruction of Panama’s Arabe Unido, he surged into the box to net a lovely winner in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat of the LA Galaxy:

8. Rapids’ mile-high fortress endures

Thought Colorado’s stunning 2016 campaign was a fluke? You’re not alone – but you’re also not going to find evidence of it in their season-opening win over New England. The Rapids and their stifling defense suffocated another visitor to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where they haven’t lost a regular-season game at home since Oct. 10, 2015.

7. ‘Keepers steal the show in D.C.

Drop the banjos: Bill Hamid and Tim Melia treated us to dueling saves at RFK Stadium on Saturday night, keeping their hands warm on a frosty evening in the nation’s capital. Hamid’s denial of a curling Benny Feilhaber free kick was breathtaking, while Melia stole a point for Sporting KC with a savvy penalty-kick stop on Marcelo Sarvas -- and then stuffed Patrick Mullins' attempt at knocking in the rebound.

6. Nicky does it again

If stoning spot kicks is your thing, that guy out in Salt Lake is just the homeboy you need. Nick Rimando is already revered as the best PK stopper in MLS history, and on Saturday he made the league’s most feared attacker his latest victim. What’s really amazing here is Rimando barely bothers to stop his conversation with referee Allen Chapman – who’d just whistled him for the foul in question – long enough to gobble up Sebastian Giovinco’s effort.

5. Rowdy crowds down south

The games in Atlanta and Orlando were witnessed by two full (and loud) houses: First the Lions christened the new Orlando City Stadium with a win over NYCFC, followed by Atlanta United’s delirious MLS debut in front of more than 50,000 at their temporary home, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium. The ATL bunch let the New York Red Bulls steal three points away late, but no one on hand will forget the electric occasion.

4. Youth is served leaguewide

The kids are alright, and they’re also starting games, too. Many would say the two best players in Sunday’s 0-0 draw between Vancouver and Philadelphia were 16-year-old Whitecaps phenom Alphonso Davies and 20-year-old Union debutant Derrick Jones – both Homegrowns, by the way. Elsewhere, Columbus have entrusted their No. 1 goalkeeping role to Zack Steffen, Honduran international Alberth Elis was a livewire for the Houston Dynamo (both are 21) and Jack McBean (22) got the start up top for LA.

3. Meanwhile, down in Costa Rica…

Speaking of youth, on Sunday the US U-20 national team won their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament for the first time ever, and MLSers were prominently involved. Tommy Redding (Orlando), Tyler Adams (Red Bulls), tournament Golden Ball winner Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland) and the Real Salt Lake trio of Justen Glad, Danny Acosta and Brooks Lennon were in the starting 11, while Auston Trusty (Philadelphia) and Coy Craft (Dallas) came off the bench.

2. The rejiggered Quakes are fun to watch

With all due respect to past editions of the San Jose Earthquakes, it hasn’t always been the proverbial “liquid football” out by the Bay, with results often ground out rather than racked up. But with the likes of Anibal Godoy, Tommy Thompson and Simon Dawkins conjuring up flashes of skill and daring, Saturday’s defeat of Montreal was no ordinary 1-0 win, and Godoy’s chipped winner was particularly buck-nasty:

1. Curling exhibition in Texas

The Houston Dynamo’s overhauled squad looked pretty good too, knocking off the defending champs from Seattle 2-1. And nothing was prettier than new signing Romell Quioto’s viciously-whipped curler past Stefan Frei for the game-winner at BBVA Compass Stadium: