What you need to know

Seattle take it to Colorado

The Sounders opened the season with a 4-0 rout of the Colorado Rapids. A brace from Jordan Morris led the way while new signing Héber found the net as well.

Portland host SKC tonight: The final game of Matchday 1 kicks off tonight at 10 pm ET as Portland welcome SKC to Providence Park.

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Assorted takes from the weekend that was

Matchday 1 is mostly over and done with. Even with one game still to go though, it’s already risen to the occasion and surpassed most reasonable expectations. Just a stellar week one all around and congrats to all the players for following their new Apple-approved scripts everyone who made it one of the best opening weekends ever. 

Let’s dive into it a little more. Here are some Monday thoughts and takes.

Apple sounds great

I don’t think I’m being a shill when I say I saw pretty much universal praise for the TV product this weekend. I’m sure there are still plenty of kinks to work out, but it seemed like far more went right than wrong.

I know a lot of folks are going to be focused on the picture quality of the games, but for me, it’s all about how games sound now. You can hear the ball pinging off feet on the field and, in the stands, you can hear what an excellent MLS crowd sounds like. If you buy into the idea the league’s best product is its gameday atmosphere, then the sound design on these broadcasts is an excellent endorsement for it. When you have two crowds of 67,000-plus like you did this weekend, along with plenty of other packed stadiums, the league itself sounds and feels bigger.

Those things matter. Along with a collection of kits that add color to these broadcasts. It feels like the aesthetics of MLS are finally getting to a place where they’ll draw people in.

I’m not trying to overreact to it, but…

We’re going to dive headlong into Matchday 1 overreactions tomorrow, but I’ll go ahead and tell you the biggest overreaction I’m going to have will be focused on NYCFC. It’s not really fair to start criticizing their attack when you don’t have Santiago Rodriguez plugged in and it’s game one and Nashville have a tendency to make a lot of teams look like that.

But it’s not just the attack. The rest of the group kind of just seems totally fine. If the attack isn’t going to be something close to great and carry this team, then there’s reason for worry. Our first taste of Talles Magno back at striker didn’t exactly indicate something close to great is on the way.

I’m really just saying it had to hurt NYCFC fans to see Héber immediately plug in and score for Seattle last night, that’s all. Which, speaking of…

Seattle Revenge Tour 2023

Even with the CCL title in hand, I can’t imagine too many folks in Seattle were willing to take missing the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first in club history lightly. Last night felt like they were one part letting some frustration out and one part just way better than Colorado in every phase.

It helps of course that they can turn to Héber when Raúl Ruidíaz is unavailable. That trade is already paying dividends and should continue to pay off as Ruidíaz, a player who’s missed about 50 starts in his four full-ish seasons in MLS, likely misses more time. But even more importantly, João Paulo is back and doing João Paulo things. I think this team cruises to the playoffs and maybe more with him available for the season. This year, he appears to be an effective post-ACL tear version of himself and that’s all Seattle will need to be one of the best teams in the West.

Meet Noel Buck

I was a bit skeptical at first. Maybe a bit unsure of why there were whispers about a 17-year-old midfielder for the Revolution claiming a starting role. But man, if his performance against Charlotte is any indication, Noel Buck can ball.

Now, the official motto of The Daily Kickoff is, of course, “Never take pizza recommendations from Tom Bogert.” But the unofficial motto is, “Progress isn’t linear.” Don’t expect Buck to start climbing and keep rising the rest of the year. There will be ups and downs. But it seems like the Revs have a genuine game-changer on their hands. If they can continue to get the best out of him throughout the year, they have a chance to be a team that racks up points.

The Union are good at soccer

Don’t really have anything to add to that, just wanted to say I’d like to go ahead and claim the “The Union are going to break the goal differential record” take as early as possible just so I can beat the crowd. What they did to Columbus this weekend was just mean.

Congrats to the new kids

I also don’t really have too much to add to this, but just think about how many expansion teams have lost their first-ever game. St. Louis CITY SC bucked the trend in style and you have to applaud them for it. Does this mean they’re actually a really good expansion team? I have no idea. But the rarity of the moment should be appreciated and earplugs should be bought for their home opener this weekend. You do not want tinnitus.

Just confirming a few things here…

I don’t know if you noticed, but a few things played right into our preseason prediction hands this weekend. We, of course, know better than to overreact to Matchday 1, but here are a few other things that were undeniably confirmed this weekend that we’ve been saying all along and have no conceivable way of changing at any point this season: FC Cincinnati are going to find more ways to get three points more consistently, Orlando’s offseason didn’t mean they’d instantly be a Shield contender, Toronto are in serious trouble if they have to rely on depth and defense, CF Montréal are going to have an adjustment period that might actually last the whole season, FC Dallas still don’t feel like they’ve raised their ceiling, Austin might be a little more unlucky, and RSL still have that dawg in them.

I think that about covers it. And probably wraps it up for MLS analysis in 2023. See y’all next year.

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Good luck out there. Even if you’re up 4-0, finish the game.