Sign up for The Daily Kickoff in your inbox! The Daily Kickoff is more than an article – it can be delivered to your email account as well.
I have to admit, after the disappointment of a 0-0 draw between LAFC and Seattle to start the day, I got a bit worried. What if we were heading to a day without chaos? MLS, as it tends to do, responded with an absolutely wild night. Here's (some of) what went down.
What happened?: Plenty of chances in this one, but no one broke through in a largely well-played game.
So, did we learn anything?: Don’t think so. We’re already well aware of how good these two teams are and it’s going to be a war in the West between the two of them all season.
What happened?: Destruction. Atlanta United broke through in the 25th minute and just put it on Portland from there on out. Thiago Almada scored what may just be your AT&T 5G MLS Goal of the Year with a comically good free kick and Giorgos Giakoumakis opened his MLS account in his first MLS start.
So, did we learn anything?: Atlanta United are back. Plain and simple. They hit a gear last night they haven’t hit in years. In fact, it’s the first time they’ve scored five goals in a game since 2019. They are ruthless, they are more talented than almost everyone and they are only going to get better as Giakoumakis gets more comfortable. He’s going to be a star. Caleb Wiley is going to be a star. And Almada already is one.
What happened?: I don’t really know and I’m scared Jim Curtin will be mad at me if I try to explain it. The Union were down, then they were up and then a rare double Video Review went down and suddenly the Union weren’t up anymore. Just a wild, wild game and a heckuva performance from CFM.
So, did we learn anything?: As far as Philly goes, I think we learned MLS is weird and coming off CCL games midweek is hard, as is going on the road. As far as CF Montréal goes, man, what a relief that had to be. Not only do they get a major upset, but they also get back home and immediately played better ball. It’s all an encouraging sign for a team that’s going to be spending a little while finding itself. They showed potential vs. Philly and they really hadn’t shown that so far this year.
What happened?: Gustavo Bou made the difference.
So, did we learn anything?: Nah. Pretty standard stuff from everyone involved. The Revs needed a confidence boost after last week and found it at home in a mostly even game.
What happened?: Dante Vanzeir! The new Red Bulls DP didn’t start but he finished off the Crew with a late volley.
So, did we learn anything?: I saw some Red Bulls folks on Twitter worried Vanzeir didn’t make the starting XI. Well, after scoring the winner in this one, maybe they’ll see him there next week. It’s a big win for a Red Bulls team that had sputtered a bit out of the gate.
What happened?: NYCFC went up 2-0 early, but D.C. kept fighting. They got back in it thanks to Christian Benteke, but Thiago Andrade (mostly) wrapped things up late.
So, did we learn anything? Not quite sure why NYCFC kept letting D.C. hang, but, at the very least, they did a few things that looked very much like the best versions of NYCFC. You might have already known this, but it’s a good team. Even if things still feel a little bit disjointed.
What happened?: Charlotte woke up and swiped three points on the road.
So, did we learn anything?: Look who finally showed up! It took a second there. But The Crown finally got back to finding the net and picking up points. Meanwhile, Orlando (and every other CCL team) weren’t at their best after a tough midweek game, but still, it’s another week waiting for them to truly impress. They’ll be happy to see DP Martin Ojeda open his MLS account and frustrated to miss out on a couple of breaks that didn’t quite go their way.
Either way, Charlotte should be ecstatic to finally be on the board in 2023 and stoked to have a striker like Copetti. By the way, just thinking out loud here, but having DPs Kamil Jozwiak and Karol Swiderski on the bench for the first win of the year is interesting, isn’t it? As is having Brandt Bronico back in midfield. Interesting. Just pointing out interesting things that happened.
What happened?: The Reds put in their first winning performance of the year. Not a perfect performance, but their best so far.
So, did we learn anything?: Y’all, I think it may be about to get very rough for Inter Miami. Losing Gregore (foot injury) for six months could easily be the difference between a playoff spot and worrying about hitting the bottom of the conference. Maybe they adjust, but it could be a moment. Just a brutal, brutal blow that’s already manifesting in results like this one.
What happened?: Junior Moreno and Sergio Santos both found the net late and FC Cincinnati somehow earned a point on the road.
So, did we learn anything?: Some teams are built for it and some teams aren’t. Right now, Cincy seem up to handle even their clunkiest moments. They aren’t playing their best ball, but they’re still picking up points. Chicago…well, it’s just not all that surprising anymore when they don’t see out results.
What happened?: Dallas DPs did the work. Alan Velasco and Jesus Ferreira made the difference.
So, did we learn anything?: Hey, at least SKC scored their first goal of 2023? They did not, however, pick up their first win. It’s been a rough start. And it feels wild we’re still waiting on last year’s Willy Agada to show up.
It is not wild that Dallas saw this one through. They handle everything so well it seems. They just calmly and casually picked up points last year under Nico Estevez and seem set to do the same this year. Even if there are still some concerns about just how high their ceiling can go.
What happened?: Ben Olsen got his first win in charge of Houston and the Dynamo got rewarded for some decent play to start the year.
So, did we learn anything?: I genuinely can’t think of a rougher week in MLS history than what Austin just had. From the biggest upset loss in CCL history to a brutal upset loss to a major rival. Just…ouch, man. They need to course correct. Fast. They haven’t faced adversity quite like this before though. Anyway, congrats to the Dynamo on a well-earned win. In a building year, you have to savor moments like this one.
What happened?: Exactly what you should expect at this point.
So, did we learn anything?: St. Louis CITY SC are the greatest soccer team of all time.
What happened?: The Loons came back from a 1-0 deficit to deliver a tough blow to Colorado and earn their seventh point in three games this season.
So, did we learn anything?: So far, so good for Minnesota! They aren’t going to stop hearing about Emanuel Reynoso anytime soon, but as long as they can keep pointing to the scoreboard, they shouldn’t care.
The Rapids bum me out.
What happened?: Felt draw-ish and it was.
So, did we learn anything?: Good on the Caps for getting a point out of a tough road game after a (not all that strenuous but still) CCL game midweek. Both of these teams feel like they’ll at least be fine eventually, even if the starts haven’t been ideal.
San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel out with knee injury: San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel will miss the next 4-6 weeks after undergoing successful surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. Daniel suffered the injury at training on Wednesday, and the expected recovery timeline keeps him out anywhere from mid-March to early April.
- Toronto FC said their first win of 2023 might have silenced a few critics.
- Charlotte FC are content to "let people talk" after blitzing Orlando City.
- CF Montréal stunned the Philadelphia Union after a momentum-changing Video Review.
- St. Louis CITY SC proved they “can dominate" as they continued a record-breaking start.
- Atlanta United star Thiago Almada could "break the bank" when it comes to his transfer fee. If you missed it, Almada scored a world-class free kick last night.
- Seattle Sounders felt they missed an opportunity against LAFC.
Good luck out there. Celebrate with your friends.