Nicolas Lodeiro - celebrating Ruidiaz goal - vs. Colorado Rapids - 03-09-2019
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Three teams looking like MLS Cup contenders after two games

Look, it's early, but some clubs are at the beginning phase of causing separation from the pack as early MLS Cup contenders. 

This is far from what all teams will look and play like come October. Injuries happen, form changes — you know the drill. But it's never a bad thing to start strong. 

Here are three teams who have particularly looked great to start their season:

LAFC

No club has had a more impressive start to the season in MLS play than LAFC

With wins against Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers, two teams who figure to be fighting near the top of the Western Conference come season's end, LAFC couldn't have asked for a better start to the season. They couldn't have realistically expected a more impressive manner in which the results were delivered, either. 

The match against Sporting wasn't beautiful, with a ton of fouls and stoppages; Down 1-0 early; Carlos Vela wasn't at his best. None of it mattered in the end, they found a way to endure and collect all three points. It was something they didn't show often in 2018 against quality opponents. 

As for the game against the Timbers, well, it was entirely different. They did play beautiful soccer and Vela was dominant en route to a 4-1 thrashing of last season's runners-up. 

Sporting Kansas City

On the flip side of LAFC's victory over Sporting, it's not an awful result for Peter Vermes' side. They were just days after dominating Liga MX side Toluca in Mexico and nearly escaped the Banc of California Stadium with a point before Adama Diomande's stoppage-time winner. 

SKC have produced wonderful passing sequences, sophisticated movement and flexed their depth since the start of the season, winning their latest match 2-0 over the Philadelphia Union.

It's not just the results the club have earned, it's the way they're doing it. On the ball, their sophisticated passing sequences and Vermes' tactical wrinkles have worked perfectly. It's a joy to watch when it goes right. 

More to the point: We all knew Sporting would be good this season. We didn't know how great they might be, primarily, based on two questions: Center forward and center back. Through a few weeks of competitive matches, Krisztian Nemeth has scored three goals in four games across all competitions while Andreu Fontas and Botond Barath have looked fine next to Matt Besler

Seattle Sounders

Two games, two wins, plus-5 goal differential. The Seattle Sounders heard your jokes about how slow they start. 

Like Sporting, it's not just the points they've accrued but the manner in which the wins have come. Their attack is balanced, complementary and downright frightening. Jordan Morris and Victor Rodriguez are almost secondary to Nico Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz. It's an embarrassment of riches. 

Seattle enjoyed a historic win streak over the second half of 2018 and have picked up right where they left off. They face just one club who made the playoffs last season over their next five games: the Sounders could still be Supporters' Shield leaders by mid-April. 

The only other team to start the season with two wins outside of Seattle and LAFC is Minnesota United, who have looked strong. Their opponents haven't been the strongest, though, so their upcoming matches against the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls will be ones to watch.


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