In a cutthroat league like MLS, where bad starts often set teams off on a detrimental course, it's never too early in the season for collars to feel a little tight.
With just one round in the books, there are already a handful of teams under some amount of pressure to break into the 2020 win column. Which clubs should be feeling the most heat heading into the weekend? We've got some ideas.
To put it mildly, the first game of the post-LuchaRoo era was one to forget for the capital crew. D.C. created enough excellent chances to open up a lead on Colorado, but could only finish one of them and eventually gave the points away late. The Black-and-Red are fortunate enough to remain home to tackle new kids Inter Miami this weekend. Anything less than a win should be out of the question for Ben Olsen & Co.
The MLS debut of Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez did not come off with the bang the Galaxy wanted, as they settled for a 1-1 share of the points at Houston. The visitors were generally outplayed by a decent margin after Cristian Pavon's stunning 13th-minute opener, but Week 2 will offer a great opportunity for this team to demonstrate it has the right stuff to challenge in the West. The Galaxy will be clear favorites over Vancouver, and the home fans will definitely expect a show from Chicharito and the boys.
New York City FC
An early hard-luck red card put NYCFC behind the eight ball on opening day, and home side Columbus made the play needed to grab the points. Okay, fine, that will happen. Now the title contenders must hit the road again to face a foe that has been routinely aggravating since the 2016 playoffs: Toronto FC.
With a huge Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal tie against Tigres set to kick off next week, the last thing Ronny Deila’s squad will want is to start the MLS season 0-2, especially against a Reds side missing key players.
After laying an egg against visiting conference foe Minnesota United in Week 1, the Timbers get an immediate chance to make it up to their home fans this weekend. Expansion outfit Nashville SC will come to town, and a victory is imperative if Portland are to reset the early tone of their season before heading out for tough tasks away to New England and Supporters Shield holders LAFC.
They struggled in the opener with final third efficiency and, even more so, transition defense. These aspects could well tell their story again against a team likely to concede the majority of possession.
Real Salt Lake
Of the teams on this list, RSL are probably feeling the least amount of pressure heading into Week 2. Even so, they are coming off a drab 0-0 result that saw them manage just one shot on Orlando City's frame. Some rather odd positional choices by new boss Freddy Juarez certainly didn't help their cause.
The good news is Real Salt Lake now return home (where they've won 11 of their last 14 league games) to face a Red Bulls team that looked rather error-prone and leaky in the second half of their opening day win over FC Cincinnati. "Nothing less than a victory" should be Saturday's mantra, as RSL will play away in three of the next four rounds.