Major League Soccer kicked off it’s 24th season on March 2nd, with ten games played on the opening day. 2019 had a strong opening day with several debutants, players returning to the pitch from injury, and even history being made.
One of the highlights of the 2019 opening day was Toronto FC beating Philadelphia Union 2-1 at Talen Energy Stadium, coming as a shock to not just Union fans but MLS fans in general. Before this game, Toronto FC did not have a great preseason, with the Canadian side struggling immensely in the CONCACAF Champions league (CCL). Despite crashing out of the CCL, Toronto managed to win in the club’s first game of the season, which an impressive feat playing the first game away from home. Could we see Toronto FC turn around this season and make another MLS Cup run?
Toronto FC’s away win wasn’t not the only away win we got treated to on Saturday. Montreal Impact traveled to San Jose, with the visitors beating the Earthquakes 2-1. This was San Jose’s first game under new manager Matias Almeyda, and it looks like Almeyda will have to wait to get a win with his new club.
In Vancouver, the Whitecaps suffered the club’s first loss of the season when visitors Minnesota United put three goals past the Canadian side. Vancouver would score two consolation goals, but the team’s late comeback wasn’t enough to win the game.
MLS Opening day 2019 saw several players making their MLS debut, including former Manchester United winger Nani making his debut for Orlando City SC, notching an assist against in the club’s 2-2 draw against New York City FC. Spanish midfielder and Designated Player Carles Gil made his MLS debut for the New England Revolution in a 1-1 draw away against FC Dallas, scoring a debut goal to award the Revolution a point in the first game of the season. In Los Angeles, LA Galaxy made history by giving 16 year old Efrain Alvarez his professional debut, helping his team make a second half comeback against the Chicago Fire, providing an assist and a key role in the game winning goal, scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Efrain is the youngest ever player to feature for the LA Galaxy.
In Seattle Jordan Morris made his return to the pitch after missing the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL, the 24 year old forward celebrated his return by scoring two goals against FC Cincinnati, spoiling the club’s first ever MLS game. Seattle would win the club’s first game of the season 4-1.
Meanwhile in Denver, the Colorado Rapids faced off against the MLS Cup 2018 runner ups Portland Timbers in what is now the coldest game in MLS history. Dubbed by social media as the “#SnowClasico3”, the temperature in Denver was recorded at 18 degrees Fahrenheit At the time of kickoff. The only time it was colder than that was when Atlanta United faced off against Minnesota United on two separate occasions: once on March 12, 2017 and again on March 31st, 2018. The Colorado Rapids were down to 10 men and still inspired a miraculous comeback, with the game ending in a 3-3 scoreline.
With an action packed opening day like this one, the 2019 MLS season looks to rival the 2018 season.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org