The soccer news starts with expectations in MLS. For FC Cincinnati, a quick start in their opening game led to an unnecessary reminder of the degree of difficulty. Expansion is tough. So is defending a title, something Atlanta went through at DC United. Neither of these extremes is news, necessarily. MLS isn't the type of league that regularly rewards the safe assumption.
Maybe you'd like to argue that LAFC is going to be stronger in the West than Sporting KC, but it's tough to put much weight into a week 1 stoppage time winner. What we have after the opening weekend is a slightly more nuanced set of questions for week 2.
Will FC Cincinnati recover?
Briefly in Seattle, it looked like Cincinnati could compete from the opening whistle. Plenty of people are already drawing a line between Cincinnati and the expansion successes in Atlanta and LA. As comfortable as a 4-1 loss makes that type of punditry, it's too soon. On the road as the opposition for Atlanta's home opener will be as well. Maybe even Cincinnati's opener against Portland. None of these are the types of teams Cincinnati should beat on their way to a playoff position. New England on March 24 and the Union at home on the 30 certainly are, games that count more towards showing us what kind of team Cincinnati is in their expansion season.
Atlanta United loses at DC
There's an argument that this is the biggest surprise from MLS week 1. Atlanta turned around their Champions League series and advanced, reminding MLS that they're still the team to beat. They followed that up by losing 2-0 at DC, putting 2 shots on target to DC's 6. Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan made it plain, saying "We weren’t great with the ball, we seemed to not be able to find the way to unlock their backline in terms of creating some chances. We weren’t as sharp as we can be. And they’re a good team." So is Monterrey, with Atlanta juggling the Champions League quarterfinals midweek.
Is Orlando City's point a disappointment?
Nani played the final 20 minutes for Orlando City in their 2-2 home draw with NYCFC. With him on the field, Orlando scored their second in a two-goal comeback in their opener. Instant replay denied a penalty that could've sent all three points Orlando's way. It's a toss up for whether needing that comeback or NYCFC giving up that lead is the bigger takeaway. We're going with the Orlando version of the story since they were the team at home and the latest to question an interesting VAR decision. Orlando coach James O'Connor now has an offseason behind him and a marquee addition. How he uses Nani should be their story. That became the point as soon as Nani joined the squad.
MLSsoccer's Matt Doyle reviews week 1. Pro Soccer USA's Emily Olsen with Don Garber's comments on the Galaxy's Designated Player situation that led to the Gio Dos Santos buyout. The LA Times' Dylan Hernandez reports on Efrain Alvarez's debut for the Galaxy. Yahoo Sports' Andy Deossa on how LAFC started year two in MLS.
The Independent's Jack Pitt-Brooke argues that Manchester City is once again the team to beat in the Premier League. The Daily Mail's Rob Draper relays new information from the Football Leaks that could mean problems for Manchester City. ESPN's Nick Miller's look at what happened in the Premier League. The Bolton News' Marc Iles reports on the latest with Bolton Wanderers' financial issues. The Guardian's Andy Brassell explains the situation for Schalke.
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