Football Americana Week 1: Salt Lake off to a flying start



Rejoice, fellow mortals, for the seventeenth season of Major League Soccer has arrived at last. Week 1 didn't miss a beat, providing goals and excitement in abundance as the campaign got off to an entertaining start. If you're MLS-curious this is going to be the season for you.

Colorado Rapids hit the ground running with a 2-0 home win over Columbus Crew. Drew Moor was found all on his own by a brilliant Kosuke Kimura cross and powered his header home just before the break, and Quincy Amarikwa put the result beyond doubt late on with a top-corner screamer from 25 yards.

Montreal Impact suffered a baptism of fire in their first ever MLS game. The 2012 expansion club lost 2-0 to 2011 expansion club Vancouver Whitecaps, and the damage began early. In the 4th minute Eric Hassli combined with debutant Sebastien Le Toux, who calmly ran on to score his first Caps goal. Camilo doubled the lead with an excellent solo goal, tricking his way through the Impact defence and finishing at the end of a wonderful incisive passing move.do

Sporting Kansas City stole a late win at RFK Stadium. After a goalless 90 minutes against DC United, Kansas City turned one point into three in stoppage time. Hamdi Salihi missed United's best chance in the middle of the second half and was made to rue his profligacy when CJ Sapong headed past Bill Hamid in the third minute of stoppage time.

One goal was enough to see San Jose Earthquakes past New England Revolution, and almost inevitably it was scored by Chris Wondolowski. Shea Salinas intercepted a loose ball in the middle of the park and slotted Wondolowski through on goal, where he finished comfortably past Matt Reis after quarter of an hour.

2009 champions Real Salt Lake met 2011 winners LA Galaxy in California and picked up a surprising opening day win, defeating Bruce Arena's men 3-1. All four goals came in the last 20 minutes and it was LA who struck first, with returning striker Edson Buddle nodding past Nick Rimando from a trademark David Beckham cross. RSL took just a couple of minutes to equalise through Sean Franklin's sliced clearance past his own goalkeeper, and from there on in it was Salt Lake all the way.

They took the lead 11 minutes from time, with Javier Morales reacting fastest after Ned Grabavoy's low cross caused problems on the penalty spot. Number three was scored by Fabian Espindola, who raided down the left-hand channel and fired the ball low past Josh Saunders in the LA goal.

New York Red Bulls started their season with the usual expectations and a poor result, going down 2-1 at FC Dallas. Zach Loyd swept the ball past debutant goalkeeper Ryan Meara after the Red Bulls failed to clear their lines after a free kick. Just before half time, Thierry Henry took a free kick quickly (Aston Villa fans will remember that particular trick) and justice intervened as it hit the foot of the post. Ricardo Villar made it 2-0 on the hour mark with a delightful finish over the top of Meara. New York's 78th minute goal was a lovely lob against his old club by substitute Kenny Cooper.

Like DC, Chivas USA succumbed to a last-ditch winner at home against Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo were fortunate not to be behind after an ingenious effort from Juan Pablo Angel had struck the post, and they made Chivas pay (after hitting the post themselves through Brian Ching) in the 92nd minute. Andre Hainault had remained in the Chivas box after a set piece and took advantage when the ball dropped to him in the box.

There was a goalscoring Portland Timbers debut for Kris Boyd, who scored in a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia Union in Monday night's Oregon rain. Gabriel Gomez scored first for Philly, sending a long free kick into a perfect area and benefiting from a touch from Jean Baptiste. He quickly made amends with an equaliser, but he was also helped by a defensive error. Boyd's brilliant glanced header made it 2-1 to the Timbers after 66 minutes and Khalif Alhassan scored the third with a chipped cross-cum-shot that made its way inside the far post.

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