MLS Week 3 Review: Portland Timbers and Atlanta United FC remain perfect
The Timbers are sitting pretty at the top of the Western conference | Source: Brandon Farris - VAVEL USA

MLS Week 3 Review: Portland Timbers and Atlanta United FC remain perfect

Sitting at the top of their respective conferences, the Portland Timbers and Atlanta United FC remain the teams to beat.

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Kudzi Musarurwa

With only two teams left with a perfect start to the season, Week 3 in Major League Soccer saw Portland Timbers and Atlanta United FC continue to soar while last season's MLS Cup finalists, Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC sent out warning shots to the rest of the league. Lastly, Minnesota United FC showed signs of life against the Colorado Rapids.

Atlanta are the team to watch in the MLS right now

If you're looking for a fluid attacking and plenty of goals, Atlanta United are providing those in full. One of the two teams to join the MLS this season, Atlanta have thrived on the big stage and continue to thrill their supporters both home and away. This weekend, the home side were in fine form as they blew the Chicago Fire away in a 4-0 win at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Atlanta started quickly, getting an own goal off of Chicago defender Brandon Vincent in the fourth minute and things got worse for Chicago after that. Johan Kappelhof was sent off in the 11th minute for bringing down Josef Martinez and Atlanta made sure to take advantage of that red card. Martinez stole the show once again as he grabbed a brace in the 60th and 82nd minute while Hector Villaba got his first goal of the season in between Martinez' brace.

A big first home win was the order of the day for Atlanta | Source: atlutd.com
A big first home win was the order of the day for Atlanta | Source: atlutd.com

Atlanta sits on top of the Eastern conference table and looks to remain in that position for as long as possible. They face the Sounders next week in what could be the match of the season, yes even this early on, as two very good teams go toe-to-toe. The Fire dropped down to seventh with this loss but will be buoyed by the news of the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger into their ranks. Chicago will face the Montreal Impact next and will hope that the German could play a role in that game.

The Timbers rule the West

The top two teams in the Western conference, the Portland Timbers, and the Houston Dynamo went head-to-head and it was the Timbers that rallied and found a way to beat their visitors by four goals to two in an enthralling match. The scoring started with both Diego Valeri and Eric Torres converting their penalties in the 11th and 38th minutes respectively after some interesting handball calls by referee Allen Chapman. The half ended with Romell Quioto putting Houston ahead as the teams were about to head into the half-time break. The second half was all Portland, though. Valeri was at it again with his second goal of the game in the 58th minute, David Guzman then scored the potential game-winner in the 66th minute before Fanendo Adi ended the scoring with a flourish in the 88th minute.

Valeri continues to lead the Timbers to their great start to the season and also seems to have found a knack for headed goals, now scoring two in two games in a row. The defeat for Houston leaves them in third with the Timbers staying in first in the Western conference but the quality in attack for the Dynamo will no doubt have them pushing back up the table soon.

Minnesota find their footing against Colorado

It has been a tough introduction into the MLS for Minnesota United as they suffered two heavy defeats to start their campaign but they can take heart from their 2-2 draw against the Rapids. Things did not start well for the home team as the Rapids drew first blood through Dominique Badji in the 17th minute however Kevin Molino's penalty drew them level in the 50th minute. Christian Ramirez then gave Minnesota the lead in the 58th minute but a lapse in concentration allowed Marlon Hairston to equalize for Colorado one minute later. Minnesota was then forced to defend with 10 men after Justin Davies was sent off in the 70th minute and they did just that to hang on to their first point of the season.

It was a big point for Minnesota after picking up nothing from their first two games but their lack of defensive stability will continue to be a worry. they have now conceded 13 goals in three games and that cannot continue if the team wants to move away from the bottom of the Western conference. Colorado sits in seventh now, and their lack of goal scoring threat will have eased slightly after scoring only their second and third goals of the season in this match. More will be expected from one of the premier teams in the MLS as the season rumbles on.

The Sounders are back in full flight

The Sounders picked up their first win of the 2017 season | Source: Francine Scott- VAVEL USA
The Sounders picked up their first win of the 2017 season | Source: Francine Scott- VAVEL USA

After instances of their quality in their two previous games, the Seattle Sounders showed their class in front of a sold-out crowd in Seattle against the New York Red Bulls in a 3-1 victoryJordan Morris, who was a constant threat, earned the Sounders a penalty after closing down Damien Perrinelle's poor backpass. Clint Dempsey stepped and placed his penalty right down the middle to give the Sounders the lead in the 28th minute. The half ended with Seattle only up by one but it should have been more as Morris, in particular, spurned a host of chances during that half. Bradley Wright-Phillips pulled the Red Bulls level in the 57th minute with a great header but Morris was on hand to make up for his earlier misses and capitalized on a good pass in the 66th minute by Nicolás Lodeiro to head home from close range. Harry Shipp then wrapped things up for Seattle with a nifty little touch to divert Joevin Jones' shot into the goal in the 79th minute.

The Red Bulls were sloppy in the attacking half and their defense was exposed time and time again by Seattle's pace and their trickery out wide. The two Seattle full backs, in particular, Jones and Oniel Fisher had great games and constantly provided Seattle with options out wide to spread the Red Bulls' defense. New York will be happy to see Wright-Phillps open his account for the season but will look to try and have their young backline adapt more quickly to the pace of the league if they want to make the playoffs once again.

No Giovinco, no problem for TFC

The other MLS Cup finalist, Toronto FC, were away at rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC and it was the Canadian team from the east coast that came out on top with a 2-0 win, partly due to Brek Shea's sending off in the 70th minute for dissent. Toronto was without Sebastian Giovinco for this game due to injury but they managed to find a way to win without their star player. The game seemed to be heading for a goalless draw until Shea's sending off and Greg Vanney 's side wasted no time in punishing Vancouver with their man advantage. Víctor Vázquez was on hand to nod home Jozy Altidore's lay-off in the 76th minute and the striker capped off the win with a goal in the 80th minute where he turned his defender and put the ball away into the far netting.

Source: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
Víctor Vázquez was a difference-maker for Toronto | Source: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

The talk of the game will be on Shea's indiscipline as that allowed Toronto to take over the game but special mention must be made of Vanney's substitutions. Vázquez and Raheem Edwards were at the heart of Toronto's first goal and provided a different and more effective threat than that of the players they replaced. Vancouver will want to figure out where their fluidity has gone. A midweek game certainly did not help matters but the home side looked lethargic all game long and Fredy Montero received minimal service throughout his time on the field.

Quick hits

The New England Revolution continue to struggle as they went down to 2-1 loss away at FC Dallas. The FC Dallas fans have a new hero however as Max Urruti is coming to the fore in the MLS after playing poorly for the Timbers previously.

The LA Galaxy picked up their first win of the season, thanks to Kyle Beckerman being sent off int the first half, earning themselves a 2-1 away win at Real Salt Lake. Injuries continue to plague the Galaxy but this win will go a long way in convincing their team that they can overcome those injuries. Real Salt Lake are also now without a head coach as Jeff Cassar was fired after the game.

Two penalties gave Columbus Crew SC the win against D.C. United in a closely fought match. Columbus now sits in sixth after their first win of the season while D.C. United are in tenth. The return of Luciano Acosta could change that for D.C. as they have missed their playmaker during the first two games of the season.

Orlando City SC played their first game of the season without Kaká and they managed to find enough goals to win 2-1 against the Philadelphia Union at home. Cyle Larin has stepped up in Kaká's absence and both he and Carlos Rivas were at the heart of all that City did right. The Union started off slowly but were equal to Orlando in the second half and were unfortunate to not come away with a point from the game.

Benny Feilhaber hit the goal of the week and placed himself in the running for goal of the season with his terrific 37th-minute effort in Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win over the San Jose EarthquakesFlorian Jungwirth got one back for San Jose but it was too late to make a difference in the game.

The wind played a factor in the 1-1 draw between New York City FC and the Montreal Impact. Rodney Wallace and Dominic Oduro, who was back in the starting lineup for Montreal, were the goal scorers on the day.

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