MLS Week 2 Review: Atlanta win at home, open with record attendance

Week 2 is in the books for most teams in Major League Soccer and there was plenty to talk about, most notably Atlanta United FC breaking the single-game attendance record, overtaking the record they themselves had set last season.

The Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC, San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas, and Seattle Sounders FC were not involved in this weekend's action due to TFC and the Sounders' involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Atlanta 3 - 1 D.C. United

Atlanta were close to unstoppable in Week 2 | Source:
Atlanta were close to unstoppable in Week 2 | Source:

The best way to bounce back from a heavy defeat is to win and win convincingly. Atlanta did just that this weekend against D.C. United in front of a record-breaking attendance that broke the record the same stadium set last season. Atlanta scored three goals in a 3-1 win over their opponents but it honestly could have been more with the number of times they cut through the D.C. defense throughout the game. The home side took a deserved lead in the 24th minute after a great breakaway allowed Héctor Villalba to burst down the right-hand side before picking out Josef Martínez with a lovely weighted pass. The fans had to wait until later in the second half for more goals but the wait was well worth it when Miguel Almirón picked out the top corner from outside the box in the 73rd minute. Two minutes later and Atlanta was up by the three after a well-worked corner found Villalba who looped his header over the goalkeeper and into the net. D.C. got a consolation goal through Darren Mattocks in the 86th minute but by then, it was too little too late for the visitors and they succumbed to their first defeat of the season.

After a poor showing in their first game of the season, Atlanta returned to the form that saw them delight neutrals in the league last season and put on a great performance for anyone watching. The lone goal they let through still shows that their defense can have momentary lapses but their attack seems to be razor sharp once again. D.C. United have not seemingly made any changes from their bad campaign last season and the issues that they had then do not seem to have been addressed in the offseason. They will need to improve quickly in order to avoid another abysmal season.

RSL 1 - 5 LAFC

Picking up from their huge away win in Seattle, Los Angeles FC continued to keep the 'hype' going by coming back from 1-0 down against Real Salt Lake and ending up with an emphatic 5-1 win away from home. RSL that opened the scoring in the 20th minute after Dejan Jakovic had given away the penalty. Joao Plata stepped up and had his penalty saved by Tyler Miller but got to his rebound first and converted into an empty net. It didn't take long for LAFC to respond through Diego Rossi in the 30th minute when he was played through by a great ball from Marco Ureña. LAFC wasn't done yet and after some lovely interplay between Carlos Vela, Ureña, Rossi and Steven Beitashour, Latif Blessing was on hand to put LAFC on hand from close range. Both Beitashour and Blessing seemed to be offside during that 33rd-minute goal but the officials did not use VAR to determine that and the goal stood. Beitashour proved the be the supplier once again in the 47th minute when he bombed down the right flank before picking out Benny Feilhaber who tucked the ball away for LAFC's third of the day. LAFC was too much for a porous RSL defense and both Rossi and Vela added two more goals before the match ended, giving LAFC another solid victory on the road.

Plenty will be said about how well LAFC attack but some focus must be shone on RSL. If Nick Rimando was not as brilliant as he is, RSL would be shipping goals at a regular rate every single game. This weekend, Rimando was powerless to stop the goals that LAFC produced because his defense left him exposed time and time again. If RSL has any playoff aspirations, they cannot keep giving away opportunities like this because there's only so much Rimando can do. As for LAFC, the coaching staff is trying to keep everyone calm with the start they have had but you can't help but draw comparisons to the blistering start that Atlanta made last season. More performances like this and the hype will become rooted in a lot of factual evidence.

NYRB 4 - 0 Portland

The New York Red Bulls started off their season this weekend and picked up a big 4-0 win over the visiting Portland Timbers FC. The game started off brilliantly for the Red Bulls as MLS debutant Ben Mines scored his first professional goal for the club in the 18th minute. The goal came after an exhilarating move which featured Carlos Rivas, Derrick Etienne, and Alejandro Gamarra before the 17-year-old got onto the end of the pass for the goal. Samuel Armenteros should have put Portland back in the game in the 31st minute after being put through and being one-on-one with the goalkeeper but the loanee sent his effort well wide of the goal. Dairon Asprilla had the next opportunity to put Portland back on level terms but Luis Robles was at his acrobatic best and kept the header out of his net in the 63rd minute. The Red Bulls got their second of the game when Sean Davis was the first to get a touch on a corner kick in the 78th minute and Bradley Wright-Phillips was quickest to react to then nod the ball home. Wright-Phillips made it three in the 80th minute with a cool finish past Jake Gleeson and Rivas got the goal his play deserved in the stoppage time.

Full credit must go the Red Bulls who took the opportunity to rest some players due to their Champions League commitments but still had enough in them to sweep Portland away with relative ease. Portland's new chapter has yet to start under head coach Giovanni Savarese and it may be early days yet but so far, Portland has yet to see any improvement from the team that let previous head coach Caleb Porter go in the offseason.

Orlando 1 - 2 Minnesota

After struggling to cope in the league last season and a difficult opening day loss, Minnesota United FC showed grit to come away with an important 2-1 win away to Orlando City SC. Ethan Finlay started things off in the 11th minute after he was played through by Kevin Molina and gave Minnesota the lead. VAR played a large role in the next goal after the referee had initially awarded a free kick to Orlando just outside the Minnesota penalty area. The review showed that Richie Laryea had been fouled initially inside the box by Finlay and Yoshimar Yotún brought Orlando level in the 42nd minute with a well-placed penalty. After a few scares in their own half, Minnesota took the lead in the 79th minute when Miguel Ibarra found Finlay unmarked inside the area. Orlando almost drew level again as the game wound down but Ibson was on hand to clear off the line in the 89th minute to preserve the lead.

Minnesota will come away from Orlando with a sense of renewed self-belief after their tough loss in Week 1. It may have been a battle to hang on to all three points at the end of the match but they did what they had to do to pick up a solid away win. They will, however, have to deal without the services of Molina who suffered a season-ending injury during the game. Orlando still has key players set to return to their starting lineup but they have not managed to pick up three points in the two home games they have played so far. They will be looking to address that as soon as possible.

Quick hits

Chicago 3 - 4 Sporting KC: The Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City served up a goal fest for viewers. The visitors took the lead in the 9th minute thanks to Felipe Gutiérrez and Johnny Russell extended their lead just before halftime. The break allowed the Fire to regroup and Aleksander Katai pulled one back for them in the 70th minute. Nemanja Nikolić must have thought he had won it for his team with two goals in the 74th and 82nd minutes but Sporting KC dug deep and picked up all three points thanks to goals by Jimmy Medranda and Gutiérrez once again in the 83rd and 86th minutes.

NYCFC 2 - 1 LA Galaxy: New York City FC continued their good start to the season with a home win against LA Galaxy. Anton Tinnerhold scored the opening goal in the 22nd minute and then David Villa put NYCFC two up with a goal in the 33rd minute. The Galaxy tried to fight back and grabbed a goal in the 69th minute thanks to Jonathan dos Santos but it wasn't enough to get at least a point from this game.

Columbus 3 - 2 Montreal: After shocking the current champions last week, Columbus Crew SC got another big win against the Montreal Impact. Federico Higuaín scored from the spot in the 12th minute and Gyasi Zardes gave the hosts a two-goal lead three minutes later. Ignacio Piatti began Montreal's comeback with a goal in the 59th minute and Raheem Edwards must've thought he had saved the game for the Impact in the 85th minute but it was not to be. Zardes stepped up deep into stoppage time to convert another penalty for Columbus and ensure that they started the season with two straight victories.

Houston 1 - 2 Vancouver: The Houston Dynamo could not follow their impressive performance in Week 1 with another win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Kei Kamara gave the Whitecaps the first goal of the game after converting a 28th-minute penalty only for Alberth Elis to put Houston on level terms ten minutes later. Brek Shea got his first goal of the season in the 49th minute and it ended being the game-winning goal as Houston could not find another goal within themselves.

New England 2 - 1 Colorado: It took a last-gasp winner from Chris Tierney to hand Brad Freidel his first win of the season. Diego Fagundez had put the New England Revolution in front in the 48th minute after a scoreless first half but the Colorado Rapids came back into the game thanks to a 66th-minute goal by Niki Jackson. With a draw looking like the likely result, Tierney stepped up to take a free-kick with barely any time left and proceeded to curl it past the goalkeeper and into the net.