The 2021 MLS season has been interesting so far, to say the least. It only took two weeks for the league’s newest expansion side, Austin FC to notch their first victory in MLS. Coming off a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles FC in its first game, Austin FC fell behind just 34 minutes into their game at Colorado, through a goal from Andre Shinyashiki. That was all the joy Rapids fans would experience as the final 54 minutes belonged to Austin FC. History was made at the hour mark when Diego Fagundez scored the club’s first-ever goal. Seven minutes later, the club’s first-ever designated player, Cecilio Dominguez scored, giving Austin FC the lead. Dominguez put the final nail in the coffin just four minutes later when he notched his second goal of the game, ending any hopes of a Rapids comeback.
Only one club has come out of their first two matches with victories, the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy, one of the most successful clubs in league history, got off to their best start in years, collecting consecutive 3-2 wins over Inter Miami CF and New York Red Bulls, respectively. It could be said that the signing of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was the biggest in MLS history. However, the hype behind his arrival was not lived up to in 2020. Only tallying two goals last season, the pressure was on Chicharito to deliver in 2021. Deliver is what he has done. After scoring a brace in the win over Inter Miami to start the season, Chicharito netted a hat-trick, single-handedly taking care of the Red Bulls. His five goals through two games leads the league.
One of the biggest results of the weekend saw the 2020 Supporters Shield winners, the Philadelphia Union, fall at home to Inter Miami. The Union have failed to come away with a win so far this season. The same can be said for defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew. There are a few teams that have stunningly failed to taste victory this season. The New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and Minnesota United are three other clubs that join the previously mentioned Union and Crew as surprise winless teams.
The most anticipated match this weekend took place in Los Angeles, where LAFC hosted the Seattle Sounders. While it was a good game, it didn’t live up to the hype, especially since Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi were missing. Eduard Atuesta got things going just two minutes into the game, scoring on a free kick under the wall giving the home side the lead. The LAFC lead evaporated in the 54th minute on a beautiful header by Brad Smith, his first MLS goal. Other results this past weekend saw the San Jose Quakes knock off FC Dallas 3-2. Real Salt Lake kept Minnesota United winless with a 2-1 win. The Five Stripes of Atlanta United moved into a tie for the Eastern Conference lead with a 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire.
This week is also highlight by Concacaf Champions League play.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action, this third week of play.
Upcoming schedule (Subject to Change)
New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire – 1 p.m.
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City – 2 p.m.
Montreal vs. Columbus Crew – 3 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles FC – 3:30 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. Atlanta United – 7 p.m.
Orlando City SC vs. FC Cincinnati – 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC – 7:30 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers – 8 p.m.
Minnesota United vs. Austin FC – 8 p.m.
San Jose Quakes vs. D.C. United – 11 p.m.
Nashville SC vs. Inter Miami – 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy – 9 p.m. (FS1)
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado Rapids – 10 p.m.
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we take a look at the upcoming matches for FC Cincinnati as it heads south to face Orlando City.