Opening Weekend Recap

We beat New York! Wait, so did everyone last year...

We beat New York! Wait, so did everyone last year...

The first weekend of the 2009 season has come and gone, but there were plenty of story lines. Here are the five biggest stories after Week 1!

5. Away Teams Start Strong

  • In 2008 away squads did not fair nearly as well as those on their home pitch. Away squads had an appalling 47 wins and 106 losses with 57 draws — a .224 winning percentage, compared to home teams who posted a .505 winning percentage. The first weekend in 2009, though close to an even split, saw the away squads holding the upper hand, going  3-2-2 (W-D-L) in the 7 contests.

4. Most Start Similar to ’08

  • If your squad played well in ’08, there’s a good chance they were one of the strong teams this past weekend and if they were terrible, well you can see where I’m going with this. Reigning champs Chicago started off with a with a 3-1 drubbing of FC Dallas and despite a championship game appearance, New York was pretty awful during the ’08 regular season and started off just as bad in ’09, losing to the expansion Seattle Sounders, 3-0.

3. New Schedule Means Bye Weeks

  • Now that there are 15 squads participating in the 2009 MLS season, the league now has to deal with one squad not participating each week. How will it affect teams? First to find out: Real Salt Lake. Will the squad play as strong as it did last season or will it drop its opener against expansion Seattle coming off its week one victory?

2. Goals-a-Plenty For Top Stars

  • Landon Donovan was one of five players, including KC breakout Davy Arnaud and Seattle stud Fredy Montero, to post two goals opening weekend. Donovan, coming off a 20-goal season for LA — tops in 2008 — looks to be the leading force for a Galaxy squad without the services of middy David Beckham until July 1. Dallas’ Kenny Cooper — 2008’s league #2 scorer — put his name in the “Top Goals of 2009” hat with his spectacular goal, scoring from past midfield in the 9th minute. Arnaud has gone from league’s best-kept secret to superstar and Montero may not be in Seattle long if he keeps playing at his current level.

1. Expand Your Mind, MLS!

  • The new expansion squad in Seattle definitely impressed in its debut match. Besides Montero’s 2 goal, 1 assist performance, Seattle played a fantastic overall game, pounding on the Red Bulls from New York, 3-0. Qwest Field also proved to be a rather loud and intimidating local for the game as players had to ask coaches to use hand signals to relay information due to the volume of the crowd. Let’s hope Philly (2010), Portland (2011) and Vancouver (2011) prove to have the same type of atmosphere in each team’s inaugural season.

After a great opening weekend, we here at Philadelphia Soccer News can’t wait to see what happens this weekend. If you want some more soccer insight, check out the weekly Power Rankings by the folks over at ESPNSoccerNet. Always keeping the nation up to date on MLS news!


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