Five new coaches stepped into their new roles on the first Saturday of the MLS season. Four of them posted victories. The other lost to another of the fellow debutantes.
In the realm of first impressions, this collective opening ranks near the top of the charts. Columbus’ Gregg Berhalter and Real Salt Lake’s Jeff Cassar both registered away victories in their first matches in charge. Vancouver coach Carl Robinson directed his retooled side to a comprehensive victory over Supporters’ Shield holders New York at B.C. Place. And returning FC Dallas hero Oscar Pareja found his side on the favorable side of a five-goal thriller with Montréal and its new supremo Frank Klopas in Frisco.
The three remaining coaches left to debut – Chicago’s Frank Yallop will guide the Fire against Chivas USA’s Wilmer Cabrera in southern California on Sunday, while newly appointed Colorado boss Pablo Mastroeni must wait until next weekend to take his bow – will hope for similar success when their charges take the field.
LA Galaxy 0 – Real Salt Lake 1
RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando capped his man-of-the-match display by repelling a late Robbie Keane penalty kick to secure all three points in Carson, Calif. Joao Plata scored the only goal of the game by beating the Galaxy offside trap and slotting home a Kyle Beckerman pass 10 minutes from time. Keane stood over a chance to equalize in second-half stoppage time after Tony Beltran fouled Rob Friend, but Rimando intervened to give Jeff Cassar a victory in his first match in charge.
Vancouver 4 – New York 1
Vancouver mustered a stirring performance in Carl Robinson’s first match in charge to dispatch the Red Bulls at B.C. Place. The home side punished the Supporters’ Shield holders for leaving Thierry Henry and Jámison Olave back in New Jersey with a vibrant display from the outset. Kenny Miller struck twice to lead the Whitecaps’ efforts with alluring imports Sebastián Fernández and Pedro Morales also on the scoresheet. Bradley Wright-Phillips headed home a late consolation goal for the visitors.
D.C. United 0 – Columbus 3
Columbus produced a fluid and incisive display in Gregg Berhalter’s first match to sweep aside United at RFK Stadium. Jairo Arrieta opened the scoring by completing a comprehensive and devastating sequence in the 18th minute. Federico Higuain then scored twice to punctuate his influential all-around display and secure the result for the Crew.
FC Dallas 3 – Montréal 2
Oscar Pareja marked his first match in charge of FC Dallas with a victory after Mauro Diaz curled home a magnificent free kick shortly after halftime to separate the sides in Frisco, Texas. Sanna Nyassi opened the scoring for the Impact inside the first 10 minutes, but FCD strung together three unanswered goals – the first two by Fabián Castillo and Blas Pérez before Diaz’s winner – to take control of the game. Andrew Wenger placed the result in doubt by pulling a goal back, but Frank Klopas’ side could not procure the equalizer despite concerted pressure in the waning stages.
Portland 1 – Philadelphia 1
Gastón Fernández completed his debut by popping up at the back stick to turn home the equalizer in the final moments of this draw at Providence Park. Fernández’s late intervention offered a harsh rebuke to an impressive Union side that showed off its retooled midfield in the rainy conditions. Jack McInerney nodded home Maurice Edu’s flick from close range to stake the Union to a narrow lead, but Fernández responded at the death to earn a share of the spoils.
Houston 4 – New England 0
Will Bruin collected two goals and an assist during a rampant Dynamo opening period to allow the home side to coast to victory at BBVA Compass Stadium. Bruin pounced twice inside the first 15 minutes before Boniek Garcia made it three inside the first 25 minutes. New England improved after that juncture and hit the woodwork twice, but the Dynamo navigated through the second half and reaped the benefits when Omar Cummings deflected home in the 90th minute.
Seattle staged yet another late show against Sporting to claim all three points in the first match of the MLS campaign at CenturyLink Field. Chad Barrett bundled home in the final seconds to conclude the scrappy affair by handing the home side all three points.