MLS week two is upon us with more historic games and exciting early season match-ups to come.
Major League Soccer’s two new franchises will meet head-to-head Saturday at 5:00 PM EST in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Minnesota United’s home-opener. Both teams will be looking to bounce back from week one losses and gain the first points in club history on the league table. Organization at the back was an issue in week one for Minnesota, as they were torn-apart in the second half against Portland in their 5-1 opening-night loss. Atlanta kept it closer in their home opener and almost beat a solid New York Red Bulls team but were unable to keep a 1-0 lead, giving up two goals in the final 15 minutes to lose 2-1. Atlanta United is definitely the favorite here despite their week one loss. They have more depth, they look more organized, and it seems at this point in the season they are an all-around better team than Minnesota.
FC Dallas and Vancouver have games on Saturday with a quick turnaround to CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) matches on the 14th and 15th. FC Dallas travels to Kansas City after winning their week one match at Los Angeles, but will need to take care of their players as they host Mexican powerhouse Pachuca on Wednesday. Vancouver will travel to San Jose on Saturday needing to be extremely aware of squad fitness and rotation, as they make the long trip to Nuevo Leon, Mexico on Tuesday for their CCL match. It will be a challenge in itself to keep each competition from affecting the other, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one or both teams drop points this week as they look to be the first MLS team ever to win the CCL.
Houston will host Columbus Crew SC after an impressive week-one win against the Seattle Sounders. Houston looked much more organized than last season in their debut, and Erick “Cubo” Torres and Romell Quioto added a much needed (and long awaited) offensive spark to the Dynamo’s attack.
There are also many things happening off the field after the first week in MLS. FC Dallas has announced that any time an FC Dallas player is sold to another club, 1 percent of the portion of the sale retained by FC Dallas will be automatically distributed amongst season ticket holders. This will increase the club’s interaction with the fans, and provide more of a link between club and season-ticket holder. They have asked fans to tweet their plans for the cash they receive with the hashtag “#Cashtillo” after club superstar Fabian Castillo was sold to Turkish side Trabzonspor last summer.
Finally, the MLS announced that it will partner with Univision Deportes and Facebook to show at least 22 matches on Univision’s Facebook page in English beginning with Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire on March 18 at 4 PM EST. These live-streamed games will include live chat, polls, and commentary to provide the most interactive watching experience that the MLS has ever provided. Also, they will release 40 exclusive “Matchday Live” shows on MLS game days. The first one aired last week. All of this is an attempt to give more of an interactive experience to fans and boost their role in the league.