The first week of MLS 2011 held true to US Soccer Examiner predictions with Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy, DC United, Vancouver Whitecaps, Philadelphia Union, and Chivas USA coming up strong.
Sporting Kansas City surprised in a 3-2 win over improving Chivas with two goals from Mexican designated player Omar Bravo, who won MLS Player of the Week for his efforts. Returning Charlie Davies also contributed two goals to DC United’s 3-1 win over Columbus Crew.
1. Real Salt Lake: (1-0-0, 3 pts., +1) Real Salt Lake defeated San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on the road. Kyle Beckerman assisted by Javier Morales scored the lone goal in the 63rd minute. This Saturday, RSL will be more challenged when they host the Galaxy in their season opener at Rio Tinto.
2. LA Galaxy: (1-1-0, 4 pts., +1) The Galaxy shut out Seattle 1-0 in the 2011 League season opener, but only managed to tie New England 1-1 in their home opener. Juninho scored the lone goal in Seattle and also the equalizer at Home Deport. That goal would have been the game winner if referee Hilario Grajeda had not called back Juninho’s first goal in the 16th minute, citing an invisible foul on goalkeeper Matt Reis.
3. Vancouver Whitecaps: (1-0-0, 3 pts., +2) The Whitecaps shook up MLS with the most goals (4) scored in a 2011 season opener with the 4-2 win over visiting Canadian rival Toronto FC . New designated player Eric Hassli scored the first and fourth goals and Terry Dunfield and Attiba Harris scored the other two. Vancouver play their first road game this Saturday when they visit Phildelphia.
4. DC United: (1-0-0, 3 pts., +2) DC United defeated Columbus 3-1 with two goals from Charlie Davies (one a penalty) and the go-ahead goal from Josh Wolf. DC play their first 2011 road game versus New England and their notorious nine-man defense.
5. New York Red Bulls: (1-0-0, 3 pts., +1) NY Red Bulls shut out Seattle 1-0 with a 71st minute goal from Juan Agudelo. This week they this visit Columbus.
6. Philadelphia Union: (1-0-0, 3 pts., +1) The Union shut out Houston 1-0 with an unexpected goal from Danny Califf. This week Philly host Vancouver for what could be a wake-up call.
7. Colorado Rapids: (1-0-0, 3 pts., +2) The Rapids started the season with more style than they showed in the 2010 Championship and defeated expansion Portland with goals from Jeff Larentowicz, Omar Cummings, and Jamie Smith. This Saturday they visit Chivas for a bigger challenge.
8: Sporting Kansas City: (1-0-0, 3 pts., +1) SKC surprised host Chivas 3-2 and a lot of other people with two goals from designated player Omar Bravo and C.J. Sapong. Bravo won the first 2011 MLS Player of the Week for the achievement. SKC could surprise again when they visit Chicago this Saturday.
9. FC Dallas: (0-1-0, 1 pt., 0) Host Dallas only managed a 1-1 tied with Chicago with the equalizer coming from Milton Rodriguez, assisted by Zach Lloyd. This week FCD need to win the home game versus San Jose for credibility.
10: Chivas USA: (0-0-1, 0 pts., -1) Chivas lost their first 2011 match a respectable 2-3 to Sporting Kansas City. Jimmy Conrad and Ben Zemanski scored the goals. This Saturday, Chivas face an even bigger challenge, 2010 Champion Colorado Rapids.
11. Seattle Sounders: (0-0-2, 0 pts., -2) The Sounders lost both their first two games, 1-0 to LA and 1-0 to New York. They likely will get their first win this Friday versus Houston.
12. Columbus Crew: (0-0-1, 0 pts., -2) The Crew lost 3-1 to DC United with Robbie Rogers spoiling the shut-out. This Saturday they host NYRB.
13. Chicago Fire: (0-1-0, 0 pts., 0) Chicago tied Dallas 1-1 on the road, not bad. Diego Chaves scored. This Saturday the Fire face KC for a comparable challenge.
14. Toronto FC: (0-0-1, 0 pts., -2) Toronto lost 4-2 to expansion Vancouver but scored two goals, which can’t be discounted. Dwayne De Rosario notched the first, the 8,000th MLS goal, and Maicon Santos scored the second.
15. New England Revolution: (0-1-0, 1 pt., 0) New England tied LA on the road with a third-minute goal from Shalrie Joseph in the pouring rain and this Saturday host DC United.
16. Houston Dynamo: (0-0-1, 0 pts., -1) Houston lost 1-0 at home to Philadelphia and this Friday will get schooled at Seattle.
17. San Jose Earthquakes: (0-0-1, 0 pts., -1) The Quakes lost 1-0 at home to Real Salt Lake and this Saturday probably will lose on the road at Dallas.
18. Portland Timbers: (0-0-1, 0 pts., -2) The Timbers lost 3-1 to host Colorado with the redeeming goal from Kenny Cooper. This week they visit TFC.
FOLLOW US SOCCER EXAMINER AND LE EISENMENGER ON TWITTER AND SUBSCRIBE TO EMAIL ALERTS.