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Hold up with those snap conclusions after MLS Week 1

Mar 5, 2013, 8:15 AM EDT

New York Red Bulls v Portland Timbers Getty Images

Thirty minutes into the 2013 MLS season, the Philadelphia Union looked like world beaters. Sebastien Le Toux and Keon Daniel had made Sporting Kansas City’s defense — the best in the league in 2012 — look fragile and beatable. They found holes to sit in, collect the ball and turn to run at defenders and it resulted in an early lead for Philadelphia.

For a half hour, the Union looked like a team markedly improved from its eighth place finish in the Eastern Conference last year. Le Toux’s return brought with it early hope of a promising season for the Philly faithful.

Then Graham Zusi scored the equalizer in the 41st minute, deflating the crowd at PPL Park. Sporting Kansas City finally showed up in the second half, beat the Union 3-1 and brought everyone back to reality.

(MORE: What a match for Zusi  |  Union coach John Hackworth calls loss ‘unacceptable’)

But for 30 minutes there, the Union’s spark and Sporting’s shockingly poor start had us jumping to all sorts of conclusions that only opening day allows for — that naive sense of optimism that the clean slate of first kick brings about.

It happened throughout opening weekend (the Red Bulls are going to MLS Cup under Mike Petke’s guidance! Oh…there’s a second half.) and the ramifications of some opening game results will help some of those feeling stick around.

Is Seattle’s thinned out roster in trouble after losing to Montreal at CenturyLink Field? The Impact aren’t really that good, right? And is San Jose’s 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake indicative of how the West will be run this season, or just a case of one of the league’s best teams getting the better of another?

(MORE: Newly built defenses need more time together)

Indeed, it is far too early to proclaim that Caleb Porter (pictured) will lead the Timbers to the promised land; it’s too early to call Mikael Silvestre an MLS flop and it’s too early to proclaim Chris Wondolowski is choking under the pressure of being a Designated Player.

The MLS season is a long one and we told you last week that 2013 could be the most unpredictable yet. About the only guarantee is that, regardless of whether or not Chivas USA ends up topping the list of all-time MLS worsts this season, nobody will be there to see it.

  1. wesbadia - Mar 5, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    I think you meant Keon Daniels, not Keon Williams.

    • Jeff Kassouf - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Yea, apologies. My late-night thought process molded Keon Daniel and Sheanon Williams into one person. Though they both looked good in that opening 30. Fixed now.

  2. mvktr2 - Mar 5, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Amen to this. I’ve heard lots about Portland’s comeback. You play in that environment, amazing btw, and come out with a tie, not acceptable. Vancouver, who knows. Did Philly take a step back, looks like it but probably not? Columbus clearly took a step forward, but how bad was CUSA on week 1 … very! Will CUSA improve, probably but how much?

    And most of all who else thinks Mike Magee is going to score 102 goals? ;) Anyone else in league history scored a hat trick and recorded a shutout as goalie?

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