With three weeks of MLS in the books, we can see some trends starting to come together.
New York City FC 0, Orlando City SC 1
Canadian Cyle Larin is in the goals, and just in time for Friday's big game at BC Place - Canada vs Mexico. He added a 3rd in as many games, and this Orlando team seems to be clicking along without Kaka. They've not been pretty, but they've scrapped out a few good results thus far, and look like they'll be good value this year.
Viera's NYCFC "WM"/3-4-3 yields another disappointing result, but it has the potential to be dangerous. Obviously, the tiny sandbox that is Yankee Stadium helps them play a certain way, but this looks like a team that will struggle for consistency this year.
I don't want to say that there's a reason for the Crew to panic, but they're certainly not playing like a team that was an MLS cup finalist last year. A big part of that is that Kei Kamara is not going to score 22 goals (or even 20) this season. Even though the service hasn't changed, that kind of output seems incredibly unlikely this year. They look to be awkward customers this season, though (obviously) there's lots of time left.
Chicago, however, should definitely panic. The Fire play like an artifact of MLS 1.0 - fast, athletic players to hit long balls to. David Accam, Gilberto, and Kennedy Igboananike are great athletes, but a leaky backline and lack-lustre midfield will mean they will concede often and produce that familiar Chicago Fire feeling.
Holy smokes, people. Houston have scored 11 goals in 3 games. They just might be good this year. They've also lost points late in 2 of those games and given their general lack of other options defensively, that might continue to happen. They were victim to a few unlucky breaks, but by and large played a good game.
In the Red Bulls camp, there might be some cause for concern. They won it late, but defensively they need to be better. Canadian Karl Ouimette had an up-and-down showing, and Ronald Zubar was *bad*. Doesn't bode well as Damien Perrinelle recovers from injury.
FC Dallas 2, Montreal Impact 0
League darlings and annoying Frenchies Montreal Impact have been on a good run of form, but this was not their game. They struggled to create, FC Dallas gave them a good fight in the middle of the park, and even the introduction of Didier Drogba for the first time this season couldn't spark them enough to get anything out of this game.
In the Dallas camp, last week is confirmed as a blip. Sure, losing a local rivalry 5-0 doesn't look good, but Dallas showed in this game why people are excited for them to go far this year. Mauro Diaz is a big part of that, and he's downright delightful to watch. His fantastic free kick goal is worth looking up, but he was all over the field beating players on the dribble and generally making a difference. The re-introduction of Ulloa in the midfield made a big difference to their structure, and I'd expect Dallas put up results like this consistently.
Scott on two remaining career goals: "To make sure (Blas Perez) never scores another goal and beat Portland one more time."— Don Ruiz (@donruiztnt) March 20, 2016
I feel like Zach Scott is just saying what everyone else is thinking. The Sounders are 0-3, which isn't insurmountable. They're incredibly injured and injury-prone, they lack depth, and they haven't exactly caught the breaks you need in the early part of the season (see penalties 1&2 in this game). Sigi is a clever manager, but you have to think this is his last season in Seattle if things don't improve quickly.
For the Whitecaps, things are sort of starting to look up. Fraser Aird is still pretty shockingly bad as a right back, but they got a win on the road and Pedro Morales scored the goals. Even if they're penalties, having Morales scoring is important. Both of these teams are not what we'd expected going into the season, but they've got time to turn things around.
Los Angeles Galaxy 3, San Jose Earthquakes 1
I know that everyone was expecting the Galaxy's aging stars to be a millstone around their necks, but surprisingly, Ashley Cole and Nigel De Jong have both been playing well. Robbie Keane doesn't seem to be getting older, and that all roughly equivocates to something Bruce Arena can turn into success.
On the San Jose end, this isn't the result they want, but not exactly a surprise. Kinnear will work his magic with the Quakes, and they'll grind out some gutsy wins over the course of the season. Wondolowski is a great goalscorer and he's in good form thus far. The game started pretty slowly, and that plays into the Quakes hands. This game was closer than the scoreline suggests.
The Timbers and RSL played an exciting game and showed they are both teams that can put the pieces together. The RSL front 4 of Moralez, Plata, Movsisyan, and Martinez is as good as any in the league, and they put in a decent offensive display. Of note was the Beckerman red card, which was deserved. Also, Plata keeps making me regret us ever losing him. Another nice goal for the little man. They do have a habit of collapsing late (and getting red cards).
For the Timbers, more of the same really. Nagbe, Valeri, and Chara are an effective midfield, and Fanendo Adi has all the tools to score goals in MLS, but they don't seem to be able to put together a 90 minute performance. Credit to the fight back (against 9 men) but I don't think most MLS sides should view the Timbers as a force to be reckoned with.
I don't want to alarm TFC fans, but Warren Creavalle was really good for the Union. That was weird to watch. Also, Lee Nguyen hit both posts with a free kick, which was pretty weird to watch. The Creavalle thing is weirder though. Despite not really improving (in my eyes, at least) through the offseason, the Union have put together a couple good results. It'll be interesting to see where they end up as the season moves along.
New England are really missing Jermaine Jones. Gershon Koffie provides more defensive stability and can hit a telling long pass every now and again, but Jones made a living of it, and the long switch to the wingers was a big part of their game plan. Now, Lee Nguyen is dropping deeper to hit that ball, and as you can imagine, its not as effective. The Revs will sort it out, though. They're too talented not to. Also appearing in this game: Bobby Shuttleworth's weird hair. He saved two penalties though, so kudos.
DC got away with a point in their home opener. They had spells where they looked good, but Ben Olsen needs to put together a better strategy for United. Nick DeLeon's move into central midfield seems like it will get better as the season goes on, and Marcelo
Sarvas looks like a good pick up as well.
For the Rapids, the signing of Tim Howard was the most exciting thing they produced on the day. MacMath had a bad error that led to the DC goal, but created so little going forward and lack any sort of identity. This game was genuinely boring.
Sporting Kansas City & Baldomero Toledo 1, Toronto FC 0
You can read an in depth analysis of the Reds first loss of the season here. Lots to build on from the Reds who played a great game and got skinned by a bad call. It happens.