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MLS Round Up: Atlanta looks good without Martinez, Sporting KC lead the way

Sporting KC were again sublime in attack, while Atlanta fans were given some encouraging signs from their Josef Martinez-less squad. Here’s what went down in MLS in Week 2.

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Atlanta United FC
Mar 7, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco (8) hugs midfielder Matheus Rossetto (9) after their match against FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of the 2020 Major League Soccer season rolled along with some massive performances. Sporting Kansas City were yet again sublime in attack, while Atlanta United fans were given some encouraging signs from their squad after their star man Josef Martinez was confirmed out for the season. Elsewhere, at BMO Field, Toronto FC handed a last minute debut to a 2020 SuperDraft pick, who would go on to score the winner in a fairytale debut.

Here is how week two of the 2020 MLS season wrapped up.


NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION / CHICAGO FIRE

New Revs signing Adam Buksa got on the scoresheet for home side the in a 1-1 draw with a Fire team, who lost 10 of their 17 road matches in the 2019 season. The 23-year-old Polish striker got his first-ever goal for the club in his second appearance after a well-timed run into the box. The Revolution splashed €4.20m to bring in Buksa from Polish club Pogon Szczesin, in hopes he could add to the already threatening attack of Charles Gil and Gustavo Bou.

Last season, New England narrowly edged Chicago out of a playoff spot (3pts + +11 GD), so a late headed equalizer by Jonathan Bornstein should leave Fire fans happy, being that they took two points away from this positive looking New England team.

FC DALLAS / MONTREAL IMPACT

The good news for Montreal is that Maximilliano Urruti put in his first two goals of the season. The bad news is that they gave up both his goals in the 83rd minute and in the 5th minute of stoppage time, as 17-year-old striker Ricardo Pepe bagged the equalizing goal late on to deny Thierry Henry’s side all three points.

“In the second half we started to respect our positioning when in possession, and we were able to hurt them” Henry told multiple reporters after the match. “It’s frustrating because we were leading 2-0, but at the end it’s a very good point.”

MLS: New England Revolution at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

DC UNITED / INTER MIAMI

History was made less than two minutes in when Rodolfo Pizarro scored the first ever goal for Inter Miami CF. The 22,000-seat stadium fell silent, apart from a small group of travelling Miami supporters who celebrated the early go-ahead goal. The expansion side failed to score in their first MLS match against the reigning Supporters Shield champions LAFC.

Pizarro, who scored just eight goals in 51 apps for Monterrey between 2018-2020, will be hoping this historic goal will open the flood gates in future matches for David Beckham’s MLS franchise. The goal was short lived in the end, however, after DC United went onto spoil the celebrations, coming from behind to win 2-1.

This loss means Inter Miami are off to a worrying start at 0-2.

TORONTO FC / NEW YORK CITY FC

The 2019 MLS Cup runners up added a dangerous new weapon in the 2020 Super draft.

Ifunanyachi Achara, a Nigerian winger out of Georgetown scored an early goal that was called back for offside. Not to be silenced, in the second half, the rookie got onto the end of a Richie Laryea ball to score the would-be winning goal after a breakout performance in his debut.

“I was happy, excited to just get out there,” Achara said after the match. “Soccer is awesome, I just love playing it. It gives me confidence.”

ATLANTA UNITED / FC CINCINATTI

The five stripes have to start getting used to life without leading front man Josef Martinez. The Venezuelan suffered an ACL tear in week one of the campaign, which will have him miss the rest of 2020.

In their first full outing without the striker, a 2-1 win was something to celebrate. Pity Martinez assisted Ezequiel Barco for the lead, as P. Martinez now has two assists in two matches, whereas Barco has two goals in two matches. Atlanta’s second goal would come from Emerson Hyndman, who, if you can believe it, also has two goals in two matches.

Atlanta may still want to search for a replacement for J. Martinez, who scored 27 goals in the MLS in 2019, but the side that lost to Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference Finals is looking threatening as it is.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY / HOUSTON DYNAMO

SKC have come out firing on all cylinders this season, and are the most dangerous team just two weeks in. The 4-nil win over Houston in week 2, added to the 3-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps in week one, meaning that SKC have tied a club record with seven goals in their first two matches of an MLS season (also in 2000).

An added positive is that the new record signing Alan Pulido is already delivering the goals and looking confident alongside Johnny Russell up front.

Sporting KC sits atop the West after two matches.

LOS ANGELES FC / PHILADELPHIA UNION

A six goal thriller in LA ended with the sides sharing point after a 3-3 draw.

LAFC took a total of 21 shots to Unions nine, though only breaking through three times, as Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi were both on the scoresheet at Banc of California Stadium. It is the 13th time Vela and Rossi have scored in the same MLS match. No other pair of teammates have done so more than seven times since LAFC joined the league in 2018.

Vela also scored in his 12 straight home match—extending the MLS record for a goal-streak at home. The Union can once again make noise in the Eastern Conference this season.