Philadelphia, PA – The second week of the Major League Soccer regular season is in the books.
After seeing some great action on the pitch over the weekend, a pair of stellar performances by the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps highlight the best-of-the-best in the second week of Major League Soccer action.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS AND MONTREAL IMPACT OFF TO FLYING STARTS
The second-year Montreal Impact had a good year in their inaugural season last season, but one major knock on the club was their inability to win on the road.
The Impact collected three points on the road just twice last season, but through two matches in 2013, Montreal has won in Seattle and Portland -- two very difficult places to get a victory.
But Impact assistant coach Mauro Biello said his team has learned how to get those crucial points away from home.
"It was our undoing last season, and we worked a lot on preparing well in order to win away from home," Biello said.
Over on Canada's west coast, the Whitecaps have been impressive through two games as well. After topping their Canadian rivals Toronto FC in Week 1, the 'Caps played their first game without defender Jay DeMerit, who suffered a serious knee injury just eight minutes into the Toronto match.
On Saturday against the Columbus Crew, Daigo Kobayashi gave Vancouver the lead just six minutes into the game, but Jairo Arrieta equalized it for Columbus one minute into the second half. The Whitecaps stayed with their game plan and it paid off when Kenny Miller bagged the winner in the 57th minute to move his club to 2-0-0 on the season.
TWO GAMES, TWO SQUANDERED LEADS FOR RED BULL NEW YORK
Red Bull New York was widely believed the be at or near the top of the Eastern Conference standing for most of the year.
And while two games does not a season make, Mike Petke and Co. have to be scratching their heads a bit.
New York got off to a fast start in Portland in its first match of the year, taking a 3-1 first-half lead, but that advantage vanished in the second half as they settled for a 3-3 draw at Jeld-Wen Field.
On Sunday against San Jose, the Red Bulls took the lead again with a 17th- minute goal from Eric Alexander, but it did not hold as rookie forward Adam Jahn found a tying goal for San Jose in the 83rd minute and Chris Wondolowski scored the winner via penalty kick in stoppage time to steal three points.
New York has a roster full of experienced players who have won championships and know how to see out games, but it looks as if Petke's group is not on the same page as of yet and it is costing them important points in the standings.
NOT THE SAME OLD NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution won just five matches last season, but they came out strong on Saturday against the Chicago Fire and grabbed a 1-0 win on the road at Toyota Park.
2013 No. 1 overall draft selection Andrew Farrell was in the starting 11 for Jay Heaps' club at right back and looked composed and comfortable on the ball all night long.
Farrell wasn't fazed by a potent Chicago lineup that included Joel Lindpere, Patrick Nyarko, Chris Rolfe, Dilly Duka and Sherjill MacDonald, as he helped keep the Fire goalless for the second consecutive week.
Once he develops the confidence to join the attack regularly, he has the potential to be star in the league.
Offensively, Honduras international Jerry Bengtson scored the game's only goal and has a chance to be among the league's best finishers as long as he can produce with some regularity.
GOAL OF THE WEEK
Montreal Impact defender Hassoun Camara takes this week's honor after connecting on a spectacular bicycle kick from just inside the penalty area after a Montreal set piece.
Montreal Impact - After seemingly figuring out how to win on the road, the Impact have six points from two games and find themselves on top of the Eastern Conference for the first time in their MLS existence. The Impact will have the chance to make it 3-for-3 Saturday in the club's home opener against Toronto FC.
Philadelphia Union - Philadelphia suffered a 3-1 setback against Sporting Kansas City in Week 1, and had to face some adversity when Saturday's matchup against the Colorado Rapids was postponed to Sunday due to blizzard conditions in the area. But the Union shook off the thin air of Colorado and the Rapids as Jack McInerney beat Matt Pickens low to the left corner to give the Union a 2-1 win -- their first of the season and first in franchise history against the Rapids.
New England Revolution - The Revs officially put a dismal 2012 in the rearview mirror after earning a 1-0 win over Chicago Fire in their season opener on Saturday. Farrell looks like he is a star in the making and Jerry Bengtson nodded home what could end up being the easiest goal he will score this season. New England will remain on the road next week and look to keep their positive momentum going against Philadelphia -- a team they have yet to defeat in seven all-time meetings.
Chicago Fire - The Fire were thumped, 4-0, in Week 1 by the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy and came out a bit flat in last week's 1-0 loss to New England in their home opener. Chicago has looked very unorganized in the back at times this season and their midfield is still a big question mark. They have yet to score in two matches while conceding five. It's obviously very early, but Chicago needs to get three points soon.
Portland Timbers - Caleb Porter's side showed brilliant resolve in battling back from a two-goal second-half deficit against New York in Week 1, but the Timbers fell to Montreal on Saturday by a 2-1 count and have just one point from two home games. After falling behind by two goals at home, the Timbers will need to get off to a better start this week or Porter's seat could get a little hot.
Colorado Rapids - The Rapids are 0-2-0 thanks to a pair of goalkeeping gaffes by Matt Pickens and Steward Ceus. Against FC Dallas in Week 1, Ceus came out to claim a long ball, but missed the catch which allowed Jackson to slide it into the empty net, handing the Rapids a 1-0 defeat. On Sunday against Philadelphia, Pickens got caught in between coming for the ball and staying on his line during a Philadelphia corner kick, resulting in an easy headed goal for Amobi Okugo. Jamie Smith tied it for Colorado, but the Rapids eventually fell, 2-1, despite controlling nearly two-thirds of possession. Colorado will be aiming for its first win of the season this week against Real Salt Lake.
THE WEEK AHEAD
This week marks rivalry week across MLS with several marquee matchups lined up.
New York and D.C. United meet for the first time since United knocked New York out of the postseason last year. United talisman Dwayne De Rosario will likely make his season debut after missing the club's first two games due to suspension, while New York will be looking for its first win of the campaign.
Chicago will be looking to get off the mark against a motivated Sporting Kansas City side that suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat to Toronto FC, giving Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen his first win.
The first edition of the Rocky Mountain Cup will get underway on Saturday when Real Salt Lake meets Colorado. Both teams will be hoping for bounce-back performances after losses to D.C. United and Philadelphia, respectively.
Finally, Portland will shoot for its first win of the season against Cascadia Cup rival Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field. Seattle had last week off from MLS competition after falling to Mexican side Tigres midweek in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Sounders will have a quick turnaround this week as they host Tigres in the second leg of the tie on Tuesday before welcoming the Timbers on Saturday.