Major League Soccer is back. The opening weekend of the 2015 campaign was nothing short of spectacular as over 258,000 fans were out in force across the United States and Canada to watch their teams in action for the first time this season.
There were 10 games over Friday, Saturday and Sunday with 16 goals scored and although there was only an average of 1.6 goals per game, MLS sprung into life in fine style.
All the drama surrounding the Collective Bargaining Agreement talks seem like a thing from the distant past as soccer took over and proved exactly why we’ve all been so excited for the new season.
There were new stars, new stadiums, new kits, goals and drama as we saw three red cards over the course of the weekend.
It all kicked off in Los Angeles on Friday where the reigning champions, LA Galaxy kicked off the new season with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire. Last year’s MLS MVP, Robbie Keane sealed the victory with the second goal and looked as hungry as ever.
Saturday night saw six games take place across the league and although two of the games ended 0-0 (Philadelphia Union vs Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake) there was lots of excitement in Canada as a new-look Toronto side beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1.
New Toronto DP’s Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco both impressed in the win as Altidore bagged a brace much to the anger of the home crowd, who soaked him in beer as he celebrated his panenka penalty in front of the Whitecaps faithful late on.
DC United, FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo all recorded 1-0 wins in front of their own fans in the other three games on Saturday.
And just to add to the excitement, the first MLS Soccer Sunday of the season saw three key clashes played out to cap off a fine weekend.
Orlando City and New York City played their first ever MLS game against each other in front of a huge crowd of over 62,000 supporters at the Orlando Citrus Bowl in Florida.
New stars, Kaka and David Villa both led their teams out in a game that exploded into life late on as there were two goals, a red card and a penalty shout waved away inside the final 15 minutes.
Mix Diskerud scored NYCFC’s first MLS goal with a fine curling shot in the 76th minute before Aurelien Collin was then sent off for a foul on Villa after 83 minutes.
But that man Kaka was on hand to save the day for Orlando as his deflected free-kick ended up in the back of the net, much to the delight of 60,000 Lions supporters.
Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls played out another entertaining 1-1 draw afterwards before the Seattle Sounders flexed their attacking muscles in a 3-0 win against the New England Revolution in the final game of the weekend.
Clint Dempsey bagged a brace with Obafemi Martins getting the other in a solid display to once again prove that they are probably the best strikeforce in MLS.
Opening weekend delivered after months of expectation. But there are still 33 regular season games to go in what should be the greatest ever Major League Soccer campaign.
What was your favourite moment of the opening weekend of the new MLS season?