The 2016 MLS season is finally underway.
Three months after the Portland Timbers lifted the 2015 MLS Cup trophy, all 20 teams were back in action to kick off the new campaign Sunday, and the Timbers picked up exactly where they left off–a 2-1 win over Columbus.
Some of the league's biggest names missed out on opening day due to injury (Kaká, Jozy Altidore, Frank Lampard), but it's important to remember that every MLS season is a marathon run to the playoffs, so for some managers, better safe than sorry for their teams' long-term interests.
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And for our season predictions, read here.
Here are the 10 results from the season's opening day:
TORONTO FC 2, NEW YORK RED BULLS 0
Despite Jozy Altidore (hamstring) missing out on facing his first professional club, TFC made an early statement in its first of eight straight road games to kick off the season (BMO Field is undergoing renovations). Sebastian Giovinco, who earlier had hit the post, scored from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute before setting up Marky Delgado for the stoppage-time clincher.
NEW YORK CITY FC 4, CHICAGO FIRE 3
It might not have been the prettiest game, but Patrick Vieira's NYCFC outlasted Veljko Paunovic's Chicago Fire in the coaching debut for both men. Tommy McNamara opened the scoring with a beautiful curler, while Tony Taylor, Khiry Shelton and Mix Diskerud also scored. Razvan Cocis, David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike scored for the hosts, but it was Diskerud's one-time volley off McNamara's cross the sealed the victory and the three points.
ORLANDO CITY 2, REAL SALT LAKE 2
Orlando City brought bedlam to the 60,000+ at the Citrus Bowl with a pair of goals in stoppage time to salvage a point. Both teams were reduced to 10 men by halftime, and RSL had gotten two goals from Joao Plata (one on a penalty) to seemingly take control and seize three points on the road. Reigning Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter scored at the death, though, and Orlando maintained its reputation as a team that goes down to the wire.
HOUSTON DYNAMO 3, NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 3.
A revamped Houston side settled for a draw at this goalfest at BBVA Compass Stadium, with Daigo Kobayashi's stoppage-time finish rescuing the point for New England. Dynamo newcomers Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger both scored in their club debuts after New England's Diego Fagundez opened the scoring with a gorgeous long-range shot. Charlie Davies tallied as well to bring New England even at 2-2, but Giles Barnes put Houston ahead–temporarily–finishing from the edge of the box after a great dummy run by Oscar Boniek Garcia.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 1, COLORADO RAPIDS 0
David Bingham out-dueled Zac MacMath in goal, and Chris Wondolowski kicked off his quest for a seventh straight double-digit goal season with his tally in the opening minute of the second half to lift the Quakes.
FC DALLAS 2, PHILADELPHIA UNION 0
Playmaker Mauro Diaz picked up where he left off last season, with a pair of assists in FCD's victory. First he set up Fabian Castillo on a first-half counterattack, and he helped cap the win by setting up new addition Maxi Urruti. Castillo exited on a stretcher, which is cause for worry for FCD.
PORTLAND TIMBERS 2, COLUMBUS CREW SC 1
The Timbers won by the same scoreline that netted them the 2015 MLS Cup, with Fanendo Adi's 79th-minute winner the difference. As he did in December's title game, Diego Valeri opened the scoring for Portland (this time off a free kick, not by pressuring the goalkeeper, though he almost scored that way again), only for fellow Argentine Federico Higuain to equalize with a sensational bicycle kick. The Timbers started the day by unveiling their championship banner and a tifo to match.
MONTREAL IMPACT 3, VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 2
The Didier Drogba-less Impact took all three points on the road, with Ignacio Piatti turning in a masterclass. The Argentine star scored twice and assisted on another, dazzling at BC Place. Defenders Jordan Harvey and Kendall Waston scored in the loss for Vancouver.
SPORTING KC 1, SEATTLE SOUNDERS 0
Center back Nuno Coelho capped a 30-pass sequence in the 73rd minute by scoring on a speculative long-range shot, which bounced under a diving Stefan Frei, as Sporting KC took three points at a raucous CenturyLink Field. Seattle right back Oniel Fisher was sent off for a two-footed lunge at Connor Hallisey at the end of the first half, and the visitors took advantage. On the other end, Tim Melia robbed Clint Dempsey of another would-be free kick golazo midway through the first half and Jordan Morris, on his MLS debut, missed a ninth-minute opportunity on the breakaway for Seattle's two best chances.
LA GALAXY 4, D.C. UNITED 1
The Galaxy looked rusty, tired and uninterested over the first half, with Lamar Neagle putting D.C. ahead in the fifth minute. Enter Mike Magee. The halftime substitute and 2013 league MVP scored twice, assisted on another goal and drew a penalty that led to yet another, and the Galaxy rolled to their first three points.