MLS Sunday Recap: Diego Rossi's Goal Hands LAFC First-Ever MLS Win in Opener

Diego Rossi scored LAFC's first-ever MLS goal and led the team to a win in its MLS debut.
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SEATTLE (AP)—Diego Rossi scored in the 11th minute off a pass from Carlos Vela, and expansion Los Angeles FC withstood a second-half onslaught Sunday for a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders to open the MLS season.

The league's 23rd franchise got off to a sterling start in Bob Bradley's first match coaching in MLS since 2006. Rossi, who turns 20 on Monday, showed his scoring skill by one-timing the pass from Vela 20 yards from goal and curling a shot past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei. It was a stunning strike, topped only by LAFC playing the final 79 minutes without giving up an equalizer.

Tyler Miller, a former backup goalkeeper in Seattle and Los Angeles's first pick in the expansion draft, made several key stops, including deflections of shots by Nouhou Tolo in the first half and a header by Cristian Roldan midway through the second half that were both bound for the net. Seattle outshot Los Angeles 22-5.

It will be late April before LAFC gets a chance to play at home, but the club's owners—including actor Will Ferrell—were on hand for the opener, along with 500 or so black-and-gold-clad fans in the upper corner of CenturyLink Field. They were cheering almost from the outset as Latif Blessing nearly scored on a header 65 seconds into the match.

Just 10 minutes later, Vela and Rossi linked up for the first of what will likely be many goals. Los Angeles became the fifth expansion team to win its debut and first since Vancouver in 2011.

Seattle significantly altered its lineup while trying to manage playing three games in seven days at the outset of the season. The Sounders played Santa Tecla in the second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League round of 16 last Thursday and will host Chivas de Guadalajara in the Champions League quarterfinals first-leg next Wednesday.

Those roster decisions meant Clint Dempsey was a spectator for the opener and wasn't even listed among Seattle's subs. Starting center back Chad Marshall was on the bench as well.

Seattle had a pair of first-half scoring chances denied by sprawling efforts. Miller made a diving one-handed save to deflect Tolo's shot wide of the net moments after Rossi's opening goal. Later in the half, Will Bruin's header back across the box found Harry Shipp wide open, but his shot to an open net was blocked over the crossbar by Laurent Ciman's desperation slide.

Seattle changed formations and used two strikers in the second half. While the Sounders dominated the scoring chances, they failed to find a goal. It's just the second home loss for Seattle since coach Brian Schmetzer took over as coach in July 2016.

Seattle played the final minutes of the match with 10 men after Tony Alfaro picked up a second yellow card.

Vancouver 2, Montreal 1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Seventeen-year-old Alphonso Davies scored his first career Major League Soccer goal Sunday and set up another by striker Kei Kamara in the Vancouver Whitecaps' 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact in the opener for both teams.

Davies, who doesn't turn 18 until November but is already in his third season with the Whitecaps, scored in the 70th minute off a pass from Cristian Techera. Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush got his fingers on the ball, but it rolled into the net.

Kamara opened the scoring seven minutes earlier on a header. Acquired in an offseason trade from New England, Kamara was mobbed by his teammates and made the sign of a heart to the cheering crowd of 27,837 at BC Place Stadium.

Matteo Mancosu scored in the 81st minute for Montreal.

NYCFC 2, Kansas City 0

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP)—Jesus Medina scored in his MLS debut, Maximiliano Moralez had a goal and New York City FC beat Sporting Kansas City 2-0 on Sunday night in a season opener for both clubs.

NYC handed Sporting KC its first home-opening defeat since 2009 in front of a crowd of 20,831.

Moralez opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. David Villa was left open at the corner of the 18-yard box and dribbled it to the end line for a cross to a sliding Moralez at the near post.

Medina, a 20-year-old Paraguayan winger, scored in the 53rd minute. Ben Sweat ran past Sporting KC's defense for Yangel Herrera's back-heel pass and fed it across for Medina's chip shot.

NYC's Maxime Chanot was given a straight red card in the 88th minute for taking down Gerso Fernandes during a goal-scoring opportunity. It happened just outside the penalty box and Felipe Gutierrez's free-kick was deflected off the crossbar by goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

L.A. 2, Portland 1

CARSON, Calif. (AP)—Newcomer Ola Kamara and Romain Alessandrini scored two minutes apart in the first half and the Los Angeles Galaxy held off Portland 2-1 in a season opener Sunday night to spoil coach Giovanni Savarese's Timbers debut.

Kamara's 35th career goal came in the 32nd minute. Jonathan dos Santos' cross was headed across goal by Rolf Feltscher and Kamara chested it home. On a counter-attack two minutes later, Alessandrini capitalized on a defensive turnover by sending a shot off the post and finishing the rebound.

Sebastian Blanco pulled Portland to 2-1 in the 66th minute by rolling a shot from a difficult angle through the legs of goalkeeper David Bingham. David Guzman's free kick in the 85th got through the wall but Bingham punched it away for his sixth and final save.

Savarese, formerly coach of the lower-tier New York Cosmos, is one of six new coaches in the MLS this season.