- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

The 21st MLS season kicked off with an attacking flourish Sunday, with a record 36 goals being scored on a frantic opening day.

The Portland Timbers unveiled the championship banner they won last season then promptly reminded everyone why they will be a force again this year by beating the Columbus Crew 2-1 in a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final.

Nigerian striker Fanendo Adi scored the winner in the 79th minute after the Crew’s Argentine-born forward Federico Higuain had equalized with a bicycle kick goal.

“It’s good to get off to a good start. Three points. The sooner the better,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said.

“Now we’ve got to get three points in the next one. I’m looking forward to being with these guys for the next 11 months, and 33 more games. There’s going to be ups and downs, but if we play like we did today, there will be more ups than downs”

The LA Galaxy made a bright start to the new campaign after disappointing last season, beating DC United 4-1 with Robbie Keane converting a penalty and former MLS Most Valuable Player Mike Magee scoring twice after coming off the bench.

“This is the reason we wanted to bring Mike back here,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “He’s a great player who can score goals. We’ve been very careful with him in preseason, and will continue to be in the beginning of the season, being careful with his minutes and make sure he’s completely healthy and ready to have a great year.”

U.S. striker Chris Wondolowski also scored from the spot to give San Jose a 1-0 victory over Colorado. It was Wondolowski’s 110th MLS goal.

Cyle Larin, last season’s rookie of the year after netting 17 times, was on target again on Sunday. He scored and then set up teammate Adrian Winter in the final 30 seconds of stoppage time to give Orlando City a dramatic 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake before an opening day record crowd of 60,147.

“I can’t recall ever being in a game like this,” Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar said.

“Things happen fast and you have to be able to finish, but in the last six minutes, we just became fatigued, undisciplined, not recognizing the dangers and we paid the price.”

Former Italy international Sebastian Giovinco, the reigning MVP, got himself on the scoresheet as Toronto FC beat the New York Red Bulls 2-0, and Portuguese defender Nuno Andre Coelho scored the winner in the 73rd minute on his debut for Sporting Kansas City, sealing 1-0 victory over Seattle.

The previous record for the most goals on the opening day was 27, in 2011, but that mark was immediately under siege from the moment New York City’s Thomas McNamara scored the first goal of the season after just 10 minutes. There were seven goals in that match as NYCFC beat Chicago 4-3, and plenty more elsewhere.

The New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo had a 3-3 draw with Japanese Daigo Kobayashi scoring the equalizing header in stoppage time for New England.

Argentinian Ignacio Piatti scored twice as Montreal Impact beat Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2. Fabian Castillo and Maximiliano Urruti both scored as FC Dallas topped Philadelphia 2-0.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide