Opening weekend for Major League Soccer was an offensive showcase, with many games having two or more goals. Many clubs entered the season ready to win the MLS Cup. The favorites to win the cup showed out, while others showed they will have some kinks to work out over the course of the long season.
Starting off the weekend, Nashville SC took on New York City Football Club at home in front of 28,000 fans. Nashville revealed new jerseys, designed in honor of the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash.
Nashville would strike first as Walker Zimmerman scored the first goal in the 34th minute. When halftime reached, Nashville was up 1–0 against NYC.
Coming back out, NYC managed to click as a team, dominating possession for the rest of the game. However, they could not break through to score, only managing two shots on goal. Nashville did not have such problems.
In the 75th minute, Nashville made a substitution, taking out Randall Leal and putting in Hany Mukhtar. Mukhtar scored 23 total goals last season and was named the MLS MVP, and that showed on the pitch. Minutes after the substitution, Mukhtar moved the ball down to the goal to assist in a Jacob Shaffelburg goal in the 80th minute.
The final score at full-time would be 2–0 in a spectacular opening win for Nashville SC, who is hoping to make a return to the playoffs.
Moving northeast from Nashville, Philadelphia Union took on the visiting Columbus Crew. Columbus had a tough job ahead of them playing the runner-ups for the MLS Cup.
Columbus would not be up to the task, as their only goal would come from an own goal by Philadelphia’s Jakob Glesnes (28’).
The score at halftime was 1–1 after a Dániel Gazdag goal off a penalty kick three minutes after the 45th minute. Though slow to start, once they got going, they did not stop.
Philadelphia would come roaring out with a goal by Julián Carranza in the 52nd minute. From there, it took Columbus everything to try and stop the onslaught of the Philadelphia offense.
Philadelphia would finish the game with two more goals, another penalty kick by Gazdag in the 72nd minute and another Carranza goal in the 80th minute with an amazing assist from Joaquín Torres.
With the final score of 4–1, Philadelphia showed fans an offensive storm. Columbus showed a solid defensive performance that collapsed in the second half.
Moving south, one of the most exciting games of the weekend took place when Austin FC took on visiting St. Louis City SC. St. Louis was just moved into MLS, this game being their first one in the league. Their first opponent would be the mighty Austin FC, who finished last season second in the Western Conference.
If Austin was expecting an easy game, then they would be mistaken as St. Louis took an early lead off a Tim Parker goal in the 24th minute. Austin would not answer till the end of the half with a Sebastián Driussi goal four minutes after the 45th minute.
The final 20 minutes of the match was the deciding factor of the game as Austin went up 2–1 off a Jon Gallagher goal in the 72nd minute. St. Louis would answer immediately with a Jared Stroud goal in minute 78. The game would end in a St. Louis victory after Klauss scored in the 86th minute, with Austin failing to score a goal to tie.
In the capital, D.C. United would win a thriller against Toronto FC 3–2. D.C. would take the early lead off a Mateusz Klich goal in minute 13 and go into half-time up 1–0.
Toronto would then tie off a Federico Bernardeschi penalty kick in the 66th minute, before taking the lead with a Mark-Anthony Kaye goal in the 83rd minute. D.C. would rally back with goals by Christian Benteke in minute 90 and the game winning goal by Theodore Ku-Dipeietro in extra time eight minutes after the 90th minute.
The Vancouver Whitecaps would lose at home to Real Salt Lake 2–1. Salt Lake would rally back from 1–0 to score two goals within three minutes of each other. The first was by Justen Glad (70’) and the second one by Damir Kreilach (73’).
The final game of the opening weekend came between the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City. The Timbers would manage a victory with an early goal by Juan Mosquera (6’), despite KC dominating possession and taking more shots.