The Major League Soccer season hits Week 2 on Saturday with a full slate of matches, however, one fixture has already been postponed due to inclement weather up in New England.
[ MORE: MLS power rankings — Week 1 ]
PST takes a look at some of the most intriguing storylines as MLS heads into the second week of the season.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
Battle of the expansion sides
Week 1 was a tale of two completely different teams, however, both Atlanta United and Minnesota United ended up with the same outcome on opening weekend.
Atlanta held a 1-0 lead over the New York Red Bulls heading into the final quarter hour, but a pair of goals from the visitors and an unnecessary red card prevented Tata Martino’s side from even grabbing a share of the points.
Meanwhile, Minnesota was simply played off the pitch at Providence Park last Friday evening as Diego Valeri and co. attacked and attacked and attacked some more. Adrian Heath’s side looked gassed as the Timbers continued to press, but now the Loons can turn their attention to Atlanta.
The question is: which expansion side will get a victory first?
How does NYCFC click offensively?
When you think of New York City FC’s attack, David Villa is the first name that comes to mind and rightfully so. However, with Frank Lampard no longer at the helm in the Bronx, there are some questions as to whom will be the heir apparent as Villa’s number two up front.
Second-year attacker Jack Harrison and cult hero Tommy McNamara are likely candidates to pick up the slack left by the recently-retired Lampard, but filling that void is much easier said than done.
In Week 1, NYCFC had its share of chances in the Orlando City half of the field, but Patrick Vieira’s group wasn’t sharp enough in front of net. Some of that will certainly be chalked up to the fact that it was opening weekend but there are still legitimate questions about finding a player or combination of players to bag at least 12 goals in 2017 — which is the number Lampard registered a season ago.
Timbers backline in shambles
Caleb Porter’s attack put on an absolute show against Minnesota with the Timbers’ five-goal performance, and while the frontline will surely be among the league’s best in 2017, there are some concerns at the back.
Already thin defensively, the Timbers will likely be without defenders Liam Ridgewell and Alvas Powell as the club prepares for the LA Galaxy on Sunday night. That leaves Chance Myers, Roy Miller and Marco Farfan likely in the mix to fill the two starting roles for the Timbers’ back four.
Despite the Galaxy’s struggles against Dallas last weekend, the Timbers will have to be wary of Giovani dos Santos and co. in the attack, particularly if Porter’s group is shorthanded defensively.
New-look Dynamo hope to build off of Week 1
It’s hard to put a ton of stock into one match, but the Houston Dynamo had a swagger about them in their opening weekend win over the defending champion Seattle Sounders.
Goals were hard to come by a season ago for the Dynamo, however, the Texas club looked more dynamic in their movement up front last weekend. Erick Torres found the back of the net, which has been a rare occurence in his time with the Dynamo.
Meanwhile, offseason signing Romell Quioto is somebody to take notice of this season for both the Dynamo and Honduras as he hopes to help his country reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Galaxy remain undermanned due to injuries/suspensions
There are still familiar faces on the LA Galaxy, but this is a drastically different squad from last season. Already without the departed Robbie Keane, the club has had to battle numerous injuries throughout preseason and into the start of the 2017 campaign.
Now, the club will be without Jermaine Jones and Dave Romney for their meeting with the Timbers after earning suspensions this week from MLS’ Disciplinary Committee.
Giovani dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget and newly-signed midfielder Romain Alessandrini will continue to spearhead the attack while Gyasi Zardes recovers from injury, while the backline features a strong centerback pairing of Jelle Van Damme and Daniel Steres.Follow @MattReedFutbol