Chiellini on target for LAFC, Miami stun Philly, St.Louis triumph
Former Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini scored his first goal in Major League Soccer as defending champions Los Angeles FC survived a late rally from the Portland Timbers to hold on and win their opening game of the season 3-2.
Inter Miami continued their winning start to the season with an impressive 2-0 victory over last season’s MLS Cup runners-up Philadelphia Union while Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United fell to a 2-0 loss at Columbus Crew and new club St. Louis City enjoyed a second straight win.
LAFC had begun the day in celebratory mood marking their first title win last season with the players given their championship rings and the title banner unveiled but Steve Cherundolo’s squad quickly got down to business.
The 38-year-old Chiellini, in his second season in Los Angeles after joining from Juventus last year, poked in a 24th minute opener after Portland had failed to deal with a cross into the box.
Ryan Hollingshead then had an effort disallowed for a foul in the box but LAFC soon had their second with Mexican forward Carlos Vela converting from the penalty spot after Santiago Moreno had brought down Kwadwo Opoku.
Vela went close to another after the break, with his curling free-kick clipping the outside of the post but Vela then turned provider with his ball inside well collected by Opoku who showed quick feet to beat David Bingham with a low drive.
Portland got themselves back in the game though when Juan Mosquera burst through the midfield and slipped the ball to club record signing Evander and the Brazilian swept home his first goal since joining from Denmark’s Midtjylland in a reported $10 million deal.
With six minutes of regular time remaining, the Timbers pulled back another when L.A. keeper John McCarthy failed to reach a cross and from the resulting scramble Paraguay international Cristhian Paredes slotted home.
Despite the late scare, LAFC held on to get their season off to a winning start after their scheduled opener last week was postponed due to bad weather.
– Outstanding Strike –
Phil Neville’s Miami took the lead with a long-range strike from French forward Corentin Jean in the 32nd minute and sealed the victory with an outstanding strike from Finnish winger Robert Taylor.
Just a minute after entering as a substitute, Taylor took a ball from Jean Mota on his chest and then volleyed into the far corner from the edge of the box.
New club St. Louis City celebrated their first home game in the league with a 3-1 victory over Charlotte despite falling behind to a fine angled header from Argentine Enzo Copetti.
An own goal from Charlotte’s New Zealand defender Bill Tuiloma brought the home side level and then a penalty from Eduard Loewen had the crowd in City Park anticipating victory.
The win was sealed when Brazilian Joao Klauss intercepted a woeful back pass from Adilson Malanda and gleefully chipped keeper Pablo Sisniega for his second goal of the season and a 3-1 win.
Argentine born number-ten Lucas Zelarayan was the hero for the Columbus Crew with two superbly taken goals in a stylish win over D.C.
The Armenia international fired the Crew ahead in the tenth minute with a superb shot on the turn after some clever footwork took him away from his marker.
Zelarayan doubled the lead just before the break with a blistering first time shot from a tight angle as D.C were unable to follow-up their opening day win.
A fine solo goal from Italy winger Federico Bernardeschi put Toronto in front at Atlanta before the home side levelled on the hour through a deflected Matheus Rossetto drive.
Greek forward Giorgos Giakoumakis, signed from Celtic, came off the bench and thought he had grabbed the winner but his effort was ruled out for a tight offside and Atlanta had to settle for 1-1 draw.
Jesus Ferreira scored two for Dallas as they beat L.A. Galaxy 3-1 in Texas while Maximiliano Urruti struck two minutes from the end as Austin beat Montreal 1-0.
New York City were held to a 1-1 draw at the Chicago Fire while the New York Red Bulls had to settle for a goalless draw at home to Nashville.