The 2017 MLS season is underway. Here is Once A Metro's first Team of the Week, lining up as a 4-3-3.
GK - Joe Bendik (Orlando City):
It took seven saves from Bendik to make sure Orlando's only shot on target - Cyle Larin's 15th-minute strike - delivered a season (and stadium) opening win against NYCFC.
LB - Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders):
A one-man highlight reel in the second half for Seattle against the Dynamo. His team lost but not for lack of effort on the part of Jones, who served up the cross that was deflected to Clint Dempsey for the Sounders' goal and created multiple other opportunities for Seattle to get something out of the game in Houston.
CB - Lawrence Olum (Portland Timbers):
A sentimental selection: Olum got MLS 2017 started with the league's first goal of the season.
Olum! With the first goal of the MLS season! 1-0 PDX!! pic.twitter.com/DXeUn8VI8C— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) March 4, 2017
CB - Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids):
Colorado edged a game of few chances against New England Revolution to get their 2017 off to a winning start. Instrumental in the 1-0 win was the the Rapid's big CB, Sjoberg, who came close to making half the team's clearances (12 out of a team total of 29), including eight in the penalty area.
RB - Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes):
Only the second Homegrown player signing in Quakes' history, Lima looked like the weak link on an experienced San Jose back line. But he played his part in a team effort to restrict visiting Montreal Impact to just five shots - and none on target.
MID - Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes):
If Godoy's teammate and darling of the US soccer media Tommy Thompson had scored this goal, the internet might have broken.
There were plenty of great goals this weekend, including this one.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 6, 2017
All the highlights: https://t.co/tThJ39NjFu https://t.co/g9mwlTb5BK
As it was, Godoy's chip merely broke Montreal and got San Jose off to a three-point start to the season.
MID - Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas):
A 21-year-old veteran, Acosta is in his fifth year as a pro and should make his 100th MLS appearance this season. As is often the case with younger players, his best position is still perhaps to be determined, but he's making his case for a start in midfield (full back is the other option) with performances like this week's in LA. Scoring the game-winning goal helped draw attention to his work too.
MID - Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers):
Two goals and an assist make Valeri's case for inclusion in this week's selection impossible to ignore.
FWD - Daniel Royer (New York Red Bulls):
The Red Bulls were going to lose in Atlanta, until Royer imposed himself on the game. He forced the corner that supplied RBNY's equalizer - and scored that equalizer himself. And his steady intelligent running and passing featured in the build-up to the Red Bulls' match-winner.
FWD - Romell Quioto (Houston Dynamo):
He missed a better and easier chance to score earlier in the game, but maybe that was a good thing: if Quioto had already scored, perhaps he wouldn't have tried to make the shot that won the Dynamo's season-opener.
That ball's only got eyes for the far post. ⚽️— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) March 6, 2017
Vote @RomellSamir for @MLS Goal of the Week: https://t.co/Slvt4pAZkx pic.twitter.com/wdeEpB01Rc
FWD - Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers):
Did good work up front for Portland throughout his team's big win over Minnesota - but it was his injury-time brace that turned the game from a big win to a rout.
Adi brace? That's standard. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/Rf6qPcD8kQ— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 5, 2017
COACH - Jesse Marsch (New York Red Bulls):
It has been all too rare recently to see RBNY work itself out of a bad situation in a game with a couple of timely substitutions and a tactical adjustment. Marsch was out-coached by Atlanta's Tata Martino for much of RBNY's season-opener - until the Red Bulls' coach brought in fresh legs and a change in formation midway through the second half. RBNY won the last 15 minutes and the match.