A lot of fun, but few surprises, in the Matchday One Fixtures

 Christopher Vose

Christopher Vose

This time last week, we didn't know if we'd get to see the Major League celebrate its 20th season and welcome two new clubs, or if we were in for a protracted labour dispute with the Player's Union. Fortunately for us, cooler heads prevailed and the league was able to sign a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the union. And while the league seems to be the happier of the two sides, the deal is only for five years, so in 2020, we can once again look forward to what Sir Alex Ferguson might refer to as squeaky bum time.

But before the league could kick off, two of its member clubs had knockout round matches in the Champions League to consider. The Montreal Impact went into the second leg of their quarter-final bout with CF Pachuca holding a narrow lead thanks to the away goal rule. Los Tuzos (the Gophers) knew that they had to score, and if they really wanted to undo the damage from the first leg, they would have to score at least twice.

They say that goalkeepers cannot win matches. But in the 71st minute, Montreal's Evan Bush made the kind of save that puts statements like that into question. He kept his team in the game when they needed him most. Nine minutes later, when Laurent Ciman conceded a penalty, Bush guessed right, but Germán Cano was still able to power the ball past him. Montreal was on their way out of the Champions League.

The Vancouver Herald
Major League Ranking
9 March 2015
Rank Club Points +/- Pos
1 Los Angeles Galaxy Los Angeles Galaxy 1,094 0 Neutral
2 Seattle Sounders FC Seattle Sounders FC 1,066 0 Neutral
3 Sporting Kansas City Sporting Kansas CIty 1,003 0 Neutral
4 Real Salt Lake Real Salt Lake 964 0 Neutral
5 Red Bull New York Red Bull New York 942 0 Neutral
6 FC Dallas FC Dallas 892 +2 Plus
7 DC United DC United 889 +2 Plus
8 Portland Timbers Portland Timbers 887 -2 Minus
9 New England Revolution New England Revolution 877 -2 Minus
10 Houston Dynamo Houston Dynamo 840 +2 Plus
11 Vancouver Whitecaps FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC 827 -1 Minus
12 Columbus Crew SC SC Columbus Crew SC 816 -1 Minus
13 Philadelphia Union Philadelphia Union 771 +1 Plus
14 Chicago Fire SC Chicago Fire SC 764 -1 Minus
15 San Jose Earthquakes San Jose Earthquakes 757 0 Neutral
16 Montreal Impact Montreal Impact 740 0 Neutral
17 Colorado Rapids SC Colorado Rapids SC 694 0 Neutral
18 Toronto FC Toronto FC 680 0 Neutral
19 New York City FC New York City FC 659 -1 Minus
Orlando City SC Orlando City SC 659 -1 Minus

And then something magical happened. With less than a minute left in stoppage time, Cameron Porter found the back of the net, and Montreal became the second Canadian club to advance to the semi-final of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Their opponent would be the winner of LD Alajuelense and DC United. While Montreal were in the driver's seat, United knew that it would take something truly special to overcome their 5-2 defeat in the first leg. They were able to win this week's game, but they still lost the tie 6 – 4 on aggregate.

In the Major League, there weren't many surprises in the first week. Los Angeles started the post-Donovan era with a 2-0 victory over Chicago. United were able to vent their Champions League frustrations with a narrow 1-0 win over the Impact. Texas had a good week with Houston overcoming Colombus, while Dallas defeated San Jose, each by a one goal margin.

There were four draws, with Philadelphia, Colorado, Portland, and Salt Lake all still looking for their first goal of the 2015 campaign.

Sporting Kansas City and Red Bull New York had a rematch of last year's Anschutz Cup preliminary round, this time ending one apiece, and Orlando managed a late draw with the Citizens after Kaká's 91st minute strike cancelled out an earlier goal by Mix Diskerud.

The only true surprise in the first round of fixtures came from our very own BC Place, where Toronto FC's designated players fired them to a 3-1 victory over the Whitecaps.

And not to be outdone, the reigning League Champion Seattle Sounders FC mauled the Nguyin-less Revolution 3-0 in what proved to be the biggest win of the week.

Looking ahead to next week's schedule, some ones to watch include a Trillium Cup encounter for Toronto in Columbus, and a Heritage Cup match in Seattle, when they host the Earthquakes.