Major League Soccer recently kicked off its 22nd season with new clubs based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The addition of expansion franchises Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United gives MLS a total of 22 teams, evenly divided with 11 in the Eastern Conference and 11 in the Western Conference.
Both Atlanta and Minnesota lost their MLS debut matches. In Atlanta, a sellout crowd of more than 55,000 packed Bobby Dodd Stadium, named after the late American college football coach at Georgia Tech.
The New York Red Bulls spoiled Atlanta’s opener, getting two second-half goals in a span of about six minutes to rally for a 2-1 victory. And in Portland, Oregon, the Portland Timbers scored a 5-1 home victory over Minnesota United.
Let’s give a Sonny Side of Sports salute to a couple of the African goalscorers for Portland.
The Kenyan Lawrence Olum opened the scoring in the 14th minute, and Nigerian striker Fanendo Adi scored two late goals in injury time.
The 26-year-old Adi was one of the top scorers in MLS last season, finishing fifth overall with 16 goals.
For his part, the 32-year-old Olum was traded to the Timbers last month by Sporting Kansas City, which opened the season here in Washington with a 0-0 draw against D.C. United.
It was the last home opener for D.C. United at RFK Stadium. The club will play at the new 20,000-seat Audi Field next season.
Meanwhile, in Orlando, Florida, Orlando City beat New York City FC, 1-0. A sellout crowd of more than 25,000 saw Cyle Larin score the first goal at the new Orlando City Stadium.