Five Plays From MLS' Opening Weekend You Probably Missed

Unlike 2016's opening weekend, MLS goalkeepers actually had a great start to the season. From penalty saves to free kick saves to being calm and composed in 1v1s, MLS's goalkeepers have set a great tone in week one. Even with all the coverage, there were still some interesting plays that need a second look. Here are five plays that you probably missed from MLS' opening weekend.

 

Hamid Handles Hot Potato

Hamid receives a backpass that's bouncing as high as his shoulders. You can tell the defender realizes it's such a poor pass that he doesn't even expect the ball to come back to him. Hamid handles the play without any stress by dropping it with his thigh and clearing it upfield, towards the sideline. It's not an impossible play, but even just looking at Hamid's posture after he clears the ball (steps back, swaying his arms, admiring his work) is the type of confidence you want from your goalkeeper when they're in a sticky situation. It's a fortunate drop to his teammate on the sideline but we can act like it was all part of the plan.

 

MacMath Puts on the Breaks

Bunbury is expecting to get the corner here but MacMath tricks him into letting it go out for a goal kick. It's a little awkward but MacMath shows he is in complete control of his body here. It's not a reckless challenge, but rather, it's perfectly calculated by MacMath. Even if Bunbury tries to put it on frame, MacMath still has the net covered. It's the smartest play I've seen from MacMath since he's been in the league.

 

Robles Assembles Red Bulls

This is immediately following the first goal by the Red Bulls, making it a 1-1 game in the 76th minute. Leading up to this point, it's been a game that both teams have a right to claim and one I was expecting to finish in a 1-1 tie. Atlanta is playing at home for the franchise's first game ever so to leave with a point would honestly be great for New York. However, a tie isn't enough for Robles and he runs 60 yards up field (you can tell he is on Atlanta's side of the field with the lines) to push his team to score another goal. It's rare to see goalkeepers run up to celebrate with their team, but that's not Robles' point in gathering the team. I doubt he said anything earth shattering, but the action speaks volumes. He wants to win, not tie, and now the rest of the team believes it too. New York would go on to win 2-1.

 

Frei Not Bothered by Rules of the Game

The ball trickles out of bounds before the cross, which even Frei calls for. Frei probably hears the whistle blown before the shot is taken, but no matter. He's up to the task. It's a great save that unfortunately doesn't count for anything, but it sends a great message to both Houston and Seattle. While the scoreline doesn't change by the final whistle, it's this type of mindset that led Frei to make that save in the MLS final.

 

Just Like Playing FIFA

Not something I'd recommend for any goalkeeper but I do appreciate the creativity. Melia doesn't want to risk the handball outside the box and somehow manages to sneak himself out of the situation. I don't know what exactly there is to take from this outside of witnessing the entire SKC fanbase holding their breath at the same time. I do like that Melia puts himself in a position to clear the ball away and not just retreat to the goal.