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Moments of Matchday - Opening Weekend

February 25, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

Below is a selection of the notable performances and moments from the 11 matches played thus far on the opening weekend of the 2024 MLS season.

Opening weekend action continues this afternoon as the 2023 MLS Supporters' Shield winners FC Cincinnati host Toronto FC (2:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass) and Nashville SC welcome MLS debutant Emil Forsberg and the New York Red Bulls to GEODIS Park (5 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass). The opening week of the MLS season closes at 9 p.m. ET on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV as Riqui Puig and the LA Galaxy look to slow an Inter Miami CF squad that picked up their first win of the season on Wednesday.

LAFC Continues Season-Debut Dominance

No club in MLS history has emerged stronger out of the season-starting gate than the Los Angeles Football Club, the Western Conference representative in each of the last two MLS Cups. With a 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, LAFC won their seventh consecutive season-opening match, surpassing FC Dallas (six consecutive wins, 2012-17) for the longest such streak in league history.

Behind goals from Timothy Tillman (Watch Here) and Mateusz Bogusz (Watch Here ), LAFC kept their club slate clean in season-opening matches, improving to 7-0-0 in their club's history in season openers. Critical to the victory was World Cup-winning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who notched seven saves in his debut with the club and joined Tyler Miller as the only 'keepers in club history with at least seven saves in a match.

Benteke Bags Hat Trick, D.C. United Cruise to 3-1 Victory

There was scoring aplenty in the nation's capital, as Christian Benteke's hat trick - the second of his MLS career - powered D.C. United past the New England Revolution, 3-1. D.C. United's win was their fourth consecutive in a season-opening game, establishing a new club record.

Benteke's hat trick, which featured goals in the 34th, 72nd, and 93rd minutes, was the sixth in MLS history in a season-opening game and the first since LAFC's Carlos Vela in 2022. The others to accomplish the feat include Brian Ching (four goals, 2006), Jason Kreis (three, 1999), David Estrada (three, 2012), and Mike Magee (three, 2013).

Crew Begin Quest for Repeat with 1-0 Victory

The reigning MLS Cup champions showed no signs of slowing down in 2024 as the Columbus Crew defeated Atlanta United, 1-0, at Field to kick off the weekend. Once again for Columbus, it was the 2023 MLS Cup MVP Cucho Hernández who shined brightest, scoring the game-winning goal in the 27th minute (Watch Here ). Hernández became the first reigning MLS Cup MVP to score in a season-opening game since Diego Valeri did so in 2016 for the Portland Timbers.

Columbus' victory marked the 13th consecutive regular-season home match without suffering a defeat, which is now the second-longest stretch in club history. The Crew also became just the third MLS Cup champion in the past eight seasons to win their debut match the following season. Club captain Darlington Nagbe also continued to make history, appearing in his 102nd-straight regular-season game, passing Jakob Glesnes for the third-longest appearance streak in league history.

Charlotte Shines in Front of Rocking Home Crowd

In front of 62,291 fans at Bank of America Stadium, 22-year-old defender Adilson Malanda scored his first-career MLS goal in the eighth minute (Watch Here) and Charlotte FC shut out the NYCFC attack to preserve a 1-0 victory in front of an energized home crowd.

The victory extended Charlotte's home unbeaten run to 10 consecutive matches, a club record. The Queen City also witnessed the first appearance by Nimfasha Berchimas, who at 16 years and two days old became the ninth-youngest player to make his MLS debut.

Timbers, Eryk Williamson Get Off to Flying Start in Phil Neville Era

In the final match of Saturday evening, the Portland Timbers electrified fans at Providence Park with a convincing 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. The victory marked the first under new head coach Phil Neville and saw debuts for offseason acquisitions Kamal Miller in defense along with James Pantemis in goal. Second-year Brazilian forward Antony scored a first-half brace, joining teammate Santiago Moreno as the only players aged 22-and-under to do so in club history.

In his first appearance since suffering a torn ACL early last season, the man that opened the scoring for the Timbers in the ninth minute was midfielder Eryk Williamson (Watch Here). Williamson's goal was his first since May 1, 2021, marking 1,029 days between MLS goals.

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Major League Soccer Stories from February 25, 2024

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