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MLS Week 3 review: FC Cincinnati’s incredible home opener and more

A roundup of notable Week 3 MLS moments. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Stand up and give yourselves an extended round of applause, FC Cincinnati fans. 

Sunday’s home opener for the expansion side at Nippert Stadium was a dream come true for everyone involved with the franchise. Kendall Waston’s 15th-minute goal ignited the party that started well before kickoff around the stadium, and it continued further when Allan Cruz scored on a back-heeled shot in front of goal, followed quickly by a Mathieu Deplagne goal. 

Cincinnati could be the next soccer hotbed to take off on a national stage, following in Atlanta and Minnesota’s footsteps from a few years ago. The outpouring of support in Cincinnati is exactly people at the Major League Soccer offices want to see.

From Leonardo Bertone’s golazo in Seattle to Roland Lamah’s equalizer in Atlanta and the 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday, FC Cincinnati fans are already filling up a book full of memories. 

With a good mix of MLS veterans and internationals in the squad, FC Cincinnati is set up for success in its first year. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the performances of FC Cincinnati in the coming weeks, especially in April, when it has to face Sporting Kansas City, LAFC and the New York Red Bulls.

While FC Cincinnati’s home opener was the best moment of Week 3, there were plenty of other notable occurrences, including the Seattle Sounders rolling again and an impressive group of young players shining in the final third. 

Goals of the Week 

Allan Cruz, FC Cincinnati 

Cruz’s backheel in front of Jeff Attinella was so filthy. We’ll be watching it on repeat for a while.

Lucas Rodriguez, D.C. United

A volleyed effort never looked as effortless as Lucas Rodriguez made it appear in D.C.’s thumping of Real Salt Lake.

Get aboard the hype trains

Plenty of hype trains are leaving the station early this MLS season, and you can add three more players to the list of exciting young stars in MLS.

Houston Dynamo homegrown player Memo Rodriguez bagged a brace in his team’s 3-2 win over Vancouver, Brenden Aaronson scored in his debut for the Philadelphia Union and U.S. under-20 forward Ayo Akinola scored for Toronto FC. 

Add those performances to the ones we’ve already seen out of Paxton Pomykal at FC Dallas and Efrain Alvarez with the LA Galaxy, and you have a fine collection of blossoming stars not afraid of the spotlight. 

Seattle Sounders are really, really good 

Three games. Three wins. Ten goals. 

This isn’t the Seattle Sounders team we’re used to seeing in March. They aren’t waiting until the summer to make their move this time around. 

Brian Schmetzer’s team looks like the class of MLS with the attack of Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro, Victor Rodriguez and Raul Ruidiaz firing on all cylinders already. 

All four of those players notched a goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire, and if you look at the league stat charts, they are covered in rave green.

Morris and Ruidiaz are part of a seven-man tie atop the Golden Boot leaderboard and Lodeiro is one of three players with three assists in three games. 

Seattle could very well start the season 6-0 with Vancouver, Real Salt Lake and Colorado next up on the schedule, and if you’re looking for an early-season clash to get excited about, the Sounders play LAFC on April 21. 

Wayne Rooney, D.C. United also really, really good

D.C. United established itself as the early team to beat in the Eastern Conference, and reinforced that point by punishing a Real Salt Lake squad that dealt with red cards Saturday.

Wayne Rooney led the charge for the Black and Red by scoring his first career hat trick in MLS, and he also assisted on Lucas Rodriguez’s unreal volleyed attempt. 

Although Rooney and his fellow attackers are receiving most of the credit for D.C.’s start, it’s defense is worthy of praise, too, as the only group to concede zero goals in three weeks. 

Ignacio Piatti: Still underrated

While we were busy oozing with praise for FC Cincinnati, Seattle, D.C. and others, Ignacio Piatti went out and scored two more goals for the Montreal Impact. 

Despite his lengthy success in MLS, Piatti remains one of the most criminally underrated players in MLS history.

All Piatti’s done since joining MLS in 2014 is score 66 goals and hand out 34 assists in 127 regular-season games, and Saturday’s brace was his 14th multiple-goal performance in MLS. 

Don’t panic Portland

It’s easy to make overreactions based off Portland’s slow start, but it’s also worth remembering the Timbers don’t play at Providence Park until June 1. 

If they can salvage some points out of their 12-game road trip to start the season, the Timbers should be fine once they get to stay at home and not get on an airplane every weekend. 

Yankee Stadium complaint corner

Yankee Stadium is a great venue for baseball, not soccer. We all know that and that thought process gets reinforced every time New York City FC makes an appearance on national television. 

Yankee Stadium baseball celebration of the week 

Visiting players mocking NYCFC playing in a baseball stadium never gets old. Carlos Vela hit the latest home run on Sunday. 

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