D.C. United hope to keep surprising after beating Eastern Conference favourites

One of the bigger surprises in week one of the MLS regular season came from D.C. United, the former home of Wayne Rooney.

United struggled mightily in 2020 but kicked off the new campaign with a 2-1 upset of New York City FC.

United had less than 40% of possession at home but got a goal from defender Brendan Hines-Ike and a Russell Canouse goal off a corner right before the half-time whistle. Those two goals in a five-minute span were enough to earn D.C. United all three points against an Eastern Conference favourite.

This week they will have to do it again to prove they are for real. United go on the road to face New England Revolution, an Eastern Conference finalist last year. The Revs started the new campaign with a 2-2 draw against Chicago Fire, recovering after finding themselves 2-0 down after 11 minutes.

According to Paddy Power, New England are 8/15 to get their first win of the season, while United are 6/1 to keep their run going. A draw is listed at 10/3.

Toronto FC making moves off the pitch

Things didn't go well on the pitch for Toronto FC in their opener as they fell 4-2 to rivals CF Montreal and they can't play games at home, due to Canada's COVID regulations. Without striker Jozy Altidore (hamstring) and 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo (thigh), the Reds don't have any Designated Players in action.

But off the field, things are improving as the franchise is preparing to upgrade BMO Field, with a focus on hosting games at the 2026 World Cup. FIFA's main event in five years will be co-hosted by Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

BMO Field is set up to host 30,000 soccer fans, and the project for expansion will take that to at least 45,000 by 2026. TFC president Bill Manning said that BMO Field meets all of FIFA's requirements, and they are on board with the expansion plans.

Three Canadian cities will host World Cup games in 2026, with Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton as the choices. Mexico will have three host cities as well, and the US will have 10 venues, all to be decided by the end of 2021.

Toronto also traded an international roster spot to FC Dallas this week in exchange for $225,000 in General Allocation Money. That could lay the groundwork for adding a third Designated Player.

Toronto will be back on the pitch Saturday against Vancouver in Florida's Exploria Stadium. This game is Toronto's home opener in their borrowed stadium, and Paddy Power has them at 8/15, with Vancouver at 5/1 and a draw at 18/5.

(Odds correct at time of writing, subject to change).

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