Sunday, June 7, 2015

It Happened in America: Impact and Timbers stay hot, LA stays cold

New York City 2-1 Philadelphia Union
After a first half filled with saves, mostly from Josh Saunders, Union went ahead just after halftime. The goal came off a corner that CJ Sapong toed home while falling down in traffic. It was an impressive effort. The lead would not last long because Thomas McNamara  blasted home a sniper's shot from well outside the penalty area in the 53rd minute. New York's winner came from Patrick Mullins in the 87th minute. New York City gets a much needed win while the count down the days until Frank Lampard, and maybe Andrea Pirlo if reports are to be believed, show up at Yankee Stadium. They still sit in the East's basement. Philly's little three wins in four matches run comes to an end and they fall below the red line into seventh once again.

DC United 1-2 Toronto FC
United opened the scoring in the sixth minute off a corner from Fabian Espindola that was booted home by Steve Birnbaum. With all the chances Toronto had, its a wonder it took them until the 34th minute to equalize. It was, who else, Sebastian Giovinco scoring for the Reds with one of those runs and moves that he is making himself famous for in MLS. His second came in the 83rd with a well placed curler from 25 yards out. Giovinco is leading the way for Toronto with seven goals on the season. The Italian is proving to be a real MLS difference maker who might be the final piece that leads Toronto to their first ever playoff appearance.

Columbus Crew 1-2 Montreal Impact
Another match for Monteal, another win for Montreal. This time they pick one up on the road in Columbus. The first half was scoreless, but Maxim Tissot changed that ten minutes into the second half. Andres Romero would double the lead in the 79th minute to secure all three points for the Impact. Fedrico Higuain made it interesting a minute into stopage time, but it was not enough for the Crew to complete a comeback. Montral continues their steady climb up the East as they continue to play more matches after a light schedule to open the season. They have now won four of their last five to move up to eighth place, only two points back of Columbus with four games in hand.

Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Seattle Sounders
Kansas City dominated the game from both a shooting and possession standpoint, but they couldn't score until Benny Feilhaber knocked home a penalty in the 84th minute. That was enough for Sporting to get a win to remain in third out West. Regardless of the negative result, Seattle still sits atop the West with 26 points from 14 matches.

Chicago Fire 2-3 Orlando City
Sloppy defending from the Fire was the entire story here as two own goals became their ultimate undoing. Chicago got their opening goal after only eight minutes had been played. Kennedy Igboananike was on the end of a tiki-taka set of passes off a short corner. The inevitable equalizer came in the 40th minute on an own goal off Chicago defender Adailton off a corner. David Accam would put Chicago ahead again in the 57th minute when he received a well placed pass from Harry Shipp. Orlando would take until the 82nd minute to get it to 2-2. Cyle Larin stole the ball in the Chicago end and balsted home a curler from outside the area. Adailton was the victim on the winner as he buried his second own goal of the match in the 86th minute. Scoring two goals is nice, just not when they both go in your own net.

LA Galaxy 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
Vancouver waltzes into the Stub Hub Center and gets a comfortable 1-0 win against the Galaxy. Kekuta Manneh was the Whitecaps' hero in the 37th minute on a counter attack completed by a low shot from the edge of the box. The defending champs never really threatened and are extremely lucky the scoreline wasn't worse than it was. Only the poor finsihing of Octavio Rivero kept it from being a two or three goal separation. Galaxy really stunk it up tonight. They failed to get a single shot on target in a home macth that they should be at least gritting out a point in. They need to get their act together if they want to give their title defense any merit. They are only a point ahead of the Dynamo for the sixth and final Western playoff spot.

Portland Timbers 2-0 New England Revolution
I feel like this game was proof of two things. The first was that the Timbers truly are the wild card in MLS and you never really know what you will get from them on any given night. The second was that on any given night they can dominate any team in the league. Seriously, they owned this game against the defending Eastern Conference champs. They launched 19 total shots compared to New England's four. The only reason it wasn't 5-0 to the Timbers was Bobby Shuttleworth's goalkeeping. It certainly helped that Portland had their holding midfield combo of Diego Chara and Will Johnson together for the first time all season. They did very well to both keep the Revs' attack from getting out of hand and facilitate attacking moves out of their own half. Fanando Adi, who has been the target of much of my Portland Timbers criticism, got the brace in the final ten minutes to send three points to the Rose City. Performances like this give me hope for the future, unlike the uninspired play we saw from them in early last month. Portland has now won three straight and has jumped to fourth place in the West, the highest they've been all season.

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