Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday MLS: New York is red, Portland hammers Sounders

New York City 1-3 New York Red Bulls
A crowd of 48,047 turned out to Yankee Stadium to see the second edition of the New York Derby, and many of them went home disappointed. Things looked great for the NYCFC faithful to open proceedings as they got a goal from Thomas McNamara in the sixth minute. That was all the cheering the blue half of New York would do, however.

Their lead would hold through the first half, but in the second minute of the second half, Bradley Wright-Phillips volleyed home a cross from Sacha Kljestan to level the score. The visitors' onslaught continued when Chris Duvall put the Red Bulls in front five minutes later with a nice shot from a tough angle. Matt Miazga headed home a Kljestan free kick in the 72nd to finish the damage. Red Bulls only won the match 3-1, but they dang well could have had five or six goals in the second half alone. City is lucky this thing wasn't much, much worse for them.

Portland Timbers 4-1 Seattle Sounders
Portland probably had their best attacking match of the season. They were getting fluid passing plays from Gaston Fernandez, Diego Valeri, and Fanando Adi all game long. Darlington Nagbe, who usually just puts his head down and screams towards the goal with extreme tunnel vision, actually made his driving runs count for something. He also scored the first goal of the match for Portland. Valeri laid the ball for him perfectly and Nagbe stepped up to blast home a bender in the 12th minute.

Against the run of play, which is how Seattle played the entire match, the Sounders equalized with Lamar Neagle booting home a free kick in the 38th minute.

Portland controlled possession for pretty much the whole second half, and were rewarded bigtime for their efforts in the last 20 minutes. Adi scored his team leading seventh of the season by chipping home a perfect pass from Nagbe after one of his ballsy runs in the 74th. Only 75 seconds later, before the green and gold smoke had cleared from the Timbers Army, Adi struck again with a driving run and perfect shot of his own to make it 3-1. Rodney Wallace scored his first of the year in stoppage time.

Portland had just the game they needed after the 5-0 humbling defeat in LA on Wednesday. They took advantage of a weakened Seattle team and got the result they deserved. But let's talk about how lifeless the Sounders look without Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. Without their two best players in the lineup, the attack is just not there. A team that can usually out pace and create chances against the best of the best is reduced to having to counter and score on set pieces. Dempsey only has one more game left on his suspension, but he will not play again before he ships off to the US National Team to play in the Gold Cup, where he will be for the entire month of July. Martins is still out for a few more weeks with the chest injury suffered in the US Open Cup fiasco against the Timbers two weeks ago. They could be without their best players for the next four games, a period of time that can turn into a very defining stretch for the defending Supporters' Shield winners.

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