Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday MLS: Seattle lucks into a win, Red Bulls stomp DC United

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Portland Timbers
A crowd of 64,358 fans, the largest in MLS this season, watched the Sounders scrap out a win over their arch rivals to get back onto a playoff spot. Although Portland will feel hard done by the end result.

Things didn't get off to a good start for Portland. Obafemi Martins, who missed the last Seattle-Portland match, created a turnover in the Portland penalty area and fought his way to the opening goal in the sixth minute. Portland settled in nicely after conceding. They had a few golden chances over the course of the next half hour, but none had the final touch to score.

In the 40th minute, Seattle was awarded a very controversial penalty. Obafemi Martins was past the defense and in on goal. He got a touch to the ball and sent it towards the post before clattering into Adam Kwarasey, who was then called for a penalty. Kwarasey didn't initiate any contact. He was merely going for the ball, missed it, and was plowed in to by Martins. Evans scored on the penalty, so Seattle was handed a questionable 2-0 lead at halftime.

Portland then experienced a most frustrating early second half. As they failed to get anything of note going forward, they began to resort to sloppy challenges to regain possession. they kept fighting, however. Jack Jewsbury finally gave the Timbers their just reward in the 58th minute. Portland earned a corner and Jewsbury was there to head home Diego Valeri's take to get the Rose City on the board. Seattle's defense tightened up quite well and didn't allow Portland much room to operate as the clock ticked towards the end. There were a few chances, but only one or two real threats.

Seattle uses the win to get back into sixth place and a Western Conference playoff spot. Portland misses a chance to climb as high as third had they won the game. Instead, they are stuck in fifth after an infuriating performance for them. They were, far and away, the better team in many ways. They took 20 shots despite having inferior possession. Seattle never made much progress going forward after the first five minutes and only doubled their lead on a poor penalty call. The Timbers have no reason to hang their heads after this, they really deserved at least a point today.

New York Red Bulls 3-0 DC United
New York was controlling the game early on but didn't catch and great chances until the half hour mark. The one great chance before that was a Sacha Kljestan run that ended in a timely save from Bill Hamid. Lloyd Sam was they man giving the Red Bulls the lead in the 33rd minute against some horrid defending from DC United. Bradley Wright Phillips volleyed home the second goal in the 42nd off a picture perfect cross from Mike Grella.

New York continued their less than subtle domination after the half. Even down 2-0, DC was not able to get anything going in their attacking half. An hour into proceedings they only had two shots compared to New York's 20. In the 64th minute, Wright-Phillips took advantage of more sloppy United play in their own end to bag his second of the game and essentially end any hope DC might have had of coming back to earn a result.

United, who once had a double digit points lead in the East, now see their advantage drop to only two over these Red Bulls. To make their position even less sound, New York has three matches in hand on United. 

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