Thursday, September 10, 2015

Midweek MLS Madness: Vancouver claims Shield lead, Portland and SKC still level

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0  Colorado Rapids
Colorado did well to hold with their far superior opposition through the first half. Despite being out possessed 57-43, the Rapids managed to equal the Caps in shots on their way to a goalless first frame. Neither team was really able to get much going in their own attacking half, despite each side's seven shots. Passing into the box was very sparse and mostly unsuccessful. Vancouver came alive and pulled way ahead after the break. Octavio Rivero put them on the board in the 73rd and Cristian Techera added the second four minutes later. They would cruise to victory in a second half that was certainly tipped towards Vancouver's attacking end. Shots went from even at the half to 16-9 to the Caps by the final whistle. The win lifts Vancouver to the top of the West and Supporters' Shield piles.

Portland Timbers 0-0 Sporting Kansas City
Neither team exactly found a rhythm in the first half, but the second half brought some fireworks. Most of the ammo belonged to the Timbers, and Lucas Melano in particular. Melano probably could have had a hat trick shortly after the hour mark had it not been for some heroic goalkeeping from Tim Melia. The best chance came after Graham Zusi drilled a post with a shot. Portland managed to get a great counter attack after the scramble in front of their goal that resulted in Melano, Diego Valeria, and Fanedno Adi leading a three on one charge, Melano got the shot, but Melia managed to get his body to it and keep the game scoreless.

This progressed into your prototypical Portland Timbers game. The home side defended well, the only real Kansas City chance was Zusi's post, and showed an utter lack of finishing ability. The chances were there on many occasions, but they were foiled each and every time, often by Portland's own mistakes. Whether it was an ill advised and/or rushed shot, failure to pick out the right pass, or poor ball on the right pass, nothing was ever there for Portland.

Although you can knock the Timbers forwards all you want, Tim Melia's performance cannot be discounted. Despite overwhelming pressure, Melia held strong in thee Sporting goal and kept the clean sheet. This despite the fact that he was peppered with seven shots on target.

The two sides had to settle for a goalless draw and entering a three way tie with Seattle for fourth in the West. Kansas City has the slight advantage, however, as they have a pair of games in hand over both Portland and Seattle.

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