Sunday, March 20, 2016

It Happened in America: Red Bulls earn first win, Caps get Cascadia win

Chicago Fire 0-0 Columbus Crew
Columbus is one of the more surprising teams without a point in 2016. Chicago is a great opponent to face when looking to end a short losing skid, but Columbus failed to win at home against Philadelphia last week, so dropping points to Chicago would only have been following suit. On the plus side, they were wearing their standard all black kits instead of the potentially cursed white and blue monstrosities they wore for games one and two. At the very least, the non-cursed jersey's didn't concede a goal. Although they didn't score any either. This despite outshooting Chicago 12-4 on the afternoon. The Crew are still winless after this, but at least they have a point to their name.

New York Red Bulls 4-3 Houston Dynamo
The Red Bulls have also been of to a pretty slow start based on their pre-season expectations. Their 0-for opening doesn't bode well for their Supporters Shield defense or Eat title aspirations. Sacha Kljestan's 22nd minute goal looked like a good sign for their turnaround, but a pair of Will Bruin goals before halftime put a damper on that. The second half brought some false hope for them. Mike Grella got them on level terms in the 63rd minute, but his defense failed him three minutes later. Alex slipped a shot through plenty of legs in the 65th to put the Dynamo back in front. But Yvette was more hope left for the home team. Felipe launched beautiful curling inside the far post in the 77th minute to level proceedings once more. He would bag his brace in the 84th minute to get the grab from hope to actual success, and the Red Bulls out of the winless club.

FC Dallas 2-0 Montreal Impact
Didier Drogba was not in the starting line-up for Montreal, but he was on the bench for the first time this season. This far it's been debatable whether or not he's necessary to their success this season. the probably could have used his goal scoring prowess for the entirety of this one, though. He came on in the 70th minute, but it wasn't enough of a boost for them. Dallas picked up late goals from Mauro Diaz in the 79th and Maxi Urruti in the 86th to give them the full share of the points. 

Seattle Sounders 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps
The other two shockingly pointless clubs were Seattle and Vancouver. The two Cascadia rivals would meet both looking to get on the scoreboard as far as the Western Conference standings were concerned. Vancouver got the first punch in. A trip of Christian Bolanos in the tenth minute set up Pedro Morales's spot kick to put the Caps in front early on. They would carry that lead through halftime until Andreas Ivanschitz drilled home a free kick in the 52nd minute. Another penalty would come back to haunt Seattle. In the 74h minute, Blas Perez may have been tripped in the penalty area by Chad Marshall and the ref pointed to the spot, where Morales earned his brace with ease to give Vancouver their first points of the year.

LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes
The California Clasico is always great fun, and this one was no exception. Shortly before halftime was when things started to get heated. After four yellows had already been shown, Simon Dawkins slid into the back of Sebastian Lletget's legs to earn himself a straight red card. With San Jose a man down, Galaxy took full control in the second half. Gyasi Zardes scored twice in quick succession to give them a surely insurmountable lead. The first was in the 56th and the second came six minutes later. The Quakes did pull one back through Chris Wondolowski in the 89th minute, but it wouldn't be enough to salvage a result since a Robbie Keane penalty goal ended any hope. 

Portland Timbers 2-2 Real Salt Lake
The Timbers gave themselves a rough second half against San Jose with two bad goals allowed in the first. This time around, Portland had a goal called back on offside in the second minute, and Real Salt Lake made them pay with a gorgeous free kick goal from Joao Plata in the 16th. They received a boost in the 31st when Kyle Beckerman was a sent off for a studs up challenge on Fanendo Adi, forcing RSL to play down a man nearly an hour. The Timbers came out firing against their short handed opponenets in the second half, but they would end up going down 2-0 thanks to a pacy counter attack by Yura Movsisyan in the 58th minute. The returning RSL forward bolted past Nat Borchers and beat Adam Kwarasey with a well placed shot. 

After a couple close calls for the Timbers, they finally broke through in the 79th minute when Adi knocked home a goal following a scramble in the box. Their luck seemed to have finally turned for the better in teh 83rd when Jamison Olave was shown straight red for a left arm slap to Adi's face in the penalty area. Not only was it an unnecessary challenge, but it gifted a penalty to the Timbers, which Adi nailed to level the score. Now, RSL would have to defend for ten minutes with nine men against a Timbers squad loaded with attackers. Portland was unable to penetrate the shell when all was said and done, despite several golden opportunities. 

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