Sunday, May 8, 2016

It Happened in America: Crew blow three goal second half lead and draw Montreal

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Portland Timbers
The first match of Portland's Cascadia Cup season took place in the Great White North of Vancouver. After allowing Vancouver to dominate the game, the Timbers were able to get on the board first. A driving run fro, Darlington Nagbe put him in position to play a low cross across the goal to a sliding Nat Borchers for the easy tap in. Vancouver would continue to step on the gas, forcing Jake Gleeson to continue building his reputation for making wonderful saves. At long last, the Caps equalized at the hour mark with a well placed shot from Japanese import Masato Kudo. They took the lead six minites later thanks to Gleeson ending his reputation for greatness. A slight header from Christian Bolanos off a Blas Perez shot was enough to throw the keeper off and allow the ball to trickle through his legs and into the goal. In truth, the win could have been bigger for Vancouver. They had many more chances to stretch the lead and, except for the lone goal, Portland was mostly silent on the afternoon.

Columbus Crew 4-4 Montreal Impact
Kei Kamara is doing his best to signal the return of Columbus in 2016. His 16th minute goal was something we got used to seeing from Columbus last year when they made the run to the MLS Cup Final. Ignaccio Piatti one-uped Kamara with a fantastic goal of his own in the 26th minute. It looked like that would be all Montreal could celebrate on the night. Kamara notched a brace just before half time. Then, in the second half, Federico Higuain took scored twice in the first ten minutes, including once from the spot. Instead of a calm and collected 4-1 victory, what followed instead was an epic collapse from the Crew.

Didier Drogba would get Montreal's storm rolling by putting one in from the spot in the 57th. Under a minute later, Piatti scored his second to make it a one goal game. It almost looked like the equalizer would evade them, but they were saved in stoppage time by Dominic Oduro. A throw in fell to his feet allowing him to bang the ball home to help Montreal earn a glorious point in Columbus.

Toronto FC 1-0 FC Dallas
The long road trip is finally over. Toronto could finally come home to open up their newly renovated stadium, in front of a bonkers crowd. The stadium looks nice. The roof gives it a more European feel to it and makes it look a lot larger than it really is. In the grand scheme, it's just an American style soccer stadium with a roof, but it's a fairly nice touch.

As for the match, the first goal at new look BMO Field the came from an unlikely source in the 29th minute. A Sebastian Giovinco shot banged off the woodwork and fell to Tsubasa Endoh for the tap in. The scary moment came at the end of the match when Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez had to be stretchered off after taking Will Johnson's knee to the face after making a save on an impressive effort by Giovinvo. Having used all their subs, Ryan Honlingshead had to step in and play goal for about six minutes of stoppage time and Dallas had to search for their equalizer while a man down. Hollingshead made a couple of saves. One was on a quality chance from Toronto 30 seconds before the final whistle, but Dallas didn't put anything on target in that time to make it matter anyway.

Houston Dynamo 2-0 Sporting Kansas City
The Dynamo have been off to a slow start this season, but SKC have been going cold of late and might present a chance for Houston to get on track at home. A half hour in, they were, in fact, on track thanks to a goal from Giles Barnes. Andrew Wenger made it better right before halftime by doubling the lead. It was really an ugly night all around for Sporting. They looked very inept offensively and only landed three simple shots on target on the whole night. Houston did do well to shell up and defend the two goal lead, but SKC should have provided more going forward. Especially for a team that I called one of the best in the West a few weeks ago.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Real Salt Lake
Two of the better stories in the Western Conference faced off in another edition of the Rockey Mountain Cup. RSL won the first round, but that was before Jermain Jones showed up and lit the Rapids on fire. After a scoreless first half. Jones scored once again for the Rapids to give them the lead. Colorado's attempts to hold the lead were sloppy at times, but ultimately successful. Real Salt Lake had a couple of nice opportunities that were the result of some quick pace and wayward defending, but the finishing wasn't there.

Seattle Sounders 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes
Clint Dempsey finally showed up for Seattle when he scored in the 26th minute on a move started by Jordan Morris near the corner flag and culminating in Dempsey's first time curler past a helpless David Bingham. Chris Wondolowski did come close to equalizing before the break, but he was stopped by a sliding Stefan Frei. They could have leveled again when Simon Dawkins hit the crossbar on a free kick at the 58 minute mark.  After that chance, Seattle looked the side more likely to score a goal. They were the ones putting hte attacking pressure on and forcing important interventions out of Bingham. That was the case untilm the 84th minute when San Jose got the penalty they were looking for a half hour earlier. A late challenge from Tyrone Mears put Wondo on the spot where he. driled his shot into the post after sending Frei the wrong way. After the miss, Jordan Morris bounced a long shot past Bingham for an 89th minute insurance goal and the Quakes were sunk.

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