Monday, May 2, 2016

Sunday MLS: Gleeson the hero for Portland

Portland Timbers 2-1 Toronto FC
The final game of Toronto's season opening road trip took them to Portland, which is always a tough place to play whether you are on the tail end of an endless run of away matches or not. They were a little slow to open the match and that allowed some wonderful one touch passing to put Portland in front in the 17th minute. Fanendo Adi was on the tail end of the series of connections. He slotted into an empty corner of the goal after receiving the key pass from Diego Valeri. After getting a couple more chances to stretch the lead, they ended up conceding to an old ally. Will Johnson, making his return to Providence Park, where he used to captain the Timbers, put Toronto on terms in the 40th minute.

The Timbers came out in the second half looking very sloppy. With Toronto putting the heat on the Portland net, they probably should have went in front in the 51st minute on an open header by Drew Moor that somehow deflected into the crossbar. On the other end, Fanendo Adi should have scored for Portland in the 56th when he was on the receiving end of a pass from Lucas Melano on a quick counter attack. Right around the hour mark, Gleeson was called upon to make a big save on another open header in the penalty area. The Timbers would be the first to reverse this trend of near misses. In the 74th minute, Diego Valeri curled in a perfect free kick that gave Clint Irwin no chance to make a save.

The chances kept coming for Toronto. Michael Bradley could have scored a few minutes after the goal, but Gleeson, again, got a paw to his blast before it could reach the upper 90. Gleeson robbed Johnson in stoppage time, as well. The backup keepers heroics were enough to give Portland a win.

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 LA Galaxy
Brad Davis seems to be enjoying his time in Kansas City. His ability to create something from almost nothing manifested itself in the opening goal in the 30th minute. He collected a long ball from Graham Zusi, juked out of two Galaxy defenders and curled a shot inside the far post. Gio Dos Santos was equally impressive early on for LA. While SKC was threatening to score a second goal, Dos Santos was able to spring himself and chip over Tim Melia for a 42nd minute equalizer.

The second half did not deliver any goals, but that doesn't mean it was without fireworks. They struck in the 69th and 70th minutes when Ashley Cole was sent off for two yellow cards in less than a minute, first for time wasting (in the 69th minute... really dude!?) and then for a hard foul on Benny Feilhaber. LA did what they could to argue, but it was no doubt a second yellow card and a sending off.

Kansas City was unable to capitalize off the advantage, even though they dominated the game everywhere else. They launched 17 shots on the night, but the only one that found the target was the Brad Davis goal. Equally inept was the Galaxy shooting. They only got four on the night with the goal, again, being the only on target attempt.

For as exciting as the first half was, this actually was a pretty ugly game.

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