Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday MLS: NYC downs the champs, SKC remembers how to score

Houston Dynamo 1-0 Real Salt Lake
After inclement weather postponed this game last night, RSL and Houston finally got going this afternoon. There were a couple of nice first half chances for both sides. The best of the lot came at the 40th minute mark when DaMarcus Beasley played in a cross to Erik Torres on the edge of the six, but the attempt thundered off the pitch and over the bar. With that opportunity ending in failure, the match went into the break without a goal.

Houston pounded the goal in the second half. Chance after chance came their way with nothing going in. In the 66th minute that finally changed. After RSL had a goal called back for a foul, Giles Barnes used his pace to beat the RSL defense to a loose ball, continued his run, and pounded home to give the Dynamo the lead. Real Salt Lake didn't exactly mount much of a comeback after that. They had a couple of half chances, but nothing led to an equalizing goal. They have now gone from unbeaten in their first six matches to having lost three out of their last four.

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Orlando City
Sporting Kansas City have had trouble scoring goals and Orlando have had trouble keeping them out. Both sides inability to put goals home was on display in the first half. Orlando blew chance after chance thanks to poor decision making on final passes and shots. Sporting just couldn't land a shot on target from a threatening position. The goal SKC thought they had was called back on offside.

The near misses for Kansas City continued in the second half. Great shots were put right into the keeper's chest. Quick breaks were spoiled by inaccurate shooting. Orlando broke the scoreless spell in the 67th minute off a corner. The original ball fell to the floor to a sea of legs. After bouncing off several Kansas City legs it bumbled over the line and put Orlando ahead.

Orlando would have their work cut out for them in order to hold the 1-0 lead. Sporting Kansas City seemed to be doing their work for them. More poor shooting, good saves, and even a header off the line continued to foil the home team. At long last, Dom Dwyer floated a header into the net in the 74th minute to end SKC's dry spell. It was their first goal in three games and it came on their 29th shot of the match. Jacob Peterson would score the winner for them five minutes later. He gave himself an open look at a Roger Espinoza cross for the header.

Sporting Kansas City ends their seven game winless streak. It was the first time they had scored more than a single goal since that run began. Orlando is now without a win in six matches and has fallen below the red line.

Portland Timbers 1-2 New York City
The Timbers were looking to rebound from another weak stretch of matches by welcoming New York City to Providence Park. It wasn't good early, despite controlling much of the ball. In the 12th minute, R.J. Allen played a wonderful pass (after handling the ball) to David Villa who fought hard to slot home past Jake Gleeson. The Timbers were getting some opportunities in response. Darlington Nagbe forced a nice save out of Josh Saunders shortly after the goal. They had six first half corners, but couldn't capitalize off any of them.

The Timbers got their breakthrough in the second half, but not after several close calls of failure. After creating a turnover in midfield, Fanendo Adi calmly fired home the equalizing goal in the 55th minute. New York City was not to be dismayed, though. After the Timbers failed on a breakaway with Lucas Melano, a seemingly harmless possession for NYC turned into Tommy McNamara curling a shot into the upper corner to restore the lead in the 65th minute. That would prove to be the winner as any threat Portland had posed all game more or less disappeared in the final half hour.

This marks the third consecutive 2-1 loss for the Timbers, who now reside in the Western Conference basement. It's their first three game skid in four years. On the flipside, New York City has now won three straight and is unbeaten in four. They are level on points with Montreal for the top spot in the East.

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