Thursday, June 2, 2016

Midweek MLS Madness: Late goals give Sounders win, Portland triumphs down a man

Philadelphia Union 3-2 Columbus Crew
The Union were looking to head into the Copa America break sitting in first place in the East. They would get to try and hold that spot against a depleted Columbus Crew side. Thanks to injuries and Copa America call ups, the Crew only had five subs available for this match.

The Union woild start this match with a few nice chances, but ended up conceding first anyway. Against the run of play, Ola Kamara collected an Ethan Finlay cross in the 14th minute and banged it home for a 1-0 Crew lead. They would not remain down for long. Chris Pontius would provide the equalizer in the 21st minute after he cut across the top of the box and unleashed a shot that took a deflection and fooled Steve Clark.

Philadelphia was still mostly in control for the rest of the first half, but they needed an acrobatic effort to keep the game tied. Ken Tribbett had to flop around on the line to stop a shot from Finlay from going in after it had beaten backup goalkeeper Matt Jones. Columbus had another chance that trickled wide of the far post just minutes before the break.

The lead would head Philly's way in the 57th minute. Pontius created a chance with speed down the left flank and played a cross to Vincent Nogueira, who slammed a deflected shot home. The match came crashing down for Columbus in the 77th minute when former Union player Conor Casey was sent off for an aggressive tackle. They would pay in the 84th minute when Fabian Herbers stretched the advantage to a pair of goals. Cristian Martinez would put home a consolation goal in stoppage time for Columbus, but it was too little, too late.

Philly indeed remains atop the East at the Copa America break with 23 points from 14 matches. They are four points clear of the Red Bulls in second. Columbus is in ninth, but they are only a pair of points out of the playoffs.

D.C. United 0-2 Seattle Sounders
This match looked like it was on a collision course with a 0-0 draw until Seattle unloading in the final fifteen minutes. Jordan Morris got them on the board in the 79th minute by slotting home a rebounded Joevin Jones shot on a counter attack. Jones would score one for himself four minutes later to put this one to bed. After a D.C. turnover, Jones chipped over Bill Hamid to confirm a massive three points for the Sounders.

Portland Timbers 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose was tasked with navigating this difficult road fixture without several of their leading players. Chris Wondolowski, their leading scorer, was the main man out for Copa America. But the likes of Simon Dawkins and Anibal Godoy would be missed as well. Despite being without Darlington Nagbe, the Timbers wasted little time getting the jump on their depleted opposition. An 11th minute Diego Valeri free kick picked out the flying head of Liam Ridgewell for the opening goal. That would sum up the first half scoring, though. Neither team was able to put together much of a threat for the majority of the first half.

There was action at the tail end of the half, though. Just before the final whistle, Dairon Asprilla was controversially sent off for a light elbow to Jordan Stewart's head. It looked like an accidental elbow, and if any card came out it probably should have been yellow. The long discussion between the referee and his assistant was all the more evidence that a yellow probably would have sufficed. But, in the end Portland had to play a ma down for 45 minutes with a one goal lead.

The Quakes controlled much of the ball in the second half. However, the short handed Timbers defense remained stout and didn't allow any outstanding looks at goal. Jake Gleeson made three saves on the night as the Timbers held their first clean sheet of 2016 to move within a point of the playoffs.

It was clear that San Jose was missing it's Copa America players. Chris Wondolowski, in particular, could have made an impact on the attack and likely could have proved the team with at least an equalizer with his team up a man. Instead, the Quakes will settle for being in sixth on 20 points heading into the break.

No comments:

Post a Comment