Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday MLS: Red Bulls blow lead on D.C., Sounders earn emphatic Cascadia win

D.C. United 2-2 New York Red Bulls
This match started and then had to be stopped after ten minutes thanks to torrential downpours and thunderstorms. Once the match resumed, the play was almost as sloppy as the pitch conditions. Mud puddles slowed attacking runs and passes. Every prance of a player's foot was met with a heavy splash. Bradley Wright-Phillips did bumble his way through the swamp, and the D.C. defense for the opening goal in the 38th minute. Mike Grella was the one who made it happen, though. He did the dirty work and played the ball into a perfect spot for Wright-Phillips to strike it home.

A drier pitch led to a little more action in the second half. Felipe doubled the Red Bull lead in the 64th minute, but then D.C. United would turn things around. New York blew their second two goal lead in their last three games beginning with a Marcelo Sarvas PK in the 70th minute. Former New York City man Patrick Mullins scored the equalizer three minutes later to finish this Atlantic Cup match in a draw.

The point keeps Red Bulls in third place and puts United back into a playoff spot over Orlando City.

Seattle Sounders 3-1 Portland Timbers
The next edition of the Cascadia saga featured a Seattle team that has played quite well since the return of Nicolas Lodeiro and the departure of Sigi Schmid. They were looking to avenge the TImbers' 3-1 clowning of them at Providence Park earlier this season. The early portions of the game were all Sounders. Within the first 12 minutes, Jake Gleeson had to make a great save on a Jordan Morris breakaway and one on an Osvaldo Alonso laser from outside the box.

Portland then started to create chances on the counter attack. Lucas Melano missed one on the doorstep. He would then create a nice passing play between himself, Jack Mcinerney, and Alvas Powell, but the final ball flew over the Jamaican international. Needless to say, both sides were getting chances in an end to end match.

The Sounders looked a club desperate for a goal when the second half started. In truth, they were lucky not to have had one within eight minutes of the restart. Clint Dempsey missed a pair of open shots that easily could have given Seattle the lead. Their golden opportunity came in the 60th minute when Cristian Roldan beat Vytas on the outside of the area and was tripped for his trouble. Clint Dempsey confidently fired home for the go ahead goal.

Portland did well to come back with lots of pressure after the goal, but their inability to create a final ball would come back to haunt them. A counter attack in the 80th minute set up Clint Dempsey for the insurance goal that would seem to put this match away in favor of the Sounders. As if they needed it, an 83rd minute corner found the head of Roldan for the true putaway. Fanendo Adi would thump home a consolation goal for Portland, but it was way too little, way to late.

Seattle's season has really turned itself around since Schmid got fired and Lodeiro was signed. They looked to be dead and buried, but they are now only two points back of the Timbers for that sixth and final playoff spot in the West. The Timbers, meanwhile, are falling apart. They have lost four of their last five for the first time in four years. The two sides go back at it next Sunday evening back in Oregon.

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