Saturday, September 17, 2016

it Happened in America: Last place teams shock superiors

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
Two teams that are looking to salvage diminishing playoff hopes met in Seattle. Vancouver looked to be taking the lead early when Christian Techera looked to be in clear on an open goal in the 13th minute. A misplay from Stefan Frei had opened him up, but the Seattle keeper recovered to swat the ball away from the waiting forehead of Techera to save the day. Other than that one move, it was Seattle creating all the chances in the first half. A combination of blocked shots, nice saves, and mismanaged attacking kept the game scoreless through 45 minutes. The second half was very similar. Seattle had a couple golden chances that wee only kept out by Vancouver's stout defense and their own offensive ineptitude. The Seattle goal came from Jordan Morris in the 81st minute on a comparatively harmless chance. Morris dove to reach a rather poor cross from Nicolas Lodeiro. But the Stanford product beat David Ousted to the ball and nodded it home for the winner.

Portland Timbers 2-1 Philadelphia Union
After a choppy opening thanks to a couple injury delays, the Union were the first to create a great chance in the 33rd minute. Tranquillo Barnetta broke free along the left side of the penalty area to set up C.J. Sapong, who hammered the post with a close range shot. The slow second half gave way to an electric second, at least at the start. Diego Valeri finished off a brilliant move along the end line by Darren Mattocks to give the Timbers the lead less than a minute after the restart. A minute after that, Chris Pontius equalized for the Union. Mattocks was at it again in the middle of the pitch in the 53rd minute. His fleet footwork created a cross that Fanendo Adi poked home to return the lead to the home team. Philly never looked like getting back into the game, but Josh Yaro getting sent off in the 85th minute more or less ended it.

New York City 2-2 FC Dallas
With slow starts in the early games, this match provided some early scoring to spice things up. Tommy McNamara gave City the lead in the eighth minute. FC Dallas was level by the 20 minute mark thanks to Maxi Urruti. The rest of the half was quieter, but Michael Barrios stepped up to put Dallas in front in the 52ns minute. After that, Dallas was trying to survive, and they eventually failed. Khiry Shelton provided New York's equalizer in the 78th minute to earn a share of the points.

Montreal Impact 1-3 New England Revolution
If the New York City game started fast, this one was at ludicrous speed. Kei Kamara scored in the opening minute to give New England a lead right away. Kellyn Rowe doubled the lead in the 27th. The sub par first half didn't bode well for the Impact, but they started to climb back in  in the second. A Didier Drogba PK got them on the board in the 50th minute. That would turn into false hope, though. In the 59th minute, Rowe bagged his brace to give the Revs an insurmountable lead. The win is a boon to New England, who are now into the sixth spot in the East.

Orlando City 1-4 Columbus Crew
The last place Columbus Crew found themselves having a first half for the ages in Orlando. It was Ethan FInlay providing them with the advantage in the sixth minute. The gmae continued to go well for the last place team in the league. Defender Seb Hines proved an own goal to double the Crew's lead in the 22nd. Then, just before half time, Ola Kamara made it three. The second half was much more passive, but Orlando finally showed up late. Cyle Larin's 79th minute goal prevented the shutout, but that's about all it did. The Crew had one more in them. Kamara's second came in stoppage time to finish the unexpected big win. The Crew are now out of last place, but the bigger story is the setback for surging Orlando, who had their sights set on sneaking into the postseason.

Colorado Rapids 0-0 San Jose Earthquakes
This went just about as expected. San Jose, a team that isn't entirely finding goals lately ran into the best defense in MLS in Colorado. With their best attacker, Skelshan Gashi, on the bench, the Rapids weren't exactly able to do much going forward, either. Tim Howard was called to make a brilliant save just before half time, but that was as close as anyone came. Even after Gashi was subbed on, Colorado couldn't produce. But they still defended well on their way to a scoreless draw.
Real Salt Lake 0-1 Houston Dynamo
With Real Salt Lake firmly entrenched in the Western Conference playoffs and Houston bringing up the rear over there, you'd expect this one to go a certain way. The Dynamo had other plans, though. Alex's 36th minute goal gave them an unexpected lead in the first half. RSL would spend the rest of the match trying to slip one in, but their lack of enthusiasm on offense kept them off the scoreboard and Houston escaped with the points. It was their first win in Utah since 2007 and Salt Lake's first home loss of the season.

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