MLS Roundup: Dallas pulls out heroic draw, Valeri gives Timbers late win

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A pair of Major League Soccer fixtures finished out the weekend matches. Both featured late drama, but the nature contrasted entirely.

FC Dallas picked up a draw thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Raul Fernandez. He admitted after the match on Twitter that despite the single point he was happy to bring home something in his hands – literally.

Fernandez kept the game at a 2-2 draw from the Vancouver equalizer in the 53rd minute, diving and parrying to his heart’s content.

The goalkeeping masterpiece was vital to the survival of Dallas’s momentum. Holding an unbeaten streak since June 7, Dallas still needed this point to hold off Vancouver in the muddy middle of the Western Conference standings.

But from the other side of the coin, Vancouver let another chance slip through its fingers. “There was only one team that was going to win that game,” said Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson. “Even at half time I had full confidence in the guys. We played very well for the first half hour of the game but we switched off mentally twice.”

Despite the fact they lack a win all month, the Whitecaps still could have used three points to vault past Dallas into fourth position, but it wasn’t to be thanks to Fernandez.

Meanwhile, the Portland Timbers used flair and style to beat Montreal 3-2 on a late goal from Diego Valeri.

Both teams squandered a lead, but it was Valeri’s low strike from outside the top of the box that proved the difference with just eight minutes to go.

The visitors went home with the spoils, playing a risk/reward game the entire time with midfielders and wing backs springing forward regularly. It paid off with a trio of goals, one each from Valeri, Will Johnson, and Max Urruti.

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There’s still a good ways to go for Portland, who remain in seventh in the Western Conference, but they are now tied with the LA Galaxy on points and are just three behind the final playoff spot. Problem is, there are a whopping six teams within five points of each other, and Portland remain bottom of that bunch.

LINEUPS: Tim Howard starts for USMNT against Costa Rica

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 01:  Tim Howard of the United States gestures during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Belgium and the United States at Arena Fonte Nova on July 1, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
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The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.

Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.

[ MORE: Fabian Johnson sent home from USMNT after fall-out with Klinsmann ]

In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.

Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.

Cristiano Ronaldo wins record fourth European Golden Boot

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 13:  Real Madrid football player Cristiano Ronaldo poses with his four Golden Boot Awards as maximun goal scorer of European leagues at The Westin Palace Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.

The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS playoff scenarios ]

Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.

With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.

Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:

What a special moment in my professional life!

Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.

I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.

Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.

[ EURO 2016: A look at the 20 teams that have qualified for France ]

While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.