Portland Timbers against the Seattle Sounders

Valeri, Wallace goals help Portland cruise past Chivas USA

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Even on a day that included the revenge at RSL, Saturday’s game in Portland may have been the day’s least competitive. Scoring within 10 minutes and holding Chivas USA to only one shot on target, the Timbers cruised at Providence Park, with two notable goals helping the team claim the 2-0 victory that pulled them even with Colorado for fifth in the Western Conference.

For Diego Valeri, the notable part of his 10th minute goal was less the finish than the mere fact that he scored. Again. While his diving shot from just beyond the arc is destined for this week’s highlight reels, Valeri’s four goals in four (now seven for the season) is the real discussion point. Just as he did last year, when a number of timely performances late in the season pushed the Timbers to first in their conference, Valeri’s stepping up when his team’s in need, this goal-scoring streak pushing Portland to the edge of the West’s playoff picture.

Portland’s second goal struck a more emotional note. Ending last year’s breakout, seven-goal season, Rodney Wallace suffered a tibial fracture in 2013’s final game. After six months of rehab, the Costa Rican returned in late May, having missed out on his compete for a spot at the World Cup.

In Sunday’s 39th minute, Wallace twisted onto ball flicked up by Fanendo Adi, burying his first MLS goal since returning to the field. In the process, the left winger also killed off the match. Against a Chivas team that never got out of its blocks, Portland had more than enough.

Given last Saturday’s showing in Los Angeles, we shouldn’t read too much into Portland’s result, but compared to the relatively close game the team played in Montréal two weeks ago, Saturday showed progress. Confident and cunning from the opening whistle, the Timbers prevented the match from becoming a game – the type of affair Erick Torres got used to stealing in July.

Instead, the Timbers executed like a team that can legitimately challenge for the postseason. Though they’re not in the top five quite yet, they have the talent to control their destiny. Portland may yet avoid being this year’s San Jose.

Swansea 2-2 Tottenham: Eriksen free-kick double atones for Kane blooper

during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Swansea, Wales.
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  • Andre Ayew’s powerful header gave Swansea the opener
  • Christian Eriksen struck two brilliant free-kick goals
  • A Harry Kane own-goal left Spurs feeling unlucky

Tottenham will feel unlucky to be left without all three points thanks to a cringe-worthy own goal by Harry Kane, but a pair of free-kick goals from Christian Eriksen left Spurs feeling the better side and gave the visitors a 2-2 comeback draw at the Liberty Stadium.

Things started slowly, with Nacer Chadli‘s saved shot in the 12th minute the first real effort on goal, but the game would explode open with the opener just four minutes later.

Jefferson Montero collected the ball on the left edge of the box, and he chipped across the penalty area to Andre Ayew who generated shocking power with a thumping header into the far corner of the net for the game’s first goal and his fourth of the season. The goal is the first from open play for Swansea since August.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs began slowly moving themselves into the ascendency and would get a reward for their efforts. Dele Alli was chopped down by Federico Fernandez just outside the box, and Christian Eriksen immediately took ownership of the free-kick. The Danish attacker ripped his hit just over the wall, and with Lukasz Fabianski poorly guessing the wrong way, it settled into the back of the net to equalize on Eriksen’s first goal of the year.

It wouldn’t stay level for long. With Swansea pushing forward, a corner swung into the box but failed to get past the first man. Unfortunately for Spurs, that first man was Harry Kane, whose ugly, wayward touch found the wrong net and gave Swansea a stunning lead.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The second half saw slight chances for either side, but Christian Eriksen was the hero again for Spurs five minutes past the hour mark. Jonjo Shelvey gave away a free kick when he fouled Alli, and as Eriksen stepped up again, he struck his second, this time a brilliantly curling effort that Fabianski had no chance to stop.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]

Spurs nearly had the winner but Andros Townsend shot right at the goalkeeper and Fabianski was nearly wrong-footed but he saved the bobbler with his foot. Late on Eric Dier picked up a yellow card with a late challenge on Andre Ayew, his fifth on the season which leaves him suspended for next week’s match.

The points are shared, leaving Spurs with 13 to go level with Everton, and Swansea pushes up to 10 to move above Watford in 11th on goal differential.

Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United: Early storm, Alexis brilliance gives Gunners thumping win

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  • Arsenal scored a trio of goals in the first 20 minutes
  • Alexis Sanchez picked up 2 of those, the second a stunner
  • Gunners move level with United into 2nd place

The Emirates faithful saw Arsenal give away multiple leads midweek on its way to a disappointing Champions League defeat.

That seems like months away now.

A three-goal explosion in the opening 20 minutes, capped by an absolute stunner from Alexis Sanchez, set the tone as the Gunners cruised to a 3-0 victory over Manchester United, who were top of the table heading into this weekend.

It took no time for Arsenal to go ahead as the visiting defense capitulated early. Just five minutes had gone by when Hector Bellerin burst down the right and while the initial cross was cleared, it came back to Ozil who served up a ball for Alexis Sanchez to tap in after beating Matteo Darmian to the near post.

It would get much worse for Manchester United. First, Arsenal doubled its lead just a minute later to stun the visitors. A beautiful Sanchez touch found Walcott on the break bursting forward. With the United defense out of sorts, Walcott sliced up the back line with a pass in to Ozil, and he buried the chance into the bottom corner for a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Before the clock hit the 20 minute mark, the Gunners would get a third, and it was a stunner. Alexis Sanchez powered forward into the final third, and he skipped past Darmian with ease to find space at the top of the box before crashing an absolute howitzer into the top corner for his second and Arsenal’s third.

Aaron Ramsey should have had a fourth past the half-hour mark, but he skied over the bar from point-blank range after Santi Cazorla‘s chip to the far post had unlocked the United defense again.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Manchester United finally unlocked the Gunners defense just a minute before the break, but young Anthony Martial saw his first shot saved brilliantly by Petr Cech on the turn, and he whiffed on his second chance from a Wayne Rooney cross moments later.

The second half plodded along in much less exciting fashion than the first, with the Gunners more and more content to sit back and easily absorb pressure as it went along. By the hour mark, Manchester United dominated possession but had little to show for it as Arsenal stayed compact.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]

There were few moments to remember in the second 45, and the home side eased their way to victory, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hitting the bar just before the final whistle. The three points moves the Gunners to 16 points, level with today’s opponents on points and just below them into third place on goal differential. Manchester United miss the opportunity to regain their top spot, leaving cross-town rivals Manchester City two points clear at the summit.