Author: Richard Farley


MLS Snapshot: New York Red Bulls 4-1 Seattle Sounders

Leave a comment

One game, 100 words (or less): Bradley Wright-Phillips’ chances of history received a huge boost Saturday night, with his team’s playoff hopes rising along with them. With three goals before the hour-mark, MLS’s leading scorer pushed his team to a 4-1 victory over visiting Seattle – a win that ensures last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners will stay in the East’s top five for at least one more week.

Wright-Phillips opened the scoring in the first minute, though it would be another 52 before the New York sniper added his second of the night from the spot. On a counter attack in the 56th minute, Wright-Phillips scored his 24th goal of the season, leaving him three short of MLS’s single-season scoring mark.

A quick swap of goals by Clint Dempsey and Tim Cahill provided the night’s final pieces of excitement, with a Seattle team that made major chances from its mid-week U.S. Open Cup triumph falling hard at Red Bull Arena.


New York: Wright-Phillips 1′, 53′, 56′, Cahill 65′
Seattle: Dempsey 61′

Three moments that mattered:

1′ – 29 seconds – Any fear Seattle had over-rotated its team were emboldened after 29 seconds, when Stefan Frei’s block of an Ambroise Oyongo shot gave New York’s leading scorer a chance from eight yards out. Forgotten moments earlier by a Seattle’s defense, Bradley Wright-Phillips was rewarded for initially setting up Oyongo, putting the rebound into the open net to give New York a ridiculously early lead.

53′ – Inexperience shows – Dylan Remick showed promise earlier this season when he was starting ahead of Leo Gonzalez, but after beating beaten by Lloyd Sam in the 53rd minute, the 23-year-old showed he’s not beyond a few rookie mistakes. As Sam, near the byline, turned toward the middle of the penalty area, Remick made a desperation lunge, taking out Sam just inside the box. Wright-Phillips fired his spot kick past Frei to give New York a two-goal lead.

56′ – Not Djimi’s night – Djimi Traore had a strange moment in the first half. Running under a long ball from Luis Robles, Traore kicked Wright-Phillips in the backside after desperately trying to compensate for his error. It’s not often that you see a defender run himself into position to kick an opponent in the butt.

It was the start of a bad night. Just before the hour, with Seattle having just gave up a second goal, Traore failed to adjust as Wright-Phillips drifted away from Chad Marshall. As New York countered down its left, Roy Miller played a long, diagonal ball between the defense and goal, one that saw Traore in no position to contest Wright-Phillips’ third goal.

Later, after Seattle had reduced the lead to two, a poor clearance by Traore allowed Tim Cahill to put his name on the scoresheet, a ball played right to the Australian international allowing him to finishing inside Frei’s right post.


New York: Robles; Duvall, Olave, Sekagya, Miller (Christenson 84′); Sam, McCarty, Alexander; Oyongo; Henry (Stevenson 92′), Wright-Phillips (Cahill 58′)
Seattle: Frei; Anibaba, Marshall, Traore, Remick; Neagle, Rose, Alonso (Pineda 80′), Pappa; Cooper (Dempsey 60′), Barrett (Martins 59′)

Three lessons going forward:

1. Depth’s nice, when you don’t have to use it all – Yes, Seattle over-rotated, but perhaps Sigi Schmid felt it was necessary. Maybe the Seattel staff felt it was worth risking a loss to reduce the minutes for five or six of his regulars.

Regardless, the Sounders’ depth didn’t hold up. Though the team looked fine for much of the first half, mistakes that distinguish first choice players from useless depth cost Seattle. The Supporters’ Shield race could tighten up.

2. Djimi Traore looks done – Traore was a valuable addition at the beginning of last season, but he was one of the culprits as Seattle lost to Portland in the playoffs. This season, Zach Scott seems to have won the spot next to Chad Marshall, though if there was any lingering feeling a healthy Traore should start, tonight said otherwise.

3. BWP within reach – Three goals in five games is a lot, but after his third hat trick of the season, Wright-Phillips is on pace. Averaging one goal every 88.9 minutes this season, Wright-Phillips’ needs just under three games to tie the record, at his current rate. If Wright-Phillips stays on his season-long pace, Roy Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski will lose their spots in MLS’s record book.

Where they stand now:

  • With the win, New York has a three-point lead on fifth place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference. Should Columbus hold on to beat New England, New York’s lead on fifth goes back down to one.
  • For Seattle, this is a game to forget, mostly because the team continues to control its Supporters’ Shield destiny. The Sounders remain three points up on the Galaxy, and after LA’s done with Dallas tonight, Seattle will again have a match-in-hand.

Premier League recap: All goals, highlights from Saturday’s action

Leave a comment

Two teams coming off mid-wee, Champions League action met different fates away from home on Saturday. Arsenal, visiting Aston Villa in one of the weekend’s marquee matches, saw a first half explosion finally break through what had been a nearly impenetrable Lions defense., while in East London, the underdogs were the ones taking early control, With Sam Allardyce’s plan of attacking Liverpool right back Javier Manquillo paying off,  West Ham was able to pull off the an upset at Upton Park.

Elsewhere, four-goal games led to draws at Loftus Road and St. James Park, while matches in Burnley and Swansea produced one goal between them.

Here are all of Saturday’s goals and highlights, above.

MLS Snapshot: Portland Timbers 3-0 Vancouver Whitecaps

Leave a comment

One game, 100 words (or less): A strong start for the visiting Whitecaps faded into a performance that mirrored last month’s failure. After seeing a sublime Diego Valeri volley put its hosts ahead near the half-hour mark, Vancouver gave up a second half brace to Fanendo Adi, allowing the Nigerian’s seventh and eighth goals of the season to put the match away. In what was supposed to be a heated derby between teams fighting for the West’s final playoff spot, Vancouver dropped another 3-0 result.


Portland: Valeri 28′, Adi 66′, 69′
Vancouver: None.

Three moments that mattered:

28′ – More Valeri magic – For two straight seasons, the Timbers’ best player has stepped up when his team needed it most: At the end of the season. Last year, it led to MVP talk, while this season, Diego Valeri may carry his team back into the playoffs.

Today’s opening goal was the latest part of that surge. Running into space behind striker Fanendo Adi, onto a cross from Jorge Villafana, Valeri made contact with the ball just before it returned to Providence Park’s turf, hitting his 14-yard volley under David Ousted’s cross-bar and into the Vancouver net.

After nearly half-an-hour with Vancouver the more dangerous side, Portland had the lead – the only one they’d need.

66′ – The next big chance – Vancouver never resumed their early match control, but for more than half-an-hour after Valeri’s opener, Vancouver was on even footing –  one moment away from equalizing. Just past the hour, however, Valeri caught Matias Laba on the ball and, after dribbling into the Whitecaps’ half, sent Fanendo Adi in alone on goal. As Ousted came off his line, Adi nearly lost possession with a heavy touch, but a last second toe poke sent the ball under the oncoming keeper and into the Vancouver goal.

69′- … set, match – After bursting onto the scene earlier this season with strong performances against Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake, Adi had quiet enough for fans  to question the value of their new Designated Player. With his second goal off the day, Adi likely changed the tone of that conversation, his second sliding under Oustead after Darlington Nagbe set him up in front of the left post.


Portland: Ricketts; Powell (Harrington 82′), Kah, Ridgewell, Villafana; Chara, Johnson, Valeri; Nagbe, Adi (Urruti 72′), Wallace (Fernandez 87′)
Vancouver: Ousted, Beitashour, O’Brien, Waston, Harvey; Laba, Teibert; Rosales (Manneh 65′), Morales, Fernandez (Mezquida 76′); Hurtado (Mattocks 76′)

Three lessons going forward:

1. The importance of Valeri – Last year Ryan Johnson was scoring goals, Darlington Nagbe was getting onto the scoresheet, while Rodney Wallace and Will Johnson had career years. This season, not so much, which makes Diego Valeri’s performance even more important. As good as the Argentine was last season, he’s been just as productive this year. Only now, he’s had to carry more of the load.

2. Vancouver makes Portland’s defense look good – The Timbers will be happy with a rare clean sheet, but there’s a devil in these details. Portland’s four shutouts this season have come against two clubs: Chivas USA and Vancouver. Caleb Porter’s defense may be improving, but we’ll need to see proof against a better attack.

3. Table no longer on Whitecaps side – If the Whitecaps’ spring success hadn’t kept them in the West’s top five, they’d be in crisis mode. Now, after giving Portland six points over the last three weeks, the standings don’t help. Not only are the Whitecaps’ a bad team, but they’re one that’s run out of time to figure things out. The pressure’s now on Carl Robinson.

Where this leaves them: Through 29 games, Portland has 39 points, two more than Vancouver. With today’s win, the Timbers also own the teams’ first three tiebreakers: Wins; goal difference; goals for.