The game in 100 words (or less): If you seek clarity in the Western Conference playoff race, keep waiting. Not until all 10 teams have played all 34 games can we draw any conclusions about which teams will or won’t be competing for MLS Cup 2016, let alone where they’ll be seeded. Example: a Sporting Kansas City victory over the Portland Timbers on Sunday would have put the former third in the West and eight points clear of the Timbers and the playoff cut line. Instead, the Timbers outlasted their visitors in a 10-versus-10 battle of attrition to grab a 3-0 victory, leapfrogging the Vancouver Whitecaps for sixth in the West and inching to within just two points of Sporting KC for fifth in the process. Diego Valeri scored yet another stunner, which turned out to be the winner, and Darlington Nagbe made a fool out of half the defenders in blue en route to setting up Jack Jewsbury for the Timbers’ second goal. Both goals can be seen below, and are prescribed viewing.
[ MORE: Catch up on Saturday’s results in MLS ]
Three Four moments that mattered
12′ — Chara sent off for making contact with Feilhaber’s face — Diego Chara’s red card on Sunday was only slightly less dumb than Didier Drogba‘s red card last weekend. Credit to Chara for coming so close to matching Drogba, though.
39′ — Mustivar makes it 1-1 … in red cards — This is just a tad high to be putting your studs into an opponent’s shin.
65′ — Valeri’s latest moment of brilliance makes it 1-1 — Here’s the thing about Valeri: he does this kind of thing all the time, but it’s still spectacular and an unbelievably difficult piece of skill.
87′ — Nagbe works his magic to set up Portland’s second — When folks gush about Nagbe’s potential, it’s moments like this that case them to do so.
Man of the match: Diego Valeri
Goalscorers: Valeri (65′), Jewsbury (87′), Adi (90+2′)