A trio of MLS games graced our Sunday, and a streak came to an end as Vancouver held off a late surge from Portland to beat the Timbers for the first time ever in Major League Soccer play.
The win for Vancouver puts them third in the Western Conference, but it certainly had more meaning than that. In addition, the win for the Whitecaps ends Portland’s 22-match unbeaten streak, and the Whitecaps will gladly take home these spoils along with the three points.
As for the others, Landon Donovan continues his post-cut tear, beating the Chicago heat to steal a point from the Fire, and the Colorado Rapids clearly didn’t take out enough frustration on Montreal last week and took another victim for a spin by thoroughly trouncing Houston.
Chicago Fire 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy
Landon Donovan cancelled out a Jeff Larentowicz penalty in the 74th minute and secured a point for Los Angeles. Things seemed dire as the Chicago defense held the Galaxy to a single shot on target – Donovan’s goal.
The Fire played extraordinary defense, but it ultimately let them down. Defender Chris Ritter, on his full debut for Chicago, made a single mistake, giving the ball away to Robbie Keane and the Galaxy duo made Chicago pay by snatching a point.
Manager Frank Yallop was visibly conflicted after the match, calling it “frustrating points-wise, but encouraging performance-wise.” Larentowicz bagged his penalty in the 68th minute after Quincy Amarikwa was taken down.
The point for either side allows the Galaxy to draw level with San Jose and even leapfrog them into 6th on goal difference. Meanwhile, Chicago has to settle for no change in the table, while the full spoils could have brought them exactly level with New York in 7th.
Following the match, Keane was publicly furious with the decision to play a 3:00 game in the middle of June as temperatures climbed into the 90’s in Chicago. It should be fun when he watches the international teams play in Brazil.
Colorado Rapids 3-0 Houston Dynamo
23-year-old Deshorn Brown picked up a first-half brace and Kamani Hill added another as Colorado asserted their dominance over a surprisingly hapless Houston squad.
Colorado controlled 62% of possession and registered 15 shots/9 on target, while holding Houston to a big goose egg in the shots on target category. Houston didn’t have a shot on goal of any type until Will Bruin clanged the post in the 72nd minute.
The win means Colorado remains unbeaten against Houston in their last eight meetings, and completes a remarkable turnaround following their pair of losses to Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA. The Rapids have not only bounced back to win their last two, but they’ve done so by a combined 7-1 scoreline.
The three points take Colorado all the way up from eighth to third in the tight Western Conference, and they still hold at least a game in hand on those around them.
Portland Timbers 3-4 Vancouver Whitecaps
Just as things were starting to look up for Portland, they have come crashing down. On the heels of back-to-back road wins – just their second and third wins of the season – the Timbers returned home and caught Vancouver at the wrong time, hammered by the surging Whitecaps 4-1.
The Whitecaps got a pair of penalties from Pedro Morales, plus Erik Hurtado picked one up deep into first half stoppage time and Jordan Harvey completed the halftime sandwich with one just four minutes after the break.
Vancouver’s win gives them a six-match unbeaten run dating back to a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles in early April. Portland nearly completed a remarkable comeback, but down 4-1 it was too big a mountain to climb. Max Urutti scored in the third minute, and after Vancouver poured on the goals, Will Johnson and Gaston Fernandez did their best to pull back level for Portland, but they fell one short.