AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Portland outlasts Seattle in gripping playoff second leg

Leave a comment

Portland and Seattle staged a second leg befitting of their rivalry, as the Timbers knocked their rivals out of the MLS Cup Playoffs with a gripping win in Seattle early Friday.

A chaotic ending put the match in extra time, where Dairon Asprilla sent a bullet header into the back of the goal off a Diego Valeri cross to make it 4-3 on aggregate only to see a penalty make it 4-4 four minutes later.

Will Bruin hit the post with Seattle’s second penalty attempt and Jeff Attinella stopped Osvaldo Alonso on the next Seattle attempt. Stefan Frei stopped Liam Ridgewell‘s winning bid, but could only get a hand on Asprilla’s winning hit.

The triumph sets Portland up for a meeting with either Real Salt Lake or Sporting KC in the Western final.

[ MORE: Louisville City defends USL Cup title ]

The Sounders entered the match down 2-1 but holding an away goal. That meant 1-0 would be enough for them to get into the conference finals, and an awful Portland mistake put them in the catbird seat.

Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella bungled a cross and left it on the doorstep for Raul Ruidiaz, who made it 2-2 on aggregate in the 68th minute. Seattle, as it stood, was headed back to the Western finals.

Enter Sebastian Blanco.

The Argentine took a lay-off from Dairon Asprilla and hit a low ball that caught Stefan Frei in a hard place.

Portland was back in front, though the Timbers were denied a bid to close the match out via Frei’s in-tight denial of Lucas Melano.

Stoppage time made it 2-1 to Seattle, when Ruidiaz unleashed this beauty following a weak headed clearing attempt from Blanco.

The match went to extra time, and Valeri’s long cross was met at the back post by the leaping Asprilla.

The score line stayed the same for less than four minutes, as a Blanco handball sent Lodeiro to the spot and the Sounders star did not miss his chance to make it 4-4.

Ruidiaz had a goal pulled back for a handball as the match continued to deliver drama en route to kicks.

Some Timbers players celebrated after extra time, apparently thinking they advanced via away goals (away goals in extra time are no longer a tiebreaker). That’s… problematic.

Houston 0-0 Portland: Attinella keeps 1st leg level (video)

Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): A pair of first half penalty shouts, one taken back and another not given, were the stories of the frame as both Houston and Portland were denied attempts from the spot. More concerning for Portland was the pre-half injury to Diego Chara, who appeared to suffer a non-contact leg injury. The Timbers were on the back foot for plenty of the second half, calling upon goalkeeper Jeff Attinella several times, though the introduction of Jeremy Ebobisse at least temporarily gave them some life. Plenty of time on social media was spent on Houston’s turf, which has not had kind hurricane, soccer, and football seasons. The second leg is Nov. 5 at what will be a raucous Providence Park.

[ MORE: RBNY 1-2 Toronto FC ]


The moments that mattered

31′ — Houston penalty overturned — There’s good debate as to whether VAR should’ve been called into this bang-bang call, but Houston’s chance for a first half lead from the spot was taken back when it was ruled Alberth Elis was not fouled by Portland’s Larrys Mabiala.

42′ — No penalty given to Portland — Why wasn’t VAR called upon here, where Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric certainly appears to scythe down Portland’s Darren Mattocks.

56′ — Forget away goals, just keep it clean — Jeff Attinella was under fire in the second half. Similar to Alex Bono in the other Monday first leg, the Timbers keeper was a big part of the away effort.

Man of the Match: Attinella.

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 21

Leave a comment

Wooooo! The past weekend of Major League Soccer action was, in a word, “Wooooo!” Nine games played, 39 goals scored (4.3 per game).

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 21 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

This week’s MLS Team of the Week accounted for 12 of the 39 (less than one-third, but we only have 11 places and one is a goalkeeper!). Orlando City SC rookie Cyle Larin bagged his first career hat trick against New York City FC on Sunday, a game in which a World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner, David Villa, scored just a brace.

[ RELATED: Week 21 Player of the Week — Who from the 11 below takes the honor? ]

Elsewhere, Sebastian Giovinco did more Giovinco things, while Brad Davis, Raul Rodriguez and the rest of the Houston Dynamo were busy shutting down and shutting out the defending champion LA Galaxy. And Ethan Finlay continued his “Jurgen, Are You Even Watching?” campaign with another goal and assist (seven and 12 on the season) vs. Toronto FC.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive | Week 17 Player of the Week ]

MLS Team of the Week — Week 21

Goalkeeper: Jeff Attinella (Real Salt Lake)

source:

Defenders: Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Raul Rodriguez (Houston Dynamo), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps)

source:

Midfielders: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) Michael Barrios (FC Dallas), Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)

source:

Forwards: Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC, David Villa (New York City FC)

source: