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.

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]

Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

Nice team goal helps Portland into Open Cup quarters (video)

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Major League Soccer is taking a bit of a break from its season for the World Cup in Russia, but the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup rolls on for some of its teams.

[ MORE: France 2-1 Australia ]

The Round of 16 will be staged over the next week, with Portland becoming the first team to clinch a quarterfinal berth.

The Timbers got a slick team goal, complete with back heel pass, as Sebastian Blanco supplied the finishing touch in Friday’s 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy.

Portland remains alive for its first USOC final with the win, while LA will not lay claim to a third title.

Still to come
Philadelphia vs. New York Red Bulls — Saturday
Sporting KC vs. FC Dallas — Saturday
Houston vs. Minnesota United — Monday
DC United vs. Orlando City — Wednesday
Louisville City vs. Nashville SC — Wednesday
Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire — Wednesday
LAFC vs. Sacramento Republic — Wednesday

MLS (afternoon) roundup: NYCFC come back vs. NE; FCD, POR stalemate

Photo credit: NYCFC / Twitter: @NYCFC
Leave a comment

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Ismael Tajouri scored two goals and Sean Johnson had five saves to help New York City FC play the New England Revolution to a 2-2 draw Saturday.

The 23-year-old Tajouri, who has appeared in four MLS games, has three goals in the last two matches while filling in for the injured David Villa.

Yangel Herrera threaded a pass between two defenders to Tajouri, who turned and blasted a rising left-footer into the net to cap the scoring in the 76th minute.

Diego Fagundez bent a shot from well outside the box off the post to give New England (1-1-1) a 1-0 lead in the 11th. Tajouri tied it early in the second half, first-timing a cross from Saad Abdul-Salaam past a diving Matt Turner from near the penalty spot and Juan Agudelo’s header in the 63rd put the Revolution back in front. Cristian Penilla played a perfect cross from the left side to Agudelo who finished from the top of the 6-yard box.

NYCFC (4-0-0) is off to its best start in history and has won a franchise-record five in a row, dating to the 2017 playoffs.


FRISCO, Texas (AP) Roland Lamah scored his third goal in two games and Jimmy Maurer had a career-high five saves in FC Dallas’ 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

Lamah, who had two goals and an assists in FC Dallas’ 3-0 win over Seattle on Sunday, opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Jacori Hayes evaded two defenders and then tapped it to Lamah, who rolled a left-footer past a diving Jake Gleeson into the net from the top of the penalty arc.

Sebastian Blanco side-netted a left-footer from the top of the box to tie it in the 47th.

FC Dallas (1-0-2) is unbeaten in its last nine home matches.

Lawrence Olum, who was shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior in the 44th minute, drew a red for a hand ball in the 75th for Portland (0-2-1).

MLS Snapshot: FCD lose 4-0 at home; HOU fight back to draw POR

Photo credit: @WhitecapsFC
Leave a comment

FC Dallas 0-4 Vancouver Whitecaps

The game in 100 words (or less): Every team in MLS has one or two games each season where absolutely everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps appears to have been the giant hiccup of FC Dallas’ 2017 season. Oscar Pareja’s side entered the contest, which they played with 10 men for the final half-hour, first in the Western Conference; they now sit second, two points back of Sporting Kansas City. Carlos Gruezo got himself sent off in the 59th minute with FCD already 2-0 down after Bernie Ibini-Isei’s opener and the first of two goals for Fredy Montero on the night. Montero added his second eight minutes after Gruezo’s dismissal, and Nicolas Mezquida delivered the dagger seven minutes from full-time. The victory sees Vancouver climb over the Seattle Sounders and into fifth in the West, now just one point back of the Portland Timbers (with three games in hand) for fourth.

[ MORE: SKC trade Dwyer to ORL | Sigi back to LA | LAFC hire Bradley ]

Three moments that mattered

18′ — Ibini-Isei finishes far post for 1-0 — It wasn’t the best-struck ball ever, but you can’t score if you don’t shoot. (Also, Jesse Gonzalez has to do better than this.)

49′ — Montero converts from the spot for 2-0 — Montero beats Gonzalez to score his first of the night.

67′ — Montero beats Gonzalez with ages to pick his spot — If you give a poached this kind of time inside the box, he’s going to make you pay.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Fredy Montero

Goalscorers: Ibini-Isei (18′), Montero (49′ – PK, 67′), Mezquida (83′)


Houston Dynamo 2-2 Portland Timbers

The game in 100 words (or less): The Portland Timbers led twice, on the road to the Houston Dynamo, but coughed up the lead on both occasions en route to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. It’s a common theme for Portland, who’ve been their own worst enemy when defending a lead this season. Yet again, it was set-piece defending that was their undoing and cost them what would have been two massive road points. Diego Valeri scored the Timbers’ opener and assisted on their second, but saw his contributions negated thanks to goals scored by Mauro Manotas and Juan Cabezas. The point is enough, however, to keep Portland ahead of Vancouver and the Seattle Sounders (for the time being), in fourth in the West. Houston remain third, but fail to capitalize on FCD’s defeat and go second in the West; the gap to Sporting KC is now three points.

[ MORE: SKC trade Dwyer to ORL | Sigi back to LA | LAFC hire Bradley ]

Three Four moments that mattered

13′ — Valeri sidesteps a challenge, slams home for 1-0 — The speed and fluidity with which Valeri collects the ball, evades the on-rushing defender, and explodes into space before applying the finish…

37′ — Manotas pounces on a loose ball, makes it 1-1 — Jake Gleeson didn’t get enough behind his punch, and the ball wound off free atop the six-yard box, where Manotas was waiting.

43′ — Blanco slots it past Deric for 2-1 — Valeri’s cross eluded Fanendo Adi, but Blanco arrived at the perfect moment to hit it low and hard past Tyler Deric for a 2-1 lead.

81′ — Cabezas scores with his cabeza for 2-2 — Portland struggling with set-piece defending… now, where have we heard that one before?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Diego Valeri

Goalscorers: Valeri (13′), Manotas (37′), Blanco (43′), Cabezas (81′)