Defending champion Sounders beat Fire 2-1 in opener

              Fire effects go off behind two stars signifying the Seattle Sounders' two MLS Cup championship victories at the start of their season-opening MLS soccer match against the Chicago Fire, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Seattle. The Sounders won the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — Jordan Morris scored two second-half goals, the second in the third minute of stoppage time, and the Seattle Sounders opened their MLS Cup defense with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday.

Seattle started the day parading the MLS championship trophy through the streets and unveiling its second championship banner. But much of the opener had been a frustrating mix of being outplayed for stretches and missing several easy opportunities at goal.

Morris was the difference after coming on as a substitute at halftime. His goal in the 62nd minute off a cross from Cristian Roldan pulled Seattle even. The two connected again in stoppage time. Off a corner kick from João Paulo, Roldan whipped a header across the front of goal and Morris was standing at the back post to nod it home.

Robert Berić scored in the 46th minute for Chicago. The Fire, in their first game under coach Raphael Wicky, had two first-half goals waved off because of offside. Seattle also had a goal in the 56th minute overturned on video replay after Morris was ruled offside.

Many of the 40,126 that eventually filled CenturyLink Field marched to the stadium before the match with the championship trophy leading the way, and reveled in the celebration and memories of the title won 3 1/2 months earlier in the same stadium with a victory over Toronto.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Carlos Vela scored on a beautiful chip shot shortly before halftime and Los Angeles FC beat Inter Miami in the inaugural game for owner David Beckham’s MLS expansion team.

Vela controlled the ball with his chest and eluded four defenders before chipping a perfect shot over Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles from the edge of the box. The 44th-minute goal decided the season opener for both teams.

Vela scored on his 31st birthday and dampened a celebratory day for Inter Miami, which joined the North American league along with Nashville SC this season as its 25th and 26th teams. Miami wore white jerseys with pale pink shorts for its first game, and its new roster competed solidly against one of MLS’ elite teams.

Beckham, the former LA Galaxy star, wore an Inter Miami team blazer as he watched the game from a luxury box at Banc of California Stadium along with wife Victoria and his ownership partners.


HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — Kyle Duncan and Kaku scored early goals and New York beat FC Cincinnati.

Duncan scored in the 16th minute, taking a soft pass from Florian Valot and punching it in as he ran down the left side of the box. Nine minutes later, Valot found Kaku at the center of the box and he tapped it in with his left foot.

A minute into the second half, Allan Cruz took a centering pass from Brandon Vasquez to get Cincinnati on the board. Daniel Royer restored New York’s two-goal advantage in the 70th minute.

Jurgen Locadia added a goal for Cincinnati.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kevin Molino scored two goals and Minnesota United beat Portland.

Molino’s first goal in the 51st minute came after a scoreless first half. Luis Amarilla’s header put the Loons ahead 2-1 in the 76th minute before Molino’s second goal some two minutes later.

Diego Valeri scored on a penalty kick for the Timbers.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lucas Zelarrayan scored in the 56th minute to lift Columbus past New York City FC.

Zelarrayan bounced off a defender as the ball arrived in the box, spun around and left-footed it into the top far corner from 16 yards. Eloy Room made three saves for Columbus.