Timbers seal shock Galaxy victory
Portland Timbers 1, LA Galaxy 0
Timbers coach Caleb Porter didn't stray from his business-like approach to the season even after Portland downed the two-time defending league champion Los Angeles Galaxy to gain crucial playoff position.
"The first thing I said was 'we've still got work to do'," he said during his postgame address.
The 1-0 victory Sunday solidified Portland's hold on third place in the Western Conference with a 12-5-13 record and four matches to go. Portland is undefeated in its last four matches as it continues its bid for its first postseason appearance since joining Major League Soccer in 2011.
Maximiliano Urruti gave Portland the win with his first MLS goal, a deftly executed flick in the 52nd minute that fooled Los Angeles goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Urruti was acquired by the Timbers this month from Toronto FC, which had signed him in August from Argentina's top division Newell's Old Boys.
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane appeared to score the equalizer early in stoppage time but he was called offsides. Both Keane and Landon Donovan had an animated argument with officials while coach Bruce Arena shouted from the sidelines. Arena also confronted the referees on the field after the match.
Afterward, Arena was diplomatic.
''It's close, obviously. If he's (the linesman) right, credit to him,'' Arena said. ''We've been in a lot of games this year where the plays aren't even close and they don't have them right. So if he had it right, more credit to him.''
Los Angeles (13-11-6) remained in fourth place in the West with the loss. The Galaxy are winless in their last four matches.
Donovan returned to Los Angeles' starting lineup after nursing a sprained left ankle that kept him out of the team's last MLS match, a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders last weekend.
But his streak of either a goal or an assist in seven straight matches was snapped against the Timbers. He had a dangerous free kick from the side in the 74th minute, but it was headed away by Portland defender Pa-Modou Kah.
The match was played in a nearly constant downpour with gusty wind as the remnants of a Pacific typhoon rolled through the region. And it looked as though it was weighing on both teams.
The Timbers had just two shots on goal in the first half, compared to seven for the Galaxy. But Portland increasingly challenged Penedo after the break.
Shortly after Urruti's goal, Rodney Wallace fired a hard shot at Penedo, who dove and deflected it with his fingertips.
Urruti was making just his fifth appearance in a league match. He played in two matches for Toronto before coming to the Timbers.
Portland was coming off a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids last weekend.
''These last two games we knew were very important,'' Timbers defender Jack Jewsbury said. ''A week ago they were ahead of us and we knew these were going to be crucial matches for us to be in the playoffs and try and position ourselves. We feel good about it, but there's still some work to do.''
The Timbers and Galaxy played to a scoreless draw in Los Angeles on June 19, and the Timbers earned a 2-1 victory in Portland on July 13.
Seattle Sounders 1, New York Red Bulls 1
Tim Cahill got control of a loose ball in the penalty area and scored late in the 76th minute on Sunday night, lifting the New York Red Bulls into a 1-1 tie with the Seattle Sounders that put them back atop the MLS standings.
The Eastern Conference-leading Red Bulls (15-9-7) have 52 points, while the Sounders (15-8-6) picked up their 51st point to climb back into a tie with Real Salt Lake for first place in the Western Conference.
After New York saw two earlier chances at the tying goal bounce away - one off the crossbar in the 61st minute, one off the left post in the 63rd - Cahill got his chance at the equalizer when the Sounders were unable to clear the ball out of their penalty area. He got a foot under it, and from 10 yards away toward the left side, beat Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning to the far corner.
''I thought about dragging it with my right foot and smashing it with my left,'' Cahill said. ''The keeper was sort of just to his right of it, and I tried to find the corner, and it hit.''
Cahill's ninth goal of the year, scored in front of 39,083 fans and in the midst of a driving rainstorm, tied him for the team lead with Thierry Henry, who missed the game with an Achilles injury.
''You play for moments like this - defining moments that change the game,'' said Cahill, in his second year with the Red Bulls after playing previously with Everton of the English Premier League. ''My whole career, I've looked to try to make a difference in front of big crowds and (against) the best teams in leagues everywhere I've played. It was unfortunate not to get the three points, but it's a pleasure to play here, and I'm proud of what we achieved tonight.''
Brad Evans gave the Sounders a 1-0 lead with a penalty kick midway through the 45th minute.
Playing inside the box on the right, about 6 yards up from the goal line, Evans' attempted short cross deflected off the left hand of Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson. Referee Kevin Stott immediately pointed to the spot, and Evans drilled his kick low into the back right corner past goalkeeper Luis Robles, who dove in the same direction, but not in time.
Evans' goal was his fourth of the season, two of them on PKs.
''I always feel comfortable stepping up there,'' said Evans, who has seen duty with the U.S. national team during its World Cup qualifying matches. ''I've just got to keep it going, and pick my spot, and get it there.''
The Sounders had the run of play during the first half, with four near-misses, including an Obafemi Martins header that went barely to the right of a wide-open net.
''Obviously, if you put that one in, it changes the complexion of the game,'' Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. ''I thought we had some good looks and good chances. Robles came up with a couple good saves, but I didn't think it was our best soccer. We got a point, and we still have some games in hand. But when we play at home, we'd like to win.''
Red Bulls coach Mike Petke said the rain, which was steady during the second half, was actually helpful.
''I love this weather,'' he said with a laugh. ''It was possibly the best thing that could have happened to us. Although they are used to it here, any time you can make the environmental conditions a bit uglier in an environment like this, we'll take it.''
FC Dallas 2, Columbus Crew 4
Columbus scoring leader Dominic Oduro had a goal and an assist to lead the Crew to victory against FC Dallas.
The Crew (12-14-5) moved into a tie with New England for sixth place, a point away from the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth with three matches remaining.
''The ball's in our court, putting pressure on those teams ahead of us,'' interim Columbus coach Brian Bliss said.
FC Dallas (10-10-10) remained eighth in the Western Conference, five points out of fifth.
''I think our results are deserving (of criticism),'' FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said, ''and not just tonight. At the end of the day, it's all about results.
''Our fans have to hold us higher, as we should be holding ourselves higher.''
Columbus took a 2-0 lead on goals by Federico Higuain (his 11th) and Jairo Arrieta (third) within the first 17 minutes.
Higuain moved in alone to maneuver FC Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez out of position. Defender George John moved in to the goal and stopped Higuain's shot, but the ball bounced off of him and into the net in the ninth minute.
Oduro set up Arrieta with a crossing pass in the 17th. He put the ball on his left foot and lifted it over Fernandez and off the crossbar. The ball bounced down, then back up into the top of the net.
FC Dallas came back four minutes later when Blas Perez took a long pass from Mauro Diaz. Goalkeeper Matt Lampson came out, but Perez booted the ball past him into the right corner for his 11th goal.
The Crew restored their two-goal margin in the 44th minute when Oduro picked up the ball from Chad Barson near midfield, beat two defenders and moved into the penalty area to send a shot past Fernandez. Oduro's 12th goal was unassisted.
''Six of (Oduro's) goals have come from the wide right midfield and six up top. That shows ourselves, the team and the league he can score from anywhere,'' Bliss said.
FC Dallas moved within 3-2 during the 54th minute when Diaz dribbled past a defender and Lampson to chip the ball in from near the left goalpost.
Columbus' Bernardo Anor put the game away with his fourth goal in the 86th minute, assisted by Ethan Finlay.
''It was pretty relieving for the team,'' Anor said. ''We were ahead just 3-2 in the second period, but that goal gave us a little more space.''
Chivas USA 0, San Jose Earthquakes 1
Chris Wondolowski scored in the 87th minute and the short-handed San Jose Earthquakes kept their playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA on Sunday night.
San Jose (12-11-8) moved within one point of Colorado and Los Angeles, who are tied for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
San Jose's next two games are against Colorado (Oct. 9) and Los Angeles (Oct. 20).
Steven Lenhart was ejected in the 81st minute and San Jose finished the match with 10 men. Lenhart picked up his second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Down a player, San Jose pressured Chivas and was rewarded. With three minutes remaining, Alan Gordon took a shot on goal from the top of the penalty area that Kennedy stopped, but Wondolowski knocked in the rebound for his ninth goal of the season.