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Late Pontius winner leads D.C. United past Galaxy

Chris Pontius scored a winner in extra time to lead D.C. United to a win over the visiting LA Galaxy.

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Early Opara header holds up as Sporting KC hands NYCFC first loss

Ike Opara’s first half header was enough to lead Sporting KC past NYCFC at Yankee Stadium.

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Brazilians combine to hand Orlando City a draw in Montreal

A wild 30 minutes of soccer saw Orlando City SC and the Montreal Impact share points in a 2-2 draw in Olympic Stadium.

Newly signed Earnshaw leads Whitecaps to late victory over Timbers

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Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

Robert Earnshaw has been a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps for just three days, but the forward has already paid dividends for his new club in the form of three points.

The Welsh forward provided the winner as the clock ticked into stoppage time, leading the Whitecaps to a 2-1 victory over their Cascadia rivals, the Portland Timbers at BC Place.

With just added time remaining, Earnshaw, who had entered the game four minutes prior, found himself tiptoeing on the brink of being offside and on the end of a ball from Pedro Morales. Earnshaw responded by taking a touch before looping a shot over an onrushing Adam Larsen Kwarasey to seal victory for the Whitecaps.

The hosts originally opened the scoring in the 15th minute, as Nicolas Mezquida provided the game’s first goal in spectacular fashion. Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- Portland Timbers, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps | Leave a comment

Red Bulls slip past Crew in physical contest

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Photo by Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports

By AARON CRANFORD

Having now put together back-to-back victories over Eastern Conference contenders, the New York Red Bulls are on a roll.

The Red Bulls sit atop of the Eastern Conference table with seven points in three games after topping Columbus Crew SC, 2-1, at MAPFRE Stadium. Bradley Wright-Phillips added another goal to his tally on the year and was also credited with an assist on Mike Grella’s game-winning chip from well outside the box.

The goalscoring sequence was kickstarted by Lloyd Sam, who was taken down in the box by a challenge from Emanuel Pogatetz in the 48th minute, and Wright-Phillips fired in his second goal of the year. But Crew SC would respond.

Kei Kamara received a pass and danced around in the box before firing an attempt toward goal. Goalkeeper Luis Robles probably did not know too much of it as it whizzed  toward goal, but it bounced off of him in 58th minute. However, the subsequent corner fell to the feet of Tchani, and he blasted it into the empty net.

The Red Bulls would not be outdone. Mike Grella jumped on a Crew mistake in the backline, and when he looked up at the goalkeeper’s position in goal, the NYRB substitute decided to chip a shot from quite a few yards outside of the box. It sailed past goalkeeper Steve Clarke and gave the Red Bulls the 2-1 lead in the 67th minute. Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- New York Red Bulls | 1 Comment

Late Pontius winner leads D.C. United past Galaxy

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Photo by Brad Mills/ USA Today Sports

By CLIFF STARKEY

WASHINGTON—Although D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy are two of the most storied franchises in MLS history, each team needed Saturday night’s game in the nation’s Capital to break out of their respective early-season slumps.

In the end—and at the end—it was D.C. United who came away with a vital three points.

As the game entered the final seconds, and both teams looked ready to settle for a disappointing 0-0 draw in the cold, Nick DeLeon beat his man down the wing, and delivered a cross that was headed home by Chris Pontius to ensure a late 1-0 victory.

Even though they didn’t come out as ineffective as they did last week in Harrison, D.C. United once again had a tough start to the game, when defender Steve Birnbaum injured his ankle after a second minute corner attempt. Birnbaum rolled his left ankle after his headed attempt was cleared off the line. Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, MLS- D.C. United, MLS- LA Galaxy | 3 Comments

Early Opara header holds up as Sporting KC hands NYCFC first loss

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Photo by Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports

BY MICHAEL PENG

NEW YORK — New York City FC was fully aware of the possibilities, yet when push came to shove, they could not do anything to stop the connection between Matt Besler and Ike Opara for Sporting Kansas City.

Opara’s headed goal in the 13th minute off a long Matt Besler throw-in held up as SKC picked up their first victory of the season with a 1-0 result against NYCFC Saturday at Yankee Stadium in front out of a sellout crowd of 27,545.

“Matt Besler has very a long throw and Kansas city loves to take advantage of that at every opportunity. It was not a surprise to us,” NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis said. “We talked about it yesterday in the preparation meeting, showed lots of videos about [Besler] and it’s also very apparent that Opara is the target for them.

“We put our tallest guy on him to mark him and unfortunately Opara just beat him to the ball.”

Opara’s goal also snapped NYCFC’s 193-minute shutout streak and forced the expansion club to play from behind for the first time this season.

NYCFC, however, struggled offensively without three of its regular forwards, as Khiry Shelton and Adam Nemec were both called away on respective international duties and David Villa was a late scratch due to an adductor strain.

Kreis said Villa’s injury has been persistent since the beginning of the season and the team found out the DP forward could not participate in the match on Friday.

In the absences of those players, Patrick Mullins and Javier Calle started up top for NYCFC and Tony Taylor subbed on late, but none of them were able to find the back of the net, as the hosts mustered only three shots on goal in 12 tries.

A big part of NYCFC’s offensive struggles could be directed toward SKC’s back line, which was featured in its fourth different version in four tries on Saturday night.

Head coach Peter Vermes opted to go with the company of Opara, Besler, Jalil Anibaba and Seth Sinovic and the move proved to be effective as SKC made a total of 48 clearances, blocked five shots and posted the club’s second consecutive shutout.

“I think the last two weeks we’ve shown that we can sustain a clean sheet despite who’s back there,” Opara said. “I think the mindset of all of the guys who have plugged in has been very good. I think today was another opportunity. Despite whoever is in there, I think this was our fourth lineup in four, I thought we all did well, especially against that team.”

SKC have now handed MLS opponents their first loss at a new stadium at seven different venues. The last time SKC did so was against the Houston Dynamo on May 12, 2013 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The win was also the club’s 100th in club history on the road.

SKC did have to hold their breathe at the 39th minute mark when Graham Zusi had to be subbed out after suffering a strained hamstring.

SKC will return to action when they host the Philadelphia Union on April 5. NYCFC, meanwhile, will go on a bye week before hosting Philly themselves on April 11.

Posted in Featured, MLS- New York City FC, MLS- Sporting Kansas City, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Brazilians combine to hand Orlando City a draw in Montreal

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Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

By AARON CRANFORD

A wild 30 minutes of soccer saw Orlando City SC and the Montreal Impact share the spoils in a 2-2 draw at the Olympic Stadium.

A penalty from Ignacio Piatti gave the home side the all-important advantage early on in the first half, but three goals in four minutes created a rush of differing emotions for the players and fans.

Some of the biggest names on the field netted in the second MLS match of Saturday’s schedule. While Piatti scored the first, Impact forward Jack McInereny, Lions midfielder Pedro Ribeiro and OCSC star Kaka added the other three goals.

Kaka and Piatti both dazzled the more than 25,000 fans in attendance throughout the match, creating opportunities going forward and each scoring a goal. But neither player was able to deliver the decisive blow against the Impact. Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Montreal Impact, MLS- Orlando City | Leave a comment

Catalyst Rowe sets Revs attack in motion

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Photo by David Butler II/USA Today Sports

By TIM FONTENAULT

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Revolution were desperate for somebody – anybody – to break the reigning Eastern Conference champions out of their goal-scoring funk.

Saturday, on a soggy, snowy, disgusting day at Gillette Stadium, Kelyn Rowe took matters into his own hands.

Rowe scored both goals and was all over the attacking third for the Revolution in their 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. He set the pace early, putting five shots on goal in the first half while also creating several critical chances for New England.

“I thought Kelyn was excellent,” head coach Jay Heaps said, “not just in scoring the goals, but also just the way he pressured, the way he played, his connection with Charlie up top, but also the midfielders. So I thought Kelyn, tonight, was excellent all the way around.” Continue reading »

Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- New England Revolution | Leave a comment

Revolution finds first goals and first win over Earthquakes

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Photo by David Butler II/USA Today Sports

By TIM FONTENAULT

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Revolution’s desperate attack finally woke up Saturday, thanks to Kelyn Rowe.

Rowe scored both goals and was the focal point of the attack all match, as the Revolution held on for a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Gillette Stadium.

New England had failed to score in its first three matches, picking up only one point before Saturday’s win.

Before breaking through for the first goal, Rowe was dangerous setting up chances for the Revolution. His dangerous cross to the far post early in the match put New England on the doorstep, but Daigo Kobayashi pushed it wide with his left-footed effort.

Rowe nearly scored two minutes later when San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham misplayed a cross, but Clarence Goodson closed him down.

The first goal finally came in the 21st minute. After Kobayashi won the ball in the midfield, Rowe’s shot from the top-right corner of the box deflected off the head of Shaun Francis and past Bingham. Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes | 1 Comment

MLS Week 4: SBI Live Commentary

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New York City FC returns to Yankee Stadium, with a marquee clash against Sporting Kansas City in one of the headlining matches of a stacked MLS Week 4.

David Villa and NYCFC enjoyed an impressive home debut two weeks ago, but will face a tough challenge from a Sporting KC side that will try to register its first win of the season.

In Vancouver, the Whitecaps take on the Portland Timbers in the latest edition of their Cascadia rivalry. Octavio Rivero will try to score in his fourth straight match, while the Timbers attempt to record their first straight win.

SBI will be providing live commentary on today’s action so please feel to follow the action here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today’s SBI Live Commentary is after the jump):

Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer | 7 Comments