Timbers in driver’s seat for Cascadia Cup
Hanyer Mosquera of the Portland Timbers slides in to take the ball away from Sounders’ Eddie Johnson
PORTLAND, Ore. ● Rodney Wallace headed in a corner kick in the 78th minute and the Portland Timbers stalled the Seattle Sounders’ playoff push with a 1-1 draw Saturday.
The draw also kept the Timbers (7-14-7) in the driver’s seat in the Cascadia Cup, the annual head-to-head competition between the Sounders, Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.
”We clawed ourselves back into the game,” Portland general manager and interim coach Gavin Wilkinson said. ”We gave the fans something to be excited about.”
Freddy Montero scored for the Sounders (13-6-9), who are second in the Western Conference and could have punched their ticket to the postseason with a win over Portland and an Earthquakes win over Chivas USA later Saturday.
Seattle stretched its unbeaten streak to five games coming off a 2-1 win over Chivas last Saturday.
Montero blasted the ball past Portland backup goalkeeper Joseph Bendik in the 56th minute, just seconds after Bendik subbed into the came in place of Donovan Ricketts, who was injured in the 51st after a nasty collision with Seattle’s Eddie Johnson in front of the goal.
Ricketts stayed on the ground for almost 4 minutes. He tried to remain in the game but waived for the trainer shortly after the resumption of play.
The Timbers appeared to be deflated until Wallace headed in a perfectly placed corner kick from Jack Jewsbury. Bendik stopped a shot from Osvaldo Alonso in extra time to preserve the draw.
”I think after they scored their goal, their approach changed and they hung back more,” Portland’s Sal Zizzo said. ”That gave us more chances.”
Portland is in a tie with Chivas for last place in the West and was coming off a 3-0 loss to Colorado last week.
The Timbers lead the Cascadia Cup with eight points to Seattle’s five and Vancouver’s two. The original Cascadia Cup was introduced in 2004 when the Timbers, Whitecaps and Sounders were part of the United Soccer Leagues’ first division. The roots of the rivalry date to 1975, when all three teams played in the North American Soccer League.
“We didn’t want our fans to drive home on a bus empty handed,” midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “We still have to play Portland (Oct. 7) in Seattle, and that’s going to be a very, very important game — as all games are at this point. (The Timbers) said the Cascadia Cup is the most important thing for them. It isn’t for us: It’s the MLS Cup. But on the way to winning MLS Cup we want to win Cascadia Cup.”
FC DALLAS 1, WHITECAPS 0
The Vancouver Whitecaps have lost five league matches in a row for the first time in the MLS era.
After seemingly riding out a rocky final 15 minutes or so, clearing scramble after scramble as FC Dallas piled on the pressure, the fourth official held up the board.
Six minutes of added time.
And then, disaster struck, as Canadian international Julian de Guzman scored a sure AT&T Goal of the Week contender from the edge of the area on a half-volley in the 96th minute.
“It’s heartbreaking,” goalkeeper Brad Knighton told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 following the loss. “We felt like we deserved something from the game. Everyone’s just gutted right now. I felt like we put together a good performance overall and it was one lapse at the end and it’s 1-0 for them.”
Even though the ball went in, Knighton appeared to initially react well – making the agonizing conclusion to the play all the more painful.
“I think I was super close,” Knighton said. “I thought, well, he just struck it really well. I was just a half-step late.”
Knighton, who was perhaps his club’s best player for the second consecutive game and manager Martin Rennie confirmed after the match that he will keep his starting place in goal over veteran Joe Cannon, “unless anything changes during the week.”
The ‘keeper’s most memorable stop came on a David Ferreira penalty 16 minutes in, leaping to his right to deny the Colombian.
“I felt like he is a pretty technical player who likes to put a bit of spin on the ball,” Knighton said. “I felt like he was going to try and curl it in, so I just guessed and got a hand on it.”
As for the six minutes of stoppage time, Knighton wasn’t too pleased.
“Six minutes of injury time for one stoppage in the second half – there’s always going to be questions,” Knighton said. “There’s definitely not six minutes of stoppage time to fix a corner flag, so that’s a big question mark but ultimately we didn’t finish our chances.”
The match puts Rennie and his team under even greater pressure, as the result means the Whitecaps cling to the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot by just one point over FC Dallas, although Vancouver still have a game in hand.
“There’s a lot of things that were good about the performance and a lot of things we can take from it,” Rennie said. “I think at this moment in time the disappointments and the defeats have to make us stronger. There’s not much chance of the Whitecaps getting to where they want to get to without stumbling along the way. There’s a lot of hard work to do.
“We want to be the first Canadian team to make it into the MLS playoffs.”
SAN JOSE EARTH QUAKES 2, CHIVAS USA 0
Chris Wondolowski scored on a penalty kick in the first half and Alan Gordon added a goal in the second to lead the San Jose Earthquakes over Chivas USA 2-0 on Saturday night.
With the win, San Jose (17-6-5) extended its Western Conference lead over Seattle to eight points, while Chivas (7-13-7) is now tied with Portland for fewest in the conference.
Chivas coach Robin Fraser was ejected after the first half ended for arguing with a referee.
San Jose opened the scoring after a delayed penalty kick call. Gordon lay on the ground inside the penalty area for several moments while his teammates continued the attack. After play was stopped in the 19th minute, San Jose was awarded a penalty kick and Wondolowski converted.
Gordon scored in the 49th off a pass from Wondolowski, who finished the night with 19 goals and seven assists on the season – both career highs.
FIRE 3, IMPACT 1
Alex and midfielder Alvaro Fernandez each scored in the second half to lead the Chicago to a comeback win over Montreal.
The win pulled the Fire (15-8-5) within a point of Eastern Conference leader Sporting Kansas City. Chicago has 50 points and third-place New York is right behind with 49.
Montreal (12-15-3) dropped its second straight after winning five in a row.
Alex took a pass from Fernandez, split a pair of defenders and beat goalkeeper Troy Perkins to break a 1-all tie in the 61st minute. Sherjill MacDonald also scored for Chicago in the 34th.
Marco Di Vaio gave Montreal a 1-0 lead in the 20th.
RED BULLS 3, CREW 1
Thierry Henry scored two goals and added an assist to lead New York over Columbus.
The Red Bulls (14-7-7) – the only MLS club that is undefeated at home (10-0-3) – briefly moved into second place in the East before Chicago’s victory over Montreal.
New York scored twice in the final 12 minutes to secure the win, including Dax McCarty’s go-ahead goal in the 79th off a corner kick.
Milovan Mirosevic scored in the third minute for Columbus (12-10-6), and Henry tied it six minutes later with his 12th of the season. Henry added an insurance goal in extra time.
D.C. UNITED 2, REVOLUTION 1
Substitute Lewis Neal scored his first MLS goal in the 63rd minute, and D.C. United persevered in its first game without captain Dwayne De Rosario to beat New England.
With reigning league MVP De Rosario likely to miss the rest of the season with a sprained left knee, Chris Pontius netted in the 32nd then set up Neal’s left-footed strike.
Kelyn Rowe scored in the 29th for the Revolution, who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
The win moved United back into playoff position in the East, overtaking Columbus for fifth place.
TORONTO FC 1, UNION 1
Sheanon Williams scored in the 85th minute to lift Philadelphia to a draw with Toronto FC.
Eric Hassli put Toronto (5-17-7), vying for its first MLS win in nearly two months, ahead in the 58th. It was the French striker’s second goal in two games and his third in six outings since joining Toronto from Vancouver.
Williams tied it 27 minutes later as Philadelphia (7-13-6) took advantage of some sloppy play by the Toronto, which was unable to clear a low cross from Antoine Hoppenot through the penalty box, and the ball went through a sea of legs until Williams tapped it.