The Sounders and NYCFC both recorded firsts today as Seattle won its first game of the season and NYCFC suffered its first loss. 

By Associated Press
April 22, 2018

SEATTLE (AP)—Will Bruin doesn't care how the goals come.

All that matters to him and the Seattle Sounders is that they're finally coming. And now, so has a long-awaited victory.

Gustav Svensson and Bruin scored in a three-minute span midway through the first half and the Sounders won for the first time this season, beating Minnesota United 3-1 on Sunday.

Jordy Delem added a goal in second-half stoppage time for Seattle.

The Sounders (1-3-1), MLS Cup winners in 2016 and runners-up last year, had been the only MLS team without a victory through the first seven weeks. After going scoreless for a club-record 315 minutes to start the year, Seattle has five goals in its last two games.

Bruin has two of those, the first of which came in last Sunday's 2-2 tie at Sporting Kansas City.

''When we keep 11 people on the field, we know we're going to score,'' Bruin said in reference to Seattle having a man red-carded in each of the first three games - all shutout losses. ''It doesn't matter how you score - if you score, it's always a good thing. It shows a little bit of my confidence, and whenever I'm playing with confidence, that's a good thing.''

Svensson scored at the outset of the 23rd minute. Cristian Roldan had the ball in the left side of the penalty area and passed it back out toward the center of the field. Svensson ran onto it, blasting it into the back left corner from 27 yards straight in front for his first goal of the year.

Late in the 25th minute, Bruin notched his second of the season. Roldan had the ball near the goal line on the left side. He sent it into the box, and Nico Lodeiro flicked it back to Bruin for a shot from 8 yards in front.

''You saw the energy and enthusiasm for the game that this group put in,'' Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said of his team's opening burst. ''The whole team in that first 30 minutes - that was a good 30 minutes.''

But Minnesota (2-5-0) put the pressure on after halftime. Miguel Ibarra in the 56th minute and Christian Ramirez in the 64th were both denied by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Finally, in the 66th minute, Ramirez scored, heading in a high target ball from Darwin Quintero.

But United was not able to get the equalizer and lost its fourth straight. Delem, who came on in second-half stoppage time, sealed it for the Sounders when he took a long pass from Clint Dempsey on a breakaway and scored on what essentially was the final play of the game.

''The problem is that we started so slowly again. I'm honestly at a loss to explain that,'' Loons coach Adrian Heath said. ''It's the third or fourth time on the road that it's happened. I feel like a broken record. We can't give teams a two- or three-goal start and expect to win the game.''

Schmetzer was happy to take all three points, although he was less than pleased with how the Sounders finished.

''I challenged them at halftime and said championship teams are able to finish games out and close games out and get that third goal so the game becomes a little easier,'' he said. ''After the game, my opinion changed a little bit and I said, `Well, championship teams actually win ugly sometimes.''

Dempsey, who subbed on in the 60th minute, saw his first action since March 18 at Dallas when he was sent off with a straight red card in the 37th minute for violent conduct. Along with the automatic one-game suspension, the league tacked on an additional game, keeping him out of action last Sunday at Kansas City.

Portland 3, NYCFC 0

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Sebastian Blanco, Fanendo Adi and Larrys Mabiala scored and the Portland Timbers ended New York City FC's season-opening undefeated streak at seven games with a 3-0 victory Sunday.

New York City had won five matches and tied two and was the only Eastern Conference team without a loss going into the weekend.

The Timbers have won two straight after going without a victory in their first five matches. Portland opened the season with five straight on the road because of construction at Providence Parl.

David Villa started and wore the captain's armband for NYCFC, entering the game just one goal away from reaching 400 total goals for club and country. Only four current players internationally have more: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez.

Villa had his best chance in the 40th minute but his shot was stopped by Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Antinella.

The match was played as rumors continue to swirl around NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira and the top job at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger announced on Friday that he was leaving the Premier League club after 22 years this summer.

A day before his surprise announcement, Wenger was quoted as saying that he felt Vieira had the ''potential'' to lead Arsenal one day.

A French former midfielder, Vieira played for Arsenal from 1996-2005, scoring 29 goals in 279 appearances.

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, who played for the club for eight seasons and also played for the New York Red Bulls, has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Wenger.

Vieira rested Jesus Medina and Yangel Herrera, who were available off the bench against the Timbers. Both had started in each of NYCFC's previous matches.

Portland started Antinella for the first time this season. He was injured (quad) to start the year.

Portland scored in the 27th minute on Blanco's high-arching header off a corner kick. It was Blanco's fourth goal of the season. The Timbers extended the lead in the 38th minute when Adi tapped in the rebound after goalkeeper Sean Johnson turned away a shot by Diego Valeri.

Mabiala, a defender, scored on a header off a corner kick in the 66th minute.

Both teams wore special jerseys made of recycled materials to celebrate Earth Day and conclude Major League Soccer's Greener Goals Week. All 23 teams had new jerseys for Week 8.

 

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