MLS Recap: Timbers Beat Sounders in 100th Meeting, LAFC-NYCFC Draw in Thriller

LAFC and NYCFC battled to a draw in a thrilling match Sunday night while the Timbers earned a rivalry win over the Sounders and Atlanta United ended Orlando City's winning streak. 
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Sebastian Blanco broke out his Chucky mask for a goal against the rival Sounders.

In a nod to his nickname back home in Argentina, Blanco donned the mask in celebration after scoring in the 86th minute in the Portland Timbers' 1-0 victory over Seattle on Sunday.

It was the 100th match between the teams in the rivalry dating to 1975 in the North American Soccer League. The rivalry gained national attention when the Timbers joined the Sounders in Major League Soccer in 2011.

Seattle still has a 9-6-6 advantage in league games, but the Timbers haven't lost in five straight at home against the Sounders.

Blanco's late goal helped the Timbers (4-3-2) extend their winning streak to four games.

''Always, it's important to win this game,'' said Blanco, who brought his Chucky mask from his native country. ''It's a derby. It's a different game. It's a different game in MLS. We played some moments good, we played some moments bad, but I think we dominated the whole game.''

Both sides had chances in the first half. Diego Valeri's shot for Portland in the 39th went wide left, and Clint Dempsey's attempt in the 44th for Seattle (2-5-2) was too far right. Portland's Andy Polo had a shot in the 68th minute that was stopped by goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

But Blanco finally broke through, charging at Frei and then perfectly placing an angled shot from just outside within the left post for his team-leading fifth goal.

After celebrating the goal wearing the mask, he put it on again after the match to cheers from the Timbers' Army supporters' group. Chucky was the evil doll character in the 1988 horror movie ''Child's Play.''

''We knew it was going to be difficult, as it was,'' Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. ''These kind of games are battles. Just proud of how these guys continued to battle and how these guys continued to be disciplined.''

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer was clearly frustrated afterward.

''It's a tough loss. Tough pill to swallow. I think the guys put everything into the game. Look, the goal was a well-crafted goal, I'll give them some credit. Blanco had a good finish. But I thought there were some times in the game we had the upper hand. Second half was back-and-forth. It's disappointing, disappointing to lose that late in the game, disappointing to lose to Portland. Simple as that.''

When MLS granted franchises to Portland and Vancouver, the league hoped to build on the regional rivalry already in place in the Pacific Northwest. The trio already played for the Cascadia Cup, a three-way competition based on points that was created by supporters of the teams in 2004, when they were all part of the USL.

Sunday's match did not count toward the Cascadia Cup because this year the MLS schedule between the teams is unbalanced, so one of the games between the Timbers and the Sounders had to be thrown out.

It was possible that Portland midfielder David Guzman would return for the Sounders match, but he was not available. The 28-year-old Costa Rican sprained his knee during international duty at the end of March, and the national team has been careful about his return because he'll likely figure into the team's World Cup plans.

On Seattle's side, Roman Torres has a hamstring injury that is expected to sideline him for some four weeks and could put his chances of playing for Panama at the World Cup in jeopardy.

Also missing was Nicolas Lodeiro, who is nursing a fractured toe, and Will Bruin, who has a heel bruise that limited him in practice Saturday.

Lodeiro is also a possible national team call-up for Uruguay. The deadline for the 32 World Cup teams to announce preliminary rosters is Monday.

Timbers defender Kim Kee-Hee left the game in the 71st minute with a gash to the head. Schmetzer said Kim got stitches but was otherwise fine.

This season the Timbers were winless in their first five matches, which were all played on the road because of the ongoing expansion project at Providence Park. But Portland had since won three straight, including last weekend's 1-0 victory at San Jose.

The Sounders were struggling with just one victory in seven games to start the season, falling into last place in the Western Conference. But they got a boost with a 2-1 victory against Toronto—their MLS Cup rivals—on the road Wednesday night.


LOS ANGELES (AP)—Carlos Vela scored his first goal at home and Los Angeles FC extended its unbeaten run to six matches with a 2-2 draw with New York City FC on Sunday night.

Los Angeles (6-2-2) is 2-0-2 at Banc of California Stadium and hasn't lost since a 5-0 defeat at Atlanta United on April 7.

David Villa and Ishmael Tajouri-Shradi each scored for New York City (6-2-3), which is 0-2-2 in its last four road games while being outscored 11-4 in that span.

Tajouri-Shradi got a point for New York City with his 75th-minute equalizer on a sharp-angle shot from the edge of the 6-yard box after Vela scored his sixth goal from outside the 6-yard box in the 66th minute to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.

New York City had two quality chances to come away with the win. Los Angeles goalkeeper Tyler Miller blocked Jesus Medina's shot with his face in the 77th minute, and Tyler Zimmerman deflected Jo Inge Berget's shot just wide in the 81st.

Villa put New York City ahead 1-0 in the 13th minute with his 68th career MLS goal.

A penalty kick was awarded following a video review of a handball by midfielder Eduard Atuesta. Atuesta's left arm was extended while defending a corner, which was immediately recognized by multiple New York City players and they swarmed around referee Chris Penso.

Villa's shot to his right was saved by Miller, but Villa was able to follow up the rebound and headed in his fifth goal of the season.

But Los Angeles tied it at 1 in the 23rd minute on an own goal by Sebastien Ibeagha. Zimmerman headed a corner off Ibeagha and in past a diving Sean Johnson.

Atlanta 2, Orlando 1

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—Josef Martinez scored his eighth goal of the season for a share of the MLS lead and Atlanta United snapped Orlando City's six-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Sunday night.

Greg Garza drew the penalty in the ninth minute to set up Martinez for the opening goal from the spot a minute later. Martinez tied Columbus' Gyasi Zardes for the league lead.

Atlanta United (8-2-1) took a 2-0 lead in the 31st minute when Ezequiel Barco connected with Garza for a give-and-go that Barco finished with a rising shot that glanced underneath the crossbar.

Justin Meram pounced on the rebound of Will Johnson's saved attempted and slotted home the putback to bring Orlando City (6-3-1) within a goal in the 57th. It was Meram's first goal with the Lions.

Atlanta has won four of its last five.