MLS Recap: FC Cincinnati Earns First Point in MLS, Carlos Vela Puts on Show as LAFC Rolls Timbers

FC Cincinnati earned its first point in MLS thanks to a late equalizer by Roland Lamah, while NYCFC and D.C. United battled to a scoreless draw thanks to flawless goalkeeper by Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid and Carlos Vela helped LAFC smash the Timbers. 
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ATLANTA — Atlanta United unveiled its championship banner Sunday, and then turned in another disappointing performance.

Josef Martinez scored an early goal but the lead didn't stand up for the defending MLS Cup champions. Roland Lamah scored in the 86th minute to give expansion FC Cincinnati its first point with a 1-1 draw.

An announced crowd of 70,382 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium groaned loudly when the final whistle sounded, having witnessed another troubling outcome under first-year coach Frank de Boer.

Atlanta opened the MLS season last weekend with a 2-0 loss at D.C. United and was coming off a 3-0 blowout by Monterrey in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

After hearing plenty of cheers during a pregame ceremony honoring the team's championship season, Atlanta got off to a rousing start.

In the fifth minute, Julian Gressel sent a pass through two defenders to Martinez breaking into the clear. The reigning MLS MVP, who scored a record 31 league goals in 2018, sauntered in all alone on goalkeeper Spencer Richey, launching a shot over his left shoulder that put the home team ahead.

But that was one of the few good chances created by Atlanta.

FC Cincinnati, coming off a 4-1 loss at Seattle in its debut game, was much more competitive against United. In fact, it looked as though the first-year franchise had picked up the tying goal in the 56th minute when Fanendo Adi headed one past keeper Brad Guzan. But the goal was nullified because Lamah was lingering offside away from the play.

Lamah made up for his mistake in the closing minutes. Taking a long pass from Kenny Saief, Lamah raced into the area uncontested and blasted a low shot beneath Guzan's left leg to give Cincinnati a historic point.

It was the only shot on goal by the expansion team, which was outshot 10-4 overall.

LAFC 4, Portland Timbers 1

LOS ANGELES — Carlos Vela scored and had three assists and Adama Diomande added a goal and an assist to help Los Angeles FC beat the Portland Timbers 4-1 on Sunday night.

Jordan Harvey's low cross split a defender and goalkeeper Jeff Attinella before Christian Ramirez tapped in a sliding finish from point-blank range to give LAFC (2-0-0) a 2-1 lead in the 45th minute.

Attinella made a diving, one-handed stop of a shot by Diego Rossi from near the spot that deflected out of bounds but Mark-Anthony Kaye headed home the ensuing corner kick by Vela to open the scoring in the 14th minute.

Jeremy Ebobisse put away a perfectly placed free kick by Diego Valeri, slipping a diving header just inside the post to make it 1-1 in the 29th.

Latif Blessing's pass led Vela toward the corner of the 6-yard box where, as the defense closed, he rolled a cross to Diomande for the empty-net finish in the 65th minute. Then, about three minutes later, Diomande fed a streaking Vela on the right side who flicked a left-footer inside the far post to cap the scoring.

Diego Chara, who was shown a yellow card in the 35th, received a red card in the 72nd minute for Portland (0-1-1).

NYCFC 0, D.C. United 0

NEW YORK — New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson and his D.C. United counterpart, Bill Hamid, were stalwart in front of the net in a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

NYCFC (0-0-2) outshot United (1-1-0) 21-7 with six shots on goal to the visitors' three.

Hamid made his 200th start for United and turned in his 56th MLS shutout. Johnson's shutout was his 54th in 242 regular-season starts.

Johnson had two big saves early, diving right to deflect a shot from Luciano Acosta that was headed to the left corner and then denying Paul Arriola's shot from a severe angle on the right side with a deflection off his right leg.

Hamid kept the first half scoreless when he dove to the left to block a powerful, long-distance shot by Alex Ring.

Johnson turned away Acosta's effort from inside the box in the 83rd while Hamid denied a free kick in the 78th and made diving blocks of Alexandru Mitrita's shot outside the box in the 88th and Ring's header in the 89th.

Sporting Kansas City 2, Philadelphia Union 0

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Ilie Sanchez scored on a penalty kick in the 11th minute, Tim Melia saved a penalty kick and Sporting Kansas City beat the Philadelphia Union 2-0 on Sunday.

Sporting KC also picked up an own goal off Union defender Jack Elliott in the 80th minute.

Melia's save came late in the first half when he dove to his right to stop Marco Fabian. Fabian, who scored the Union's only goal on a penalty in their season opener, was given a red card in the 60th.

Melia, who made four saves for his 40th career shutout in the regular season, has eight saves in 20 penalty kicks, three more PK saves than any other active MLS goalkeeper. Melia also punched away a shot from Cory Burke early in the second half.

Just after Fabian was sent off, Sporting KC's Graham Zusi sent a free kick from just outside the box off the bar. The clinching goal came when Gerso Fernandes sent a cross out front that went off Elliott, leaving keeper Andre Blake no chance.

Both teams lost their opener.