By 90Min
June 23, 2019

The MLS has resumed after the early rounds of the US Open Cup and the international break, and week 16 saw Real Salt Lake being dealt a blow to their hopes of reaching the play-offs while Houston Dynamo suffered a surprise thumping defeat at the hands of Portland Timbers.

Real Salt Lake came into their fixture against Chicago Fire in eighth place in the Western Conference, one position behind the final play-off spots.

They had the opportunity to put some pressure on Minnesota United and give themselves some breathing space ahead of San Jose Earthquakes who don't play until Thursday.

However they could only muster a draw against a Chicago Fire side who are outside of the play-off places in the Eastern Conference.

Real Salt Lake had a terrible start, conceding after just five minutes. Aleksandar Katai gave Chicago the lead with an excellent low free-kick which went around the RSL wall.

The Claret and Cobalt won a spot-kick on 33 minutes after Chicago midfielder Mo Adams handled the ball in the penalty area. Former Manchester City midfielder Albert Rusnák equalised from the spot-kick, sending Chicago goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm the wrong way.

In the second half, Katai had an excellent opportunity to score his second and restore the home side's lead when he was played through on goal by Brandt Bronico, but he he sent his effort well wide. RLS have goalkeeper Nick Rimando to thank for preserving their point as the 40-year-old showed excellent reflexes to push away Przemyslaw Frankowski's header from close range in the dying embers of the game.

Ultimately RLS can look back on this game with regret after missing an opportunity to make up ground in the race for the play-offs. They delivered a poor performance where they were ultimately fortunate to leave with a draw. 

The biggest shock in this round of fixtures was undoubtedly Houston Dynamo's 0-4 hammering at the hands of Portland. 

Houston are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with Portland Timbers sitting in second-to-last position - 11th place.


The visitors would have been expected to pick up an easy victory here but instead suffered an embarrassing defeat against an inspired Portland side.


The Timbers took the lead in the 39th minute with a well-worked team goal, as Diego Valeri pulled out to the right wing and floated a ball deep into the penalty area.


Right-back Jorge Moreira found himself in an unlikely position in the penalty area and he delivered a perfect chested lay-off for the on-rushing Marvin Loría to fire in a left-footed strike on his debut.


The home side added their second from the spot after DaMarcus Beasley was adjudged to have fouled Loría in the penalty area. Valeri made no mistake with the penalty, sending Joe Willis the wrong way.

Portland locked down all three points just after the hour mark with an excellent counter-attack. Valeri received the ball in his own half and played a good long pass to the unmarked Brian Fernández who drove into the box and calmly slotted past Willis.


Jeremy Ebobisse added the gloss to the scoreline in the 74th minute, cutting onto his right foot from the left flank and hitting a powerful low shot into the net.

While Houston have had a good campaign so far, this defeat will be a damaging blow to their confidence. They were dominated from start to finish by one of the worst sides in MLS this season and will hope they are not affected by this in their upcoming fixtures.

LA Galaxy closed the gap on Western Conference leaders Los Angeles FC with a 2-0 victory over FC Cincinnati, the bottom-placed side in the Eastern Conference.

The visitors were willing to concede possession throughout the game and their first goal came through a direct piece of play.

Former Manchester United and Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimović won the header from the Galaxy's goal-kick, heading the ball down to Favio Álvarez who played an excellent chipped through ball to Emmanuel Boateng. The 25-year-old picked the ball up and hit a fierce left-footed strike into the bottom right-hand corner.


The home side doubled their lead when Cincinnati failed to clear their lines, allowing Álvarez to score from a rebound. Emmanuel Ledesma had a good chance to pull a goal back for the home side when he looped a header over the bar, despite finding himself in space from close range.


The victory means that LA Galaxy have now closed the gap to nine points behind local rivals Los Angeles FC in the Western Conference.


Elsewhere, FC Dallas secured a routine home victory over Toronto to solidify their place in the Western Conference play-off places while Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.

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