Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MLS Review: Timbers rout Galaxy to boost play-off hopes, Grella scores in record time

SoccerNews in MLS 19 Oct 2015

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Portland Timbers stunned reigning MLS champions LA Galaxy 5-2 to boost their play-off bid on Sunday.

After trailing 1-0 at the break, the Timbers – inspired by Fanendo Adi’s brace – scored five second-half goals at StubHub Center as they moved a step closer to a post-season berth.

Back-to-back victories catapulted the Timbers up to fourth in the Western Conference on 50 points, three points clear of seventh-placed San Jose Earthquakes with one regular-season match remaining.

The Galaxy – second in the West and bidding to win the Supporters’ Shield – made a perfect start to proceedings thanks to captain Robbie Keane in the 35th minute.

Keane allowed a pass from Juninho to drop over his shoulder and bounce before volleying powerfully past Adam Kwarasey.

That is as good as it got for the Galaxy as the Timbers rallied relentlessly after the interval.

Adi restored parity in the 65th minute, when he turned and fired the ball into the roof of the net, before he doubled his tally from the penalty spot three minutes later.

Diego Chara put the Timbers 3-1 ahead with 16 minutes remaining after his header proved too hot to handle for Donovan Ricketts.

Keane did give the Galaxy a glimmer of hope when he pulled a goal back in the 84th minute but late goals from Darlington Nagbe and substitute Maximiliano Urruti sealed the points.

New York Red Bulls clinched top spot in the Eastern Conference following their 4-1 demolition of Philadelphia Union.

Set up by Mike Grella’s record-breaking goal and four first-half strikes, the Red Bulls improved to 57 points, six clear of DC United, who humbled Chicago Fire 4-0 earlier on Sunday.

Grella, though, stole the headlines after scoring the fastest goal in MLS history in just the seventh second.

A wayward pass from Cristiano Maidana following kick-off at Red Bull Arena allowed Grella to run through and open the scoring for the first of his two goals.

Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kemar Lawrence were also on target for the hosts.

Meanwhile, Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo played out a 1-1 draw.

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