Portland Timbers have defeated the Colorado Rapids 3-0 to stretch their unbeaten streak to 17 games in MLS.
Frederic Piquionne, Will Johnson and Ryan Johnson scored the goals for Portland with Rodney Wallace setting up all three as the Timbers joined the MLS’ Western Conference-leaders, Real Salt Lake, on 30 points.
Colorado lost their third-straight game on Sunday to remain seventh in the Western Conference, while Portland, who have never won major silverware since they joined the MLS in 2011, took a significant step towards a potential maiden title this year.
The Rapids had the opening scoring chance of the game through Deshorn Brown’s deflected strike in the first minute but Portland took the lead in front of their home crowd when Piquionne headed Wallace’s left-wing cross home 11 minutes later.
Wallace hit the side netting in the 22nd minute as the Timbers kept pushing but the hosts had to wait until the final play of the half to double their lead.
After a goal-kick from Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, Wallace fed Will Johnson on the edge of the box and the Timbers’ skipper dinked the ball into the air before volleying home to notch his sixth goal of the season.
The second half at JELD-WEN Field was more even but Portland wrapped up victory when Will Johnson intercepted a pass and released Wallace on the left in the 84th minute, who crossed for Ryan Johnson to finish from near the penalty spot.
The Timbers remain just off top spot in the Western Conference on goals scored after Real Salt Lake defeated Seattle Sounders 2-0 on Saturday with Kyle Beckerman and Robbie Findlay scoring either side of half-time.
In the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia Union leapfrogged New York Red Bulls into second position after a 3-0 victory.
New York had Lloyd Sam sent off in the 29th minute at Philadelphia’s PPL Park after Conor Casey had put the home side in front.
When Casey doubled Union’s lead just after the hour mark, Philadelphia were cruising and they wrapped up victory thanks to Antoine Hoppenot’s 88th-minute strike.
The win took Philadelphia to 25 points and ahead of New York on goals scored with the Red Bulls slipping to third on the Eastern Conference table.
In other results, DC United won 1-0 over San Jose Earthquakes, Chicago Fire claimed a 2-1 victory away to Columbus Crew, FC Dallas were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo played out a scoreless stalemate with Toronto FC.