With the Timbers solidly in the playoff race and the results of other matches around the league increasing in importance, we thought we'd keep you all abreast of the MLS's weekend matchups. We had a light load this week due to Hurricane Irene, but there were still plenty of matches held this weekend, some more important than others.
So here's a wrap-up of the action, roughly in order of importance.
Goats 0:1 RSL
Real Salt Lake took three points from home side Chivas USA, getting a gift of a goal in the 11th minute and holding on in spite of Nat Borchers' 24th minute red card.
In the 11th minute, RSL striker Alvaro Saborio beat David Junior Lopes to a sloppy back pass from Ante Jazic before casually slipping past keeper Dan Kennedy for the match's only goal. Thirteen minutes later RSL defender Borchers pulled down Nick LaBrocca just outside the area and received a straight red. Despite being outplayed, outmanned and outgunned for the remainder of the match, Nick Rimando and RSL stole a victory.
The RSL victory adds some distance between them and their followers in the Wild Card race, but denies Chivas the chance to overtake the New York Red Bulls and the Portland Timbers for the coveted 10th spot.
Reds 1:1 Quakes
A fallacious offside call denied a goal to Joao Plata and a full three points to Toronto FC, as they settled for a draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Toronto's Eric Avila initiated the scoring in the 32rd minute. A hard tackle on Peri Marosevic squirted the ball to the onrushing Avila, who easily put the ball past Quakes keeper Jon Busch. Toronto should have added to their lead in the 75th minute, as the aforementioned Plata perfectly timed a run past the Quake backline, dribbled around Busch and put the ball home. The blue bastard on the sideline saw it wrong and called the offside. Chris Wondolowski equalized in the 87th.
With the draw, the Earthquakes gain a point in the Wild Card but remain six points behind the Red Bulls and the Timbers. Toronto remain Canada's best team with 24 points.
Wiz 2:3 Hoops
Sporting Kansas City proved that the Timbers aren't the only team capable of late-match collapses, although even the Timbers haven't thrown one away as farcically as SKC did against FC Dallas.
Sporting built a 2-0 lead off two devastating defensive downfalls from Dallas in the 22nd and 68th minutes. The epic collapse commenced in the 70th minute on a set piece from Daniel Hernandez, followed by Teal Bunbury's ejection in the 75th. In the 86th, 89th and 92nd minutes, Brek Shea put three nearly identical crosses in the area, two of them resulting in goals. If I were an SKC supporter, I'd be asking for Chance Myers' head right now, as he twice failed to give Shea the proper respect.
With the loss Sporting remain a mere four points ahead of the Timbers and put their 2nd place EC standing on thin ice. Dallas, meanwhile, further cemented its place in Western Conference's top three.
Caps 1:0 Orange
The Vancouver Whitecaps defense shone brightly as the Southsiders celebrated a rare victory, this one against the Houston Dynamo.
A defensive battle raged through much of the match as each side kept the other in check, thanks in part to some poor first half finishing from the Whitecaps. The deadlock seemed destined to be broken and finally was in the 86th minute. Shea Salinas, who had come on in the 33rd minute for an injured John Thorrington, beat the Dynamo defense down the left flank before cutting in and drilling a shot to the far post.
Despite the loss, Dynamo maintain their fragile third position in the EC standings, while the Whitecaps are still 2 points away from not having the league's worst record.
Fire 2:0 Rapids
The first side to beat the Timbers twice in a season fell to the only side that have lost both of their Timbers meetings, as the Chicago Fire defeated the Colorado Rapids.
In the 17th minute, Dominic Oduro made a run from the halfway line, taking the ball past the Rapids defense, and slipping the ball under the keeper for the first goal. A couple quick passes between Pavel Pardo and Sebastian Grazzini in the 35th minute left the latter wide open to cross the ball in to Cory Gibbs, who headed the ball home. Colorado picked up three cautions in the second half, as the Fire frustrated the Rapids' attack until the end of regulation.
The win revives Chicago's playoff hopes somewhat, bringing them 5 points from the 10th spot, while Colorado further whittled away its hopes to avoid the play-in round.
Flounders 6:2 Canaries
The Seattle Sounders trounced the Columbus Crew, courtesy of a hat-trick from some Flounder named Lamar Neagle and an own-goal from Josh Gardner. The first place team in the pathetic Eastern Conference now have a goal differential of +1.