The Portland TImbers started a rivalry-fueled Sunday in Major League Soccer with a late game-winning goal against the Seattle Sounders
In the second heated contest of the day, Atlanta United took down Orlando City behind a pair of first-half goals.
Although New York City FC and LAFC aren’t rivals, their first-ever meeting to finish off Week 11 proved an exciting one as the two sides traded goals in a 2-2 draw.
Here is a rundown of Sunday’s MLS action:
LAFC 2 , NYCFC 2
Looking to bounce back after last week’s 4-0 shellacking against the rival Red Bulls, NYCFC was able to seal a tie with LAFC in California.
NYCFC struck first following a handball in the box. David Villa’s initial penalty kick was saved by Tyler Miller, but the Spanish star headed home the rebound for the opener in the 13th minute.
Ten minutes later, though, LAFC was level thanks to an own goal. A Walker Zimmerman header caromed off Sebastian Ibeagha and into the back of the net, restoring the deadlock through the first half.
LAFC struck first to open the second, taking a 2-1 lead through a goal from Carlos Vela. However, the lead lasted just nine minutes before Ismael Tajouri provided the equalize as NYCFC left Los Angeles with a point in hand.
Man of the Match: While the goal was the big highlight, Carlos Vela was effective all night in attack, providing four key passes in the draw.
Moment of the Match: Ismael Tajouri’s equalizer was a rocket from a tight angle, and it was just enough to earn a split of the points.
Match to Forget: It was a tough game for Edward Atuesta, who struggled in defense even aside from his handball in the first half.
Portland Timbers 1, Seattle Sounders 0
The 100th match between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders was a fairly dull affair for much of the game, but a late Sebastian Blanco goal provided some action in a 1-0 Timbers victory.
From an attacking perspective, this was one of the more drab Cascadia Derbies we’ve had. There were a couple chances on both sides, but rarely was there a moment that had fans ready to jump up in celebration.
The real fireworks came from a couple challenges in the first half that could have seen each team go down a man. The first one came in the 34th minute when Jordy Delem clattered into Diego Valeri. He was shown the yellow card for his actions, but a red certainly would have been justified.
Ten minutes later, Liam Ridgewell was guilty of a similar challenge. He, too, was brandished with the yellow card and was lucky to stay in the game.
Sebastian Blanco broke the scoreless deadlock in the 87th minute. He got free to collect a pass along the right side of the penalty area and easily chipped his shot over Stefan Frei. That was only the Timbers second shot on target for the entire match.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Sebastian Blanco’s goal kept this form being one of the least memorable Cascadia Cup matches.
MOMENT OF MATCH: Blanco’s goal settled this match and gave the Timbers big rivalry win.
MATCH TO FORGET: Alex Roldan experienced some rookie growing pains in this one. Paired in the midfielder with his older brother, he didn’t do all that much and ended up with a yellow card to his name.
Atlanta United 2, Orlando City 1
Atlanta United took an early lead over Orlando City in the 11th minute, when Josef Martinez pounded a penalty into the left side of the net.
Greg Garza earned the penalty for the Five Stripes, as Cristian Higuita made contact with him near the top of the penalty area.
Garza played a role in the second tally netted by the visitors at Orlando City Stadium, as he picked out Ezequiel Barco from the left wing.
The high-priced newcomer knocked his second-career MLS tally into the left side of the net in the 31st minute.
Orlando finally got itself into the game in the 57th minute, when Justin Meram ended his 11-game scoreless streak.
Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann failed to control Will Johnson’s shot from distance, which allowed Meram to rush onto the ball in the middle of the box and finish his first goal for the Lions.
Orlando tried to find the back of the net for a second time, but its efforts were unsuccessful, as Atlanta’s defense held firm in front of Kann for the final 33 minutes.
The Lions travel to Toronto FC on Friday, while Atlanta is back in the national spotlight against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Michael Parkhurst and the Atlanta United fended off countless threats in an open game from the Orlando City attack. The veteran center back helped the Five Stripes hold Dom Dwyer without a shot on target.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Barco’s second-career strike for Atlanta United created separation between the two clubs at the end of the first half and turned out to be the difference maker.
MATCH TO FORGET: Cristian Higuita struggled to gain a foothold in midfield, as Atlanta ran rampant throughout the first half. The defensive midfielder was taken off at halftime for Oriol Rosell.