[MLS] In recent years, “managing the game” has become one of the sport’s stock phrases, used to describe the process of protecting a lead while not necessarily sitting on it. Easy to say, hard to accomplish. Two MLS teams failed to do so at home on Saturday night, yet a road team -- Sporting Kansas City -- held a 2-1 lead throughout the second half to hand Portland yet another defeat at Jeld-Wen Field.
LATE SHOWS. San Jose and D.C. United coughed up late goals and thus settled for 2-2 ties with New York and Philadelphia, respectively.
Joel Lindpere’s second goal of the game came in the 85th minute and deflated San Jose, which had scored twice following his opener to take the lead. He shot from the edge of the penalty area and the ball deflected off defender Bobby Burling’s head as he tried to clear it; instead, it found the net behind keeper Jon Busch.
A crowd of 41,028 fans, lured by a post-game fireworks show, came to the match, which was played at Stanford Stadium rather than the team’s temporary home, Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes (5-5-6), which last week failed to score against a 10-man Galaxy team forced to use attacker Mike Magee in goal for the second half, tied for the second week at home. New York (5-3-10) is the second MLS team, in the wake of Chicago, to hit double-digits in ties.
Carlos Ruiz has been the nemesis of many MLS teams during his two stints in MLS, and his strike in the 84th minute pulled Philadelphia into a 2-2 tie with D.C. United at RFK Stadium. United had taken a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute on a spectacular long-range blast by Andy Najar, but Philly replied when Sebastian Le Toux released Sheanon Williams, whose cross Ruiz directed into the net.
ON A ROLL, WHEREVER. Sporting Kansas City, which began the season with 10 consecutive away games while construction on its new stadium was being completed, is getting into a winning rhythm wherever it pays.
SKC beat Portland, 2-1, Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field for its fourth win in the last six games. It took a 2-0 lead with early goals by C.J. Sapong and Aureilin Collin, and held out throughout the second half with a lead cut in half by an incredible juggle and volley by rookie Darlington Nagbe in first-half stoppage time. It improved its road record to 3-6-4 and including a U.S. Open Cup win Tuesday is unbeaten in eight games.
Despite that grueling road swing, SKC is only one game under .500 at 5-6-5 and has moved into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
NO HOME WOE IN BIG ‘D.’ The late equalizers and Portland’s dip in home form, along with a 1-1 tie in Southern California between Chivas USA and Chicago, meant that only FC Dallas posted a home victory in during five games played Saturday.
Brek Shea scored his eighth goal of the season and Jackson tallied his fourth goal in four games since returning from his wedding in Brazil as FCD downed Columbus, 2-0, at Pizza Hut Park.
FCD (10-4-4) has lost only once in the last 13 matches and moved within one point of Western Conference leader Los Angeles, which hosts Seattle Monday night.
FOR THE RECORD. After its 1-1 tie with Chivas USA, the Fire (2-4-12) is within two games of tying the league record for ties.
Dominic Oduro’s goal gave the Fire a 1-0 lead it surrendered when Nick LaBrocca drilled home a shot from distance. It has tied four of its last five games and with 18 points is tied with Toronto FC for seventh in the Eastern Conference.
FC Dallas set a league record last year with 14 ties in a 30-game season when it finished 12-4-14, and in the playoffs it reached MLS Cup, which ended regulation tied, 1-1, before Colorado scored its winner in overtime.