Portland Timbers

MLS Conference semi-finals round-up: Portland edge Seattle in five-goal thriller

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The MLS season is drawing to a close and the conference semi-final second-leg ties at the weekend threw up plenty of entertainment for fans across the world.

After the first-leg ties a week ago left things delicately poised, with no side holding anything higher than a one-goal advantage, the return clashes saw a lot more goals scored with a total of 18 from the four matches.

The pick of the bunch was certainly in Seattle as the Portland Timbers played out a five-goal thriller against the Sounders that went all the way to penalties. You can read our round-up of the results below.

Seattle Sounders 3-2 Portland Timbers (2-4 on penalties)

Portland were the only side to have scored twice in the first leg of the conference semi-finals last week and carried a 2-1 advantage with them to Seattle, where a goalless first half was followed by a frantic second period.

Raul Ruidiaz opened the scoring with 22 minutes of normal time remaining but Sebastian Blanco levelled the score on the night ten minutes later. Three minutes into injury time, Ruidiaz netted his second of the game to extend the match by another half hour.


Three minutes after the restart, Dairon Asprilla put Portland ahead on aggregate once again but the Timbers’ lead lasted for just a few minutes before Diego Valeri conceded a penalty – which was smashed home by Nicolas Lodeiro.

In the shoot-out, misses from Will Bruin and Osvaldo Alonso put Portland in the driving seat and, despite Liam Ridgewell missing from the spot, the visiting side secured their spot in the conference final when Asprilla tucked home the decisive penalty.

Sporting Kansas City 4-2 Real Salt Lake

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Sporting KC swept aside Real Salt Lake at home with a 4-2 victory that was perhaps not as comfortable as the final score suggests.

The hosts surged into a two-goal lead with just 19 minutes on the clock after efforts from Diego Rubio and Daniel Salloi but the visiting side were resurgent after the break, pulling one back on the hour mark through Sebastian Saucedo.

Ilie Sanchez restored Sporting’s two-goal cushion seven minutes later from the penalty spot but Damir Kreilach quickly reduced the deficit to set-up a nervy end to the match, which was only erased in the seventh minute of injury time as Salloi doubled his tally in the match.

Atlanta United 3-1 New York City FC

Winning the first leg in New York 1-0 last week, Atlanta United’s passage into the conference final never looked in doubt after a solid performance at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium saw NYCFC suffer semi-final heartbreak for the third season in a row.


Josef Martinez opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 25 minutes before Miguel Almiron doubled the hosts’ advantage shortly before the interval. However, Maxime Chanot did give New York some hope as he scored right before the break.

Atlanta always looked in control though and the result was put beyond any doubt when Martinez scored his second of the game seven minutes before the final whistle, taking his goal tally this season to an incredible 33 goals in 36 MLS matches.

New York Red Bulls 3-0 Columbus Crew

A valiant home performance from the Red Bulls saw Chris Armas’ side fight back from a 1-0 defeat in Columbus last week, ending the hopes that the Crew had of a memorable season after already securing success off the field earlier this year by keeping their franchise in the city.

It took just 17 minutes for the Red Bulls to level the score on aggregate as Alex Muyl scored only his fourth goal of the season but the game will be remembered by Daniel Royer’s brace, with his two goals separated by just three minutes.

Luis Robles made four saves for the home side as he secured a clean sheet, extending their impressive home record this season to 15-2-1.