In pictures: Confident Sounders embarrass Galaxy 5-0

After out classing FC Dallas at home on Sunday, Seattle Sounders FC demolished LA Galaxy 5-0 in a match that never seemed in doubt for the Rave Green.

In front of 44,213 at CenturyLink Field, Chad Marshall opened the scoring in the third minute with his second goal in as many games. Harry Shipp doubled the lead before halftime and Seattle continued their domination into the second half with an own goal from former Sounder Servando Carrasco and goals from Cristian Roldan and Raul Ruidiaz rounding out the scoring.

The result set the Sounders club record for biggest margin of victory and tied the Galaxy club record for worst loss.

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It was as confident of a performance as we’ve seen from Seattle, now unbeaten in nine and having won their last six, and the fluidity in their ball movement and and off ball runs has been at the forefront of their success.

The build-up to Seattle’s fourth goal was a perfect encapsulation of that confidence and ball movement as Nico Lodeiro and Harry Shipp pass back-and-forth around several Galaxy defenders before slipping Shipp into space behind the defense.

From there Shipp is able to pick out Roldan in a pocket of space between four defenders for the first touch shot into the far corner.

Seattle were not without flaws though and almost allowed the Galaxy back into the match late in the first half as Sebastian Lletget had space at the top of the box to take a shot but skied it high over the bar.

“Our team has started strong the first 20 to 25 minutes of games here recently and we let our foot off the gas a little bit and I think we let them back in,” said Brian Schmetzer post-match.

“We made a couple of corrections at halftime, tried to get some adjustments made and I think that team, again that team did what they were supposed to do, did what they had to do to put the game out of reach and all credit goes to them.”

Although the Galaxy were without five of their regular starters including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romain Alessandrini, and both Gio and Jonathan dos Santos, there really isn’t much excuse for the several poor turnovers, two of which lead to Seattle goals.

The own goal by Carrasco feels like a perfect microcosm of the Galaxy’s day as first Jørgen Skjelvik slips in his own box trying to shield a through ball away from Lodeiro only for the ensuing cross back towards Ruidiaz to bounce right off the feet of the recovering Carrasco and slowly trickle over the goal line.

Seattle will likely have a more difficult time on the road next week as they head South on I-5 to take on hated rivals Portland Timbers. Portland has taken both matches between the two sides so far this season, first a 1-0 win in Portland before getting their first ever regular season win in Seattle since joining MLS with a 3-2 battle in late June.

With an unbalanced Cascadia Cup schedule this year though, Seattle sits atop the Cascadia standings as each team has a win and a loss after playing two matches thanks to the first meeting between Seattle and Portland not being included in the 2018 series.

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In pictures: Seattle Sounders 0-1 LAFC – MLS newcomers make statement with debut win

Seattle Sounders 0-1 LAFC – Los Angeles FC‘s first MLS game in history couldn’t have gone much better. They went to Seattle Sounders, one of the league’s most difficult places to visit, and showed incredible composure and belief to come away with a special 1-0 victory.

Bob Bradley’s side made the most of a strong start, with Diego Rossi’s 11th-minute strike from distance enough to earn all three points. The Sounders rallied to try and respond but couldn’t break down a resolute LAFC backline over the remainder of the game.

The expansion franchise have some star-studded names as their disposal but it still takes something special to go into one of the league’s top sides and walk out with a win and a clean sheet. LAFC did that and immediately made a statement to the rest of the league. They’re not just here to make up the numbers.

They pressed high, countered effectively and defended impressively as Seattle were left to rue missed chances and a lack of a cutting edge. It’s the third-straight season in which the Sounders have dropped their season opener.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday night’s game at CenturyLink Field below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

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In pictures: Seattle Sounders 4-0 Santa Tecla – Sounders cruise into CCL quarterfinals

Seattle Sounders 4-0 Santa Tecla – Seattle overturned their 2-1 first-leg defeat in emphatic style as they put four goals past El Salvador’s Santa Tecla to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

The Sounders knew they had to break down a solid Santa Tecla defence to have any chance of progressing but they went into halftime with the score at 0-0. Brian Schmetzer made a tactical switch to a 4-4-2 diamond formation for the second minutes, and it paid dividends almost immediately.

Will Bruin opened the scoring in the 47th minute, before Nicolas Lodeiro put the hosts in the driving seat on 69 minutes. Lodeiro – who assisted Bruin’s goal – then set up Chad Marshall off a set piece in the 81st minute to make it 3-0.

Winter signing Magnus Wolff Eikrem made his debut on Thursday night, coming on for the start of the second-half. He made an immediate impact, impressing with his passing and off the ball movement. He capped off a fine debut by scoring the final goal in the 83rd minute.

The Sounders will now face Liga MX side CD Guadalajara in the quarterfinals, starting with the home leg next Wednesday.

Check out exclusive photos from Seattle’s win over Santa Tecla on Thursday night, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

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Toronto gets revenge over Sounders to complete historic treble – Exclusive photos from the 2017 MLS Cup Final

For the first time in MLS history, a Canadian side has won the MLS Cup. Toronto FC claimed the 2017 MLS Cup Final with a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders on Saturday night, completing a historic treble after an almost faultless year. They have been the best team by a margin this year and have now been rewarded with their first MLS Cup title.

They dominated the game from start to finish but could not get past Stefan Frei, as the game started to feel like a repeat of the 2016 Final in which Seattle stunned the hosts on penalties.

But after 66 minutes, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore took the game by the scruff of the neck and broke Seattle’s resolve. Giovinco’s pass put Altidore through and the powerful striker coolly finished past the once again excellent Frei.

The goal woke the Sounders up but not enough as Toronto withstood the late pressure and then sealed the win with a stoppage time tap-in from Victor Vazquez. That goal sent BMO Field into raptures as they knew a decade’s worth of pain was over. They’d got revenge. They’d won the title. And they have probably earned the tag as the ‘greatest MLS side of all time’.

Check out exclusive photos from the 2017 MLS Cup Final below, courtesy of Jil Hendershot.

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Gallery: Exclusive images as Houston stun Portland to advance to Western Conference Final

The Houston Dynamo stunned the Portland Timbers with a 2-1 comeback win at Providence Park on Sunday night. The 2015 MLS Cup champions were eliminated on their own turf, with the Dynamo advancing to the Western Conference Final, where they’ll face the Seattle Sounders.

This time last year, Houston were the worst side in the Western Conference. Now, they are just two legs away from the 2017 MLS Cup Final. Their turnaround has been remarkable and they fully deserved their win at Portland on Sunday.

Dairon Asprilla gave the hosts the lead on 39 minutes, blasting the ball high and beyond Joe Willis. Asprilla’s task was made significantly easier by an unfortunate slip from Dynamo defender Dylan Remick.

However, Remick would soon atone for his error. Just four minutes later he volleyed the Dynamo level. That goal left the Houston in control, due to their away goal. Portland needed one more but couldn’t find it.

Then, in the 77th minute Mauro Manotas struck from distance and beat Jeff Attinella to put the game beyond Portland’s reach. The Dynamo advanced against the odds, leaving Portland players and fans stunned at the fact their season ended in such fashion.

Houston will face the Seattle Sounders over two legs in the Western Conference final, with the winner advancing to MLS Cup to take on either Toronto FC or Columbus Crew SC.

Check out exclusive pictures from Sunday night’s game, courtesy of MLSGB Photographer Denise McCooey.

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Gallery: Seattle Sounders 1-1 Portland Timbers – Exclusive photos

Seattle Sounders 1-1 Portland Timbers – MLS Rivalry Week was rounded off by an ever-dramatic Cascadia Cup clash between two of the league’s fiercest rivals. There weren’t an abundance of goals but there was no shortage of talking points.

The Sounders took the lead in the 18th minute, with Cristian Roldan knocking a scrappy goal in after after a goalmouth scramble inside the six-yard box. The home fans didn’t care that it wasn’t pretty. They were on top.

But Portland didn’t give up, despite the fact they’ve still never won at CenturyLink Field in MLS. They pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded on the stroke of halftime.

Diego Valeri’s fine pass to Darren Mattocks resulted in the forward being brought down. Mark Geiger pointed to the spot and Valeri made no mistake, tying the game at 1-1.

That was how it would end. Both sides pressed for a potential winner but to no avail. Nouhou Tolo was sent off in the dying seconds for Seattle after raising his hands to the face of Diego Chara.

The two rivals end MLS Rivalry Week in first and second in the West. Seattle are top on 42 points, with Portland one behind on 41. However, both sides have played more games than Sporting KC, Vancouver and Houston, who are all chasing.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

Seattle Sounders 1-1 Portland Timbers – Exclusive photos:

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New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City: Exclusive photos as Red Bulls down Lions

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City – The Red Bulls bounced back from last weekend’s Hudson River Derby loss with a strong comeback win at Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening. Bradley Wright-Phillips was among the goals again as Orlando saw their winless run extended to five.

Jesse Marsch’s men have now won five of their last six MLS games. They are fourth in the East and well on course for a playoff place.

By stark contrast, Orlando City are facing an uphill battle if they are going to make the postseason for the first time. Jason Kreis has watched his team lose four of their last five. They are five points behind sixth-placed Atlanta, but have played two games more than the expansion side. They need to produce something special to reach the playoffs for the first time.

The Lions got off to the perfect start, with Carlos Rivas putting them 1-0 up in the 18th minute. However, Leo Pereira scored an own goal after a good cross from Tyler Adams on the half-hour mark to level it up.

Wright-Phillips then put the hosts in front. He turned in a cross from Alex Muyl and the Red Bulls then looked comfortable. The result was made certain when Sean Davis curled in a fine effort nine minutes from time.

The game did end on a sour note though. Referee Jorge Gonzalez handed out four yellow cards in stoppage time. While he issued Kaka with a contentious red card after a Video Review. The Brazilian put his hands on the face of Aurelien Collin, seemingly joking with a friend. But Gonzalez chose to send Kaka off after watching the incident back.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City: Exclusive Photos

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Seattle Sounders 1-0 Sporting KC: Exclusive photos as Sounders go joint-top of West

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Sporting KC – Things just got very interesting in the West. Saturday’s night’s result saw the Sounders move level on 37 points with SKC at the summit of the Western Conference. Houston Dynamo’s win then saw them also move onto 37 points, leaving a three-way battle for top spot.

Seattle knew they needed to beat Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. And Clint Dempsey was the man to deliver the goods, with the attacker netting his 50th Sounders goal to settle the game.

Dempsey’s first-half header proved to be enough to hand SKC their first defeat in 10 MLS outings. Both sides are now level on 37 points with 10 games to go.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Paul Kahl.

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Sporting KC: Match Photos

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Gallery: Exclusive images from Seattle Sounders impressive 3-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes

The Seattle Sounders kept their strong run of form going with a convincing 3-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. The Sounders were missing all three Designated Players and Jordan Morris too. But that didn’t stop them as they proved too good for the Quakes at CenturyLink Field.

The game was goalless at halftime but the Sounders simply blew San Jose away in the second half. Cristian Roldan opened the scoring in the 54th minute. Then, two minutes later made it 2-0. Seattle made sure of the result in the 65th minute when Kelvin Leerdam tapped in at the back post from a Joevin Jones corner.

Sunday night’s game marked Leerdam’s first MLS start since moving to Seattle at the start of the month. He impressed with a goal and assist. While Joevin Jones again proved how dangerous he is, so the Sounders now have two attacking full-backs to hurt teams with.

The win means Seattle have now picked up three-straight victories and are up to fifth in the West. However, San Jose have suffered three consecutive losses and are not outside the playoff spots. Their hopes of a top-six finish seem to be taking knock after knock at the moment.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Paul Kahl and Denise McCooey.

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Gallery: Exclusive images as depleted Portland Timbers down Vancouver Whitecaps

Portland Timbers travelled to Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps with 12 first-team players missing. They needed something special to take anything from the game. And they got just that, as they picked up a surprise 2-1 win at BC Place.

Portland’s Jeremy Ebobisse marked his first MLS start with a goal and an assist in a eye-catching display. It took him just 14 minutes to get the Timbers off the mark as he converted a Dairon Asprilla cross.

Vancouver rallied though and got their reward on the stroke of halftime. Andrew Jacobson tapped in at the back post following a flick-on by Tim Parker. The home side went into the break in high spirits and would have expected to go on and win the game. But Portland had other plans.

The Timbers came out fast in the second half and went 2-1 up in the 49th minute as Sebastian Blanco fired in past David Ousted. Despite the rapid start to the second half, there would be no more goals as Vancouver struggled to get past Jake Gleeson in the Portland goal.

The result ended a six-game winless run for the Timbers. While Vancouver saw their two-game win streak ended to their Cascadia rivals. Portland are now three points clear of the Whitecaps in the Western Conference but have played three games more.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Chris Kachanoski, John May and Hazel May.

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