MLS: Timbers lose 4-1 at Toronto; Sounders beat K.C. 1-0

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The Portland Timbers fell 4-1 to Toronto FC before 28,415 fans at BMO Field on Saturday evening.

Midfielder Diego Valeri scored the lone goal for the Timbers in the second half, recording his 50th career league goal to become just the 18th player in MLS history to tally at least 50 goals and 50 assists in league play.

It was the first road loss for the Timbers (9-9-7, 34 points) since June 21.

“It was a tough result. I think the game changed a lot in 20 minutes,” Valeri said. “After their first goal, we had a lot of chances and we couldn’t score, and then in 15 minutes everything changed.”

In the 57th minute, Toronto (13-3-8, 47 points) managed to take the lead when midfielder Justin Morrow pounced on a loose ball inside the box, driving toward goal before blasting a shot into the roof of the net.

Toronto doubled its lead in the 72nd minute on a finish by midfielder Victor Vazquez. Four minutes later, Morrow was able to find his second goal of the game, slotting away another loose ball inside the box to give the home side a 3-0 lead.

Toronto went up 4-0 with three minutes remaining in the game on Marco Delgado’s goal.

The Timbers found the back of the net in the 89th minute when forward Jeremy Ebobisse laid the ball off for Valeri, who beat several Toronto defenders before carefully placing his effort into the back of the net.

The finish marked Valeri’s team-leading 13th goal of the season, which ranks tied as the third-most in MLS this season.

“If those goals and assists help the team, I’m happy,” Valeri said of his 50th career goal. “But, like I said, today it wasn’t the best game for us and at the end of the season you can sit down and think about what you did. Now, we need to think about New York.”

The Timbers return to Providence Park to play host to the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. Friday. New York (12-9-2) is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

AT SOUNDERS 1, KANSAS CITY 0 — Clint Dempsey scored on a header in the 36th minute, and Seattle stretched its unbeaten streak to eight games.

The win lifted Seattle (10-7-7, 37 points) into a tie with Kansas City atop the Western Conference. Sporting (9-5-10, 37 points), which was coming off a penalty-kick shootout win against San Jose in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Wednesday night, lost a nine-game MLS unbeaten streak and a club record-tying 13-game overall unbeaten run.

“It’s confidence — that’s what happens when you get on a streak like we’re on,” Dempsey said of Seattle’s current 5-0-3 run. “There are defining moments of the season when a team has to dig deep and show a lot of character. The moments that stand out to me are being 3-0 down versus New England and coming back and drawing that game, and being 3-0 down to D.C. United and coming back to win 4-3.

“I think those type of gut-check moments are when a team could fold, but we showed resilience and character. That helps with momentum.”

Dempsey’s goal was his team-leading 10th of the season and third in the last two games.

After regaining control of the ball high on the right wing side, Jordan Morris took it toward the end line and floated a cross into the penalty area. Dempsey met it 8 yards in front of the net and headed it into the back right corner past KC goalkeeper Tim Melia.

“It was a great ball from Jordan. I just tried to get good contact on the ball and was able to do that,” Dempsey said. “It was perfect pace. I don’t have to do much, just redirect it a little bit.”

Goalkeeper Stefan Frei picked up his fourth straight shutout, a club record. The Sounders extended their shutout streak to 400 minutes, breaking the club record of 379.

“A record like that is only achievable as a team,” Frei said. “There’s offense and defense, and sometimes, people try to focus too much on dividing the teams into whatever players’ roles are. But we think the goalkeeper is the first attacker, and the striker is the first defender. So we’re all on the same page when we try to do something offensively and defensively.”