March 7, 2016 / 10:11 AM / 3 years ago

Portland open MLS title defense with win over Columbus

(Reuters - Defending champions Portland began the new Major League Soccer season the way they finished the old one, beating Columbus Crew 2-1, on Sunday.

Portland Timbers players pose for a team photo with the MLS Cup after defeating the Columbus Crew in the 2015 MLS Cup championship game at MAPFRE Stadium. Dec 6, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Timbers, who defeated Crew by the same score to win their first MLS Cup in December, went ahead through Diego Valeri’s free-kick in the 23rd minute.

Crew’s Federico Higuain equalized in the 68th minute with a stunning bicycle kick before Fanendo Ali grabbed the winner with just over 10 minutes left at Providence Park.

In other games, the New York Red Bulls went down 2-0 at home to Toronto FC after a late penalty from Sebastian Giovinco and a stoppage time goal from Marky Delgado, while New York City beat the Fire 4-3 in Chicago.

Orlando’s Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter scored in injury time to snatch a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake while FC Dallas beat Philadelphia Union 2-0 with goals from Fabian Castillo and Maximiliano Urruti.

New England’s Daigo Kobayashi scored deep into injury time to secure a 3-3 draw with Houston Dynamo.

In San Jose, Chris Wondolowski’s header in the opening minute of the second half gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids, and Ignacio Piatti scored twice as visiting Montreal beat Vancouver 3-2.

Sporting Kansas City earned a 1-0 win over the Sounders in Seattle thanks to Nuno Coelho’s goal in the 73rd minute.

In the late game, Los Angeles Galaxy, with Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Nigel de Jong and Robbie Keane in their starting line-up, scored four goals in the second half to defeat D.C. United 4-1.

Lamar Neagle gave D.C. the lead five minutes into the game and LA had to wait till the 54th minute for their equalizer.

Daniel Steres headed in Mike Magee’s corner to make it 1-1, with the latter scoring to give LA the lead 10 minutes later. Keane scored from a penalty before Magee scored his second goal off a Gerrard free kick to make it 4-1.

Editing by Peter Rutherford/John O'Brien

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