MLS Review: Timbers, Sounders claim important conference wins
The MLS Western Conference play-off picture is shaping up as a tight one, after Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders both recorded victories on Sunday.
Portland emerged with a 2-1 win away to Vancouver Whitecaps, while the Sounders were resounding 3-0 winners at home to San Jose Earthquakes.
Jeremy Ebobisse scored his first MLS goal in the 14th minute, after the Whitecaps failed to clear their lines from a corner.
With a place in the west's top two still achievable, Vancouver fought their way back into the game and levelled just before the interval through Andrew Jacobson.
There was a hint of fortune in the build-up, but Sebastian Blanco showed composure to put the Timbers back in front four minutes into the second half.
It was ultimately enough for the victory in a tightly contested match.
After coming back from three goals down to defeat DC United 4-3 last time out, reigning MLS Cup champions the Sounders won with much less hassle this time around.
Seattle scored three second-half goals to see off San Jose at CenturyLink Field.
Following his winner against DC, Cristian Roldan backed it up in Sunday's win, bagging a brace.
Scoring from a long Kelvin Leerdam throw-in after 54 minutes, Roldan pounced on Victor Bernardez's ill-advised attempt to evade him in the penalty area, doubling the margin two minutes later.
Roldan almost made it at hat-trick moments later, but his goal-bound header was brilliantly denied by Earthquakes keeper David Bingham.
Leerdam eventually rounded out the scoring in the 65th minute, putting away Joevin Jones' corner in his first start.
In the run home to the play-offs, both Portland and Seattle remain within touching distance of Western Conference leaders FC Dallas, who are four pints ahead.
The Whitecaps are three points further back in sixth, while the Earthquakes are a point behind Vancouver.