Japanese imports Kudo and Endoh notch first MLS goals

Photo credit: AFP

Photo credit: AFP

Japan’s Masato Kudo opened his Major League Soccer scoring account to help the Vancouver Whitecaps rally for a 2-1 victory over MLS Cup champions Portland in Vancouver.

Kudo, the all-time leading goalscorer for 2011 J-League Champions Kashiwa Reysol, arrived on a free transfer in December.

He finally got his first MLS goal in the 60th minute, slipping a shot just inside the near post and past goalkeeper Jake Gleeson to make it a 1-1.

After a dominant display in a win over Toronto last weekend, Gleeson was again impressive in the first half, making six stops.

But he struggled in the second half, conceding Vancouver’s second goal in the 66th when he let a cross from Christian Bolanos wriggle through his legs.

The Timbers had taken the lead in the 34th minute when Fanendo Adi backheeled a ball to Darlington Nagbe, who knocked the ball into the path of a sliding Nat Borchers.

Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson was pleased with his side’s response.

“Sometimes you’ve got to roll your sleeves up, pull your socks up, and get on with it and don’t feel sorry for yourself, and the boys didn’t in the second half,” he said. “We continued with the intensity and we continued to create chances. It was a little bit fortuitous, the winning goal, as it happened. I think we deserved to win.”

Robinson was also pleased for Kudo, who was making his fourth start and seventh appearance since joining the club.

“It was his birthday yesterday,” Robinson said. “I sent him a message last night and he promised me he’d get a goal. He did get a goal today, which is great. Nice to get your first goal. It showed what it meant to the group. We’re delighted to have Masato here and hopefully there’s more to come.”

Japanese midfielder Tsubasa Endoh also grabbed his first MLS goal, lifting Toronto FC to a 1-0 victory over FC Dallas.

Endoh finished off a long run off by collecting a pass in a crowded box from Sebastian Gioinco and going cross-corner with a left-footer at the 28-minute mark.

Toronto were playing their first home game of the season, as construction at BMO Field kept them on the road for their first eight matches.

Among other matches on Saturday, the Montreal Impact erased a three-goal deficit to forge a 4-4 draw with the Columbus Crew.

Former Columbus forward Dominic Oduro scored three minutes into second-half stoppage time to ensure Montreal shared the points.

SEE MORE: Schedule of MLS games on US TV and live streaming

They had trailed 4-1 through 53 minutes thanks to two goals apiece from Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain.

The Canadian club responded quickly with two goals in as many minutes before the hour-mark.

Ignacio Piatti was at the center of the Impact’s success, scoring twice and drawing a penalty that Didier Drogba converted.

It was Drogba who flicked on a cross that Oduro rifled home for the draw that left the Impact in first place in the Eastern Conference.

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