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Cincy off the mark; Vela thwarts New York

Los Angeles (AFP) – Major League Soccer expansion side FC Cincinnati celebrated their home debut with a convincing victory on Sunday, defeating the Portland Timbers 3-0 at Nippert Stadium.

Costa Rica international Kendall Waston got the party started for Cincinnati with the opening goal on 15 minutes, nodding in a free-kick to make it 1-0.

Portland, champions in 2015 and last season’s beaten MLS Cup finalists, went 2-0 down in the 61st minute when another of Cincinnati’s Costa Rican players struck.

This time it was midfielder Allan Cruz, cleverly backheeling past Jeff Antinella in the Timbers goal.

French full back Mathieu Deplagne made the game safe two minutes later, tucking away Darren Mattocks cross at the far post.

A miserable afternoon for Portland was complete when defender Larrys Mabiala was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 70th minute.

The result moved Cincinnati into fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with four points from three games.

Portland meanwhile are chasing their first win of the 2019 campaign, with one point from three matches to stay in 10th place in the Western Conference table.

Elsewhere Sunday, two goals from Mexico international Carlos Vela preserved Los Angeles FC’s unbeaten start to the campaign in a 2-2 draw against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.

Former Arsenal and Real Sociedad striker Vela took his goal tally for the season to three as LAFC twice came from behind to snatch a point.

New York’s new signing Alexandru Mitrita put the hosts ahead in the 39th minute before Vela equalised just before halftime.

Alex Ring gave New York a 2-1 lead on 62 minutes, crashing home Ben Sweat’s low cross.

Sweat however was at fault 14 minutes from time, when he brought down Latif Blessing in the area, which allowed Vela to step up and convert the spot-kick for 2-2.

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