[MLS WEEKEND REPORT] New England and D.C. United pull away from the pack atop the Eastern Conference; Toronto sets futility record; Red Bulls' keeper Jon Conwaygives up long-distance own goal; the Fire edges closer to the playoff octet by winning again, thanks to Cuauhtemoc Blanco; the 10-man Crew escapes from Houston with a point; Colorado pulls even with Columbus by rolling over the sorry Galaxy; and Chivas USA continued its dominance at home. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney recaps the weekend's MLS action ...
RED BULL RELAPSE.New York's saga of erratic goalkeeping took a tragic-comedic turn Saturday when Jon Conway let a long back pass from defender Carlos Mendes roll past him for the winning goal in a 2-1 New England (12-5-6) victory.[VIDEO]
Conway's gaffe in the 80th minute sent the Red Bulls (10-9-3) to their second straight defeat. The Red Bulls had taken a 1-0 lead following a missed penalty kick by Shalire Joseph, who shot wide. Adam Cristman went down rather easily when challenged by Seth Stammer, but Joseph hooked his kick beyond the post.
Jozy Altidore swapped passes with Juan Pablo Angel to score his eighth goal of the season on the half hour. Conway preserved the 1-0 lead by saving from Taylor Twellman late in the first half but right after the restart Twellman trapped a Matt Reis goal kick and incredibly took the ball straight to goal and scored.
Reis saved an Angel shot and anxiously watched another effort from him hit the side netting before Mendes, near the left touchline, struck a low, long-distance ball toward his own goal that Conway's clumsy lunge couldn't prevent rolling just inside the far post.
BLANKED AT BMO. Futility, thy home is TFC.
Toronto outshot visiting D.C. United, 12-5, yet still set an MLS goalless mark by losing, 1-0. United scored the only goal it needed in the eighth minute, by which time Toronto had already passed the mark of 557 scoreless minutes set by expansion Real Salt Lake two years ago.
D.C. (12-6-3) scored when Nicolas Addlery headed on a long Troy Perkins kick to Fred, who dribbled at the TFC defense before lofting a chip that surprised marker Jim Brennan and utterly beat keeper Kenny Stamatopoulos.
The sluggish TFC (5-12-5) attack didn't awake until the second half. Danny Dichio headed a Carl Robinson free kick over the crossbar and with 20 minutes left a crisp passing move led to Dichio playing a ball wide to Todd Dunivant.
Dichio might have been expecting a return pass but Dunivant saw a lane to goal and drilled a shot that Perkins bravely blocked with a confident charge.
United won its fifth straight league game to move six points ahead of third-place New York in the Eastern Conference. The shutout extended Toronto's barren run to 642 minutes.
FIRED UP. More magic from Cuauhtemoc Blanco earned Chicago a 2-0 win and a split of back-to-back games against Kansas City that lifted the Fire (7-9-5) within one point of a playoff spot.
A foul by Kurt Morsink on Ivan Guererro just outside the penalty area offered Blanco a free kick that he chipped over the defensive wall into the net just before halftime.
Calen Carr clinched the victory with his third goal of the season in the final minutes; he headed home a Blanco cross after Blanco and Gutierrez exchanged passes on a corner kick.
Carr had replaced Justin Mapp, who suffered an ankle sprain in the 17th minute and lasted another 10 minutes before hobbling off.
Kansas City (9-8-5) mustered just two shots on goal thanks to a determined Fire defensive effort led by captain Chris Armas and Gutierrez, who poked away a ball Eddie Johnson was about to drive into the net.
Keeper Jon Busch denied Sasha Victorine on one of the two shots the Wizards put on target and Kevin Hartman stopped Paulo Wanchope with a diving save.
The teams shared 39 fouls nearly equally (20 by Kansas City) and seven players were cautioned.
CREW CALL. Columbus (6-7-9) lost defender Marcos Gonzalez before halftime to a second caution and settled for a 1-1 tie after Nate Jaqua equalized for Houston in the 80th minute.
Alejandro Moreno scored for the second time this season against the team that traded him away, and once again, Guillermo Barros Schelotto provided the pass.
Schelotto dribbled into the box and dished off for Moreno to score his fourth goal. Shortly before setting up Moreno with his ninth assist of the season Schelotto had drilled a shot off the crossbar.
Gonzalez fouled ex-Crew forward Joseph Ngwenya to pick up his second caution five minutes after he'd tackled Ngwenya from behind, but Houston (11-7-5) labored for 50 minutes before scoring.
Keeper Will Hesmer saved a hard shot from Ngwenya and the rebound bounced loose for Jaqua to tap into the empty net. It was Hesmer's only save of the game and incredibly, Dynamo keeper Pat Onstad finished with none.
Danny O'Rourke blocked a Jaqua shot in the final minutes and Dwayne DeRosario shot high on the rebound to thwart Houston's final attempt at three points. Instead the Dynamo has just a two-point lead on FC Dallas, which has played two fewer games and this week finally landed Brazilian midfielder Denilson. The Crew is tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with Colorado.
WAIT 'TIL WEDNESDAY. The Galaxy left a slew of starters, including David Beckham, at home and was pasted, 3-0, in Colorado.
Landon Donovan, Abel Xavier, and Kelly Gray were absent as the Rapids powered in goals by Conor Casey, Colin Clark and Mike Petke before halftime.
Casey cut inside defender Kyle Veris to score the first goal after a nice feed from Jovan Kirovski, and Clark capitalized when Veris diverted a cross right to his feet.
Petke reacted quickly when a corner kick glanced off keeper Joe Cannon's fists to control the ball and pop it into the net with his left foot.
Colorado (7-9-6) won its third straight to tie Columbus in the eighth overall spot with 27 points. In those three games it has outscored Houston, New England and Los Angeles, 7-0.
The Galaxy (3-10-5) produced just one shot on goal, by Alan Gordon in the 78th minute, while losing its fifth straight league match. It plays Mexican club Pachuca in the SuperLiga final at Home Depot Center Wednesday and faces a long run of Becksibitions after that.
HDC HEX. Chivas USA is still unbeaten at home after dropping Real Salt Lake (2-11-6), 1-0, on a Jesse Marsch goal.
RSL keeper Nick Rimando saved superbly several times but had no chance when Marsch redirected a ball driven into the goalmouth by Ante Razov and arrowed it over Rimando's shoulder from close range.
Chivas USA (11-6-3) goalie Brad Guzan had little to do in the first half but came up strong to repel a fierce shot from Atiba Harris with 20 minutes left. That was RSL's only shot on goal, though some good crosses by Andy Williams and Chris Wingert required catches and punches from Guzan and clearances by his defensive mates.
Another round of absences forced head coach Preki to make changes.
Without the suspended Lawson Vaughn and Alex Zotinca, Jonathan Bornstein started the match at right back and striker Maykel Galindo, who scored twice in the 3-0 humiliation of the Galaxy on Thursday, remained on the bench until the 79th minute. Razov played as a lone striker but Ramon Nunez, Francisco Mendoza and Sacha Kljestan provided plenty of support.
Midfielder Fabian Espindola, one of three Argentines recently signed by RSL coach Jason Kreis, got his first start and Matias Mantilla came on as a sub. The third, Javier Morales, stayed on the bench.
Click HEREfor MLS video highlights.
Aug. 25 in Foxboro, Mass.
New England 2 New York 1. Goals: Twellman (Reis) 46; Altidore (Angel) 30, own goal 80.
New England - Reis, Larentowicz, Riley, John, Parkhurst, Dorman, Ralston, Joseph, Smith (Thompson, 60), Twellman, Cristman.
New York -Conway, Goldthwaite, Parke, Leitch, Stammler, Richards, Vide (Magee, 85), Mathis, Reyna (Mendes, 76), Altidore (Doe, 71), Angel.
Yellow Cards: New England - Thompson 66, Twellman 87; New York - Reyna 59.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo.
Aug. 25 in Toronto
Toronto FC 0 D.C. United 1. Goal: Fred (Addlery, Perkins) 8.
Toronto FC - Stamatopoulos, Braz, Marshall, Brennan, Wynne, Edu, Pozniak (Canizalez, 81), Robinson, Dunivant, Samuel, Dichio.
D.C. United -Perkins, Namoff, McTavish, Vanney, Burch, Carroll, Gomez (Mediate, 84), Simms, Fred, Dyachenko (Moreno, 46), Addlery (Kpene, 61).
Yellow Cards: Toronto FC - Dunivant 55, Braz 64, Robinson 89; D.C. United - Dyachenko 39, Carroll 56, Moreno 63, Gomez 84.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu.
Aug. 25 in Bridgeview, Ill.
Chicago 2 Kansas City 0. Goals: Blanco 44, Carr (Blanco, Gutierrez) 86.
Chicago - Busch, Brown, Gutierrez, Robinson, Mapp (Carr, 28), Armas, Blanco (Barrett, 87), Soumare, Guerrero, Wanchope, Rolfe (Pause, 59).
Kansas City - Hartman, Morsink (Marinelli, 67), Conrad, Garcia, Raybould (Colombano, 76), Arnaud, Victorine (Pore, 88), Zavagnin, Harrington, Johnson, Sealy.
Yellow Cards: Kansas City - Morsink 17, Raybould 50, Arnaud 73, Conrad 84; Chicago - Carr 59, Gutierrez 71, Soumare 88.
Aug. 25 in Houston
Houston 1 Columbus 1.Goals: Jaqua 80; Moreno (Schelotto) 17.
Houston - Onstad, Mulrooney, Cochrane (Wondolowski, 65), Ianni, Barrett, Mullan, Clark, De Rosario, Ashe, Jaqua, Ngwenya.
Columbus - Hesmer, Hejduk, Gonzalez, Hendrickson, Pierce (Grabavoy, 68), Schelotto (Szetela, 77), O'Rourke, Oughton, Gaven, Moreno, Virtuoso (Miglioranzi, 46).
Yellow Cards: Houston - Jaqua 26, Mullan 84; Columbus - Gonzalez 33, Schelotto 73, Miglioranzi 90.
Red Card:Columbus - Gonzalez 38.
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja.
Aug. 26 in Commerce City, Colo.
Colorado 3 Los Angeles 0. Goals: Casey (Kirovski, Ballouchy) 26, Clark 34, Petke 43.
Colorado - Coundoul, Erpen, Ihemelu (Sanneh, 57), Petke, Prideaux, Cooke, Ballouchy (Gomez, 57), Mastroeni, Clark (Osorno, 82), Casey, Kirovski.
Los Angeles -Cannon, Klein, Roberts, Veris, Randolph, Glinton, Martino (Jones, 66), Caso (Vagenas, 46), Tudela, Buddle (Kirk, 46), Gordon.
Yellow Cards: Colorado - Mastroeni 50; Los Angeles - Veris 11.
Referee: Brian Hall.
Aug. 26 in Carson, Calif
Chivas USA 1 Real Salt Lake 0. Jesse Marsch (Ante Razov ) 31.
Chivas USA - Guzan, Bornstein, Hernandez, Suarez, Perez, Kljestan, Marsch, Nagamura, Mendoza (Cunliffe, 71), Nunez, Razov (Galindo, 79).
Real Salt Lake -Rimando, Kipre, Pope, Kotschau, Wingert, Beckerman, Talley, Williams (Mantilla, 72), Harris, Espindola (Lancos, 68), Findley (Brown, 56).
Yellow Cards: Chivas USA - Kljestan 89; Real Salt Lake - Harris 36, Espindola 59.