[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Only one of four Wednesday games ended tied as New York stamped its claim on the Eastern Conference by mauling Toronto FC, and Crew striker Jeff Cunningham moved alongside Jaime Moreno atop the all-time goalscorers list.
NEW YORK 5, TORONTO FC 0. If nothing else, TFC confirmed how dire its status is and how desperately it needs help, though a pair of 30-ish DPs – Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans -- aren’t likely to initiate a dramatic transformation. Javier Martina’s shot off the post was about all the attack TFC could muster.
New York (6-3-10, 28 pts.) sent out all of its big guns, and all of them got on the scoresheet: 18-year-old Juan Agudelo tacked on the last two goals -- upping his season total to four strikes -- from assists by Joel Lindpere after Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers had scored five minutes apart late in the first half, and Lindpere tallied seven minutes after halftime. Jan Gunnar Solli served up assists on the first two goals to take over the team lead with six.
VANCOUVER 0, COLUMBUS 1. Minutes after lobbing a shot over the bar as a late-game sub, Jeff Cunningham finally tied Jaime Moreno atop MLS's all-time scorers' list by heading in a Josh Gardner cross. Cunningham's 133rd career goal also broke the hearts of the Whitecaps (2-9-8, 14 pts.) and their fans, following a squandered penalty kick and several other critical misses.
Keeper Will Hesmer dived right to parry Terry Dunfield’s penalty kick and preserved his sixth shutout of the season. Shea Salinas hit the post with a shot and in the second half went off with a straight red card for a dangerous over-the-ball tackle on Gardner. The victory lifts Columbus (7-5-6, 27 pts.) into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with Philadelphia.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 1, COLORADO 1. SKC (5-6-6, 21 pts.) could have tied the Rapids (5-5-9, 24 pts.) in points by winning its fourth home game at Livestrong Sporting Park but was unable to punch home a winner after Graham Zusi knocked in a rebound in the 62nd minute. Sub C.J. Sapong, who had just entered the game, handcuffed keeper Matt Pickens with a hard shot and Zusi pounced.
Conor Casey, starting just his ninth game in an injury-marred season, chested down a ball and swiveled to fire home a low shot in the 32nd minute, shortly after a collision forced an injured Pablo Mastroeni out of the game. Zusi’s third goal of the season extended SKC’s unbeaten run to nine games, and it could have included another victory had not Pickens tipped a deflected shot off the upright in stoppage time.
CHIVAS USA 2, SAN JOSE 0. This result left the teams tied with 21 points – tied for sixth place in the Western Conference -- and gave Chivas USA (5-7-6), which beat the Quakes (5-6-6) at Buck Shaw Stadium in April, a season sweep. Ben Zemanski and Nick LaBrocca scored second-half goals as Chivas USA won for only the second time in nine games.
Zemanski stung a shot from 30 yards that swerved sharply past keeper Jon Busch and under the crossbar in the 64th minute, and LaBrocca clinched it 20 minutes later. Michael Lahoud intercepted a poor clearance and played the ball to sub Francisco Mendoza, whose through ball sliced open the Quakes’ back line for LaBrocca to tap home his team-high fifth goal.