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Shorthanded goals jumble Western playoff race
by Ridge Mahoney, August 22nd, 2013 1:22AM

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[MLS REWIND: Week 25] Just when you thought the Western Conference playoff race couldn’t get any crazier, it did just that on a wild Wednesday night that featured three goals scored by teams down to 10 men.

FC Dallas moved into a tie for the fifth and final playoff spot by beating Chivas USA, 3-1, which also left it within six points of first-place Real Salt Lake after a stoppage-time goal earned RSL a 3-3 tie with Portland at JELD-WEN Field.

An 11-game FCD winless streak looked as if it might continue after former homegrown player Bryan de la Fuente, who returned to MLS this week, gave last-place Chivas USA the lead in the 43rd minute. But David Ferreira and Ramon Nunez came off the bench to spark a three-goal comeback despite the sending off of Jackson in the 81st minute.

Ten minutes before Jackson’s red card, Blas Perez had equalized. Five minutes after the dismissal Ferreira scored from a Nunez assist to put Dallas in front. Nunez clinched the win in the final minute to give FCD its first win since May 25.

TIMBERS SURGE, THEN WANE. For about seven minutes, the Timbers were leading Real Salt Lake, 3-2, a scoreline that also had them tied with RSL atop the Western Conference.

But then substitute Cole Grossman stabbed home a partial clearance in the third minute of stoppage time for his first MLS goal, and RSL, playing a man down following Yordany Alvarez’s red card in the 79th minute, held on to deny the Timbers a slab of first place.

The teams traded penalty kicks after Nat Borchers had scored from a scramble to match a goal in the 24th minute by Rodney Wallace. Javier Morales converted from the spot after Andrew Jean-Baptiste was adjudged to have fouled him in the penalty area, and Diego Valeri re-tied the game at 2-2 from a penalty kick whistled when RSL defender Brandon McDonald was penalized for handling the ball.



Seven minutes after Alvarez was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Diego Chara, substitute Kalif Alhassan smashed home a loose ball after RSL failed to clear a Wallace cross. Alhassan’s first league goal since early 2012 gave Portland a 3-2 lead it let slip when Grossman, a defensive replacement for Joao Plata in the 82nd minute, intercepted a partial clearance and drove a low shot into the net.

The point drew Portland into a second-place tie with Colorado. Both teams have 39 points, three behind leader RSL (42), which was playing without stars Nick Rimando (ill), Kyle Beckerman (suspended) and Alvaro Saborio (injured).

MLS RESULTS, Week 26:
Wednesday, August 21
Chivas USA 1 FC Dallas 3.
CHV: Bryan de la Fuente (Marco Delgado) 43
DAL: Blas Perez (Fabian Castillo, David Ferreira) 71
DAL: David Ferreira (Ramon Nunez) 86
DAL: Ramon Nunez (Blas Perez) 90
Red card: FC Dallas -- Jackson 61.
Att.: 7,071.



Wednesday, August 21
Portland 3 Real Salt Lake 3.
POR: Rodney Wallace (Diego Valeri) 24
RSL: Nat Borchers  38
RSL: Javier Morales (pen.) 43
POR: Diego Valeri (pen.) 57
POR: Kalif Alhassan 86
RSL: Cole Grossman 90+3
Red card: Real Salt Lake -- Yordany Alvarez 79.
Att.: 20,674.

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 26:
Friday, August 23
8:30 pm ET
Chicago vs. Sporting KC, NBCSN

Saturday, August 24
7 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Toronto FC
7 pm ET
Montreal vs. Houston
9 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. San Jose
9 pm ET
Vancouver vs. LA Galaxy
9:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus

Sunday, August 25
5 pm ET
Chivas USA vs. New York, UniMas
7:30 pm ET
New England vs. Philadelphia
10 pm ET
Seattle vs. Portland, ESPN2
------------------------------------------------------------
MLS STANDINGS:
Eastern Conference:
PTS TEAM W-L-T +/-

39 Sporting KC 11-8-6 36/25
39 New York 11-8-6 36/31
38 Montreal 11-7-5 36/35
38 Philadelphia 10-7-8 36/32
36 Houston 10-7-6 29/24
-----------------------------
33 New England 9-8-6 29/23
31 Chicago 9-10-4 29/34
29 Columbus 8-11-5 29/30
20 Toronto FC 4-12-8 21/33
13 D.C. United 3-18-4 14/40

Western Conference:
PTS TEAM W-L-T +/-

42 Real Salt Lake 12-8-6 44/33
39 Colorado 10-7-9 33/27
39 Portland 9-3-12 37/25
37 LA Galaxy 11-9-4 39/32
36 Vancouver 10-8-6 37/31
-------------------------------
36 FC Dallas 9-7-9 34/36
34 Seattle 10-8-4 30/26
33 San Jose 9-10-6 25/35
18 Chivas USA 4-14-6 21/43
------------------------------------------------------------
MLS LEADING SCORERS:
G PLAYER (TEAM)
14 Camilo (Vancouver)
14 Mike Magee (Los Angeles/Chicago)
13 Marco Di Vaio (Montreal)
10 Robbie Keane (Los Angeles)
10 Jack McInerney (Philadelphia)
9+1 Blas Perez (FC Dallas)
9 Federico Higuain (Columbus)
9 Conor Casey (Philadelphia)
9 Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
9 Dominic Oduro (Columbus)
9 Claudio Bieler (Sporting KC)


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