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D.C. United embarrasses defending champs
by Ridge Mahoney, August 24th, 2014 2:04AM

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[MLS: Saturday] D.C. United thumped defending champion Sporting Kansas City, 3-0, to take over top spot in the East. SKC is one of four teams a point behind D.C. in the overall standings, and one of them, Seattle, can grab a piece of first place or the whole enchilada when it plays at Portland Sunday. Another two points back in the Supporters’ Shield race is the Galaxy, a 2-0 winner over Vancouver though it is still fourth in the tightly bunched Western Conference.

New York, Columbus and New England posted important victories in their duel for postseason spots. Those wins pile more pressure on seventh-place Philadelphia, which hosts San Jose Sunday.



D.C. DOMINATION. Stunned by three first-half goals in seven minutes, SKC lost at home for only second time this year, but did so convincingly. Luis Silva assisted on goals by Fabian Espindola and Chris Rolfe, and Rolfe set up the third goal for Perry Kitchen as United won its eighth game of the last 12.

Despite taking a long trip to Nicaragua midweek for a Concacaf Champions League match, SKC started brightly, but it labored futilely once it fell behind. Espindola fired home his ninth goal from the top of the box in the 24th minute, and four minutes later, Rolfe got behind the SKC back line to score United's second.

Kitchen got the third by running onto a Rolfe pass and cutting past Aurelien Collin to score at the near post. SKC pushed forward in the second half without success; Graham Zusi’s shot off the bar was as close as it came to scoring.

Zusi was one of seven SKC starters who had started on Tuesday in Nicaragua. The next night, D.C. United opened its CCL campaign but, perhaps tellingly, rested its first string.



GALAXY GETS CLOSER. Edging toward that five-team logjam atop the overall standings is the Galaxy, which despite a draining 4-3 victory over Colorado on Wednesday looked the fresher and sharper team while downing Vancouver, 2-0, at StubHub Center. The Galaxy trails leader D.C. United by three points and the pursuers by two though it is fourth in the Western Conference.

Landon Donovan darted to the back post to fire a scuffed shot by Robbie Keane into the roof of the net in the fourth minute and Keane earned another bizarre assist when his miskick rolled perfectly for Marcelo Sarvas, whose backheel had set up a good chance for Keane, to collect and shoot low just inside the far post.

Midfielder Mauro Rosales, acquired earlier in the week in a trade with Chivas USA, played the second half but the Whitecaps attack continued to sputter. Costa Rican defender Kendall Waston debuted for Vancouver as a 79th minute substitute and earned a caution eight minutes later. Teammate Johnny Leveron was sent off in the final minute for fouling Alan Gordon from behind.

RED BULLS’ RECORD FALLS. For whatever reason, the prolific goalscoring of Bradley Wright-Phillips has earned little mention of the seasonal record of 27 goals held by Roy Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski, but maybe reaching the 20 mark with a pair against Montreal will trigger the discussion.

Wright-Phillips’ double pushed him past Juan Pablo Angel’s team record of 19 goals set in 2007, and cemented a victory set in motion by Thierry Henry’s two goals 14 minutes apart. Henry tied the game with a diving header from an Eric Alexander cross and put his team ahead with a sweet shot off the inside of the post. Wright-Phillips scored his 19th goal from an Henry assist and after Andres Romero narrowed the deficit to a goal, he tucked away a pass from Peguy Luyindula in the final minute.

Wright-Phillips needs seven goals in the last 10 games of the season to match the mark set by Lassiter in 1996 and tied by Wondolowski two seasons ago.



DYNAMO DENTED. The prospects of two-time champion and four-time MLS Cup finalist Houston to reach the playoffs this season dropped another notch with a 3-0 loss in Columbus to the surging Crew.

DaMarcus Beasley sat out the game with a strained hamstring and Houston nearly took the lead in the opening minutes when a mistake set up a chance for Will Bruin, but keeper Steve Clark swept the ball out of danger. Columbus took command and won going away with goals by Justin Meram, Adam Bedell and Aaron Schoenfeld to win its fourth game in the last six and move into a fourth-place tie with Toronto. Houston is ninth, six points out of the playoff tier.

FIRE SINGES TORONTO. Playing his first game for Chicago, forward Robbie Earnshaw scored against his former team as the Fire earned a 2-2 tie in Toronto.

TFC took an early lead on an own goal that caromed into the net off Fire defender Bakary Soumare, and though it had to labor for more than an hour to equalize, Chicago pulled even with Earnshaw’s goal in the 70th minute. TFC regained the lead with a goal by Gilberto, but the Fire rallied again to get the point on a 90th-minute strike by Quincy Amarikwa.

DROUGHT CONTINUES. A 1-0 loss at New England was Chivas USA’s fifth straight shutout and a much-needed three points for the Revs, who stayed just one point out of a playoff spot in sixth place.

A smooth passing move set up Lee Nguyen to score his team-high ninth goal in the 56th minute. Kelyn Rowe and Diago Kobayashi  exchanged passes on the right flank to get the ball to Nguyen, who from outside the penalty area curled a shot high into the net. The back line and keeper Bobby Shuttleworth nailed down his sixth shutout of the season.

MLS WEEK 24, Results:
Saturday, August 23

New York 4 Montreal 2.
MTL: Dilly Duka (Callum Mallace) 37
NY: Thierry Henry (Eric Alexander) 53
NY: Thierry Henry (Dax McCarty) 67
NY: Bradley Wright-Phillips (Thierry Henry) 74
MTL: Andres Romero (Wandrille Lefevre) 79
NY: Bradley Wright-Phillips (Peguy Luyindula) 91+
Att.: 17,891

Toronto FC 2 Chicago 2.

TOR: own goal 3
CHI: Robert Earnshaw (Grant Ward) 70
TOR: Gilberto (Luke Moore) 79
CHI: Quincy Amarikwa (Lovel Palmer) 90
Att.: 22,591

Columbus 3 Houston 0.

CLB: Justin Meram 35
CLB: Adam Bedell (Justin Meram) 59
CLB: Aaron Schoenfeld (Waylon Francis) 64
Att.: 17,551.

New England 1 Chivas USA 0.

NE: Lee Nguyen (Kelyn Rowe, Daigo Kobayashi) 56’
Att.: 16,427

Sporting KC 0 D.C. United 3.

DC: Fabian Espindola (Luis Silva) 24
DC: Chris Rolfe (Luis Silva) 28
DC: Perry Kitchen (Chris Rolfe) 31
Att.: 19,963.



LA Galaxy 2 Vancouver 0.
LA: Landon Donovan (Robbie Keane) 4
LA: Marcelo Sarvas (Robbie Keane) 32
Red Card: VAN -- Johnny Leveron 90.
Att.: 21,637.

Friday, August 22

FC Dallas 2 Real Salt Lake 1.
DAL: Je-Vaughn Watson (Michel) 50
DAL: Fabian Castillo (Tesho Akindele, Michel) 75
RSL: Olmes Garcia (Sebastian Velasquez) 90+1
Red Card: DAL -- Blas Perez 45.
Att.: 17,622.




Wednesday, August 20
Colorado 3 LA Galaxy 4.
COL: Marlon Hairston 14
COL: Edson Buddle (Dillon Powers) 17
LA: Robbie Keane (Dan Gargan) 20
COL: Marc Burch 30
LA: Omar Gonzalez (Landon Donovan) 55
LA: Alan Gordon (Omar Gonzalez) 68
LA: Landon Donovan (Robbie Keane) 80
Att.: 14,011.

Seattle 1 San Jose 1.
SEA: Chad Barrett (Obafemi Martins) 46
SJ: Chris Wondolowski (Cordell Cato) 65
Att.: 38,909.

MLS WEEK 24: Schedule:
Sunday, August 24
5 p.m. ET

Portland vs. Seattle, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
8 p.m. ET
Philadelphia vs. San Jose, UDN.

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
43 D.C. United 13-7-4 39/26
42 Sporting KC
12-7-6 36/26
33 Toronto FC 9-8-6 35/36
33 Columbus
8-8-9 35/32
31 New York 7-7-10 39/36
---------------------------------------
30 New England 9-12-3 31/36
27 Philadelphia 6-9-9 36/39
25 Houston 7-13-4 25/45
26 Chicago
4-6-14 31/37
17 Montreal 4-15-5 25/45

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
42 Seattle 13-7-3 39/31
42 FC Dallas 12-7-6 45/33
42 Real Salt Lake
11-5-9 39/30
40 LA Galaxy 11-5-7 41/26
33 Vancouver 7-5-12 33/31
-----------------------------------------
30 Colorado 8-11-6 37/39
30 Portland 7-7-10 39/39
25 San Jose 6-9-7 26/28
24 Chivas USA 6-12-6 21/37
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
20 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
16 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
14 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
13 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
11 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
11 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
10 Will Bruin, Houston
10 Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy
10 Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia
9 Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas
9 Federico Higuain, Columbus
9 Clint Dempsey
, Seattle
9 Fabian Espindola
, D.C. United
9 Lee Nguyen
, New England
9 Chris Wondolowski, San Jose

MLS WEEK 25: Schedule:
Wednesday, August 27

10:30 p.m. ET

LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United
Friday, August 29
8 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. Houston, NBCSN
Saturday, August 30
4 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. Colorado
5 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. New England
7:30 p.m. ET
Montreal vs. Columbus
8:30 p.m. ET
Chicago vs. FC Dallas
10:30 p.m. ET
San Jose vs. Real Salt Lake
Vancouver vs. Portland
Sunday, August 31
2:30 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. New York, NBCSN
8 p.m. ET
Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy, UDN



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