Houston back on top; Toronto fails even against Salt Lake's 10

Houston won and Chivas USA tied, so the defending champion Dynamo is back in first place; Kansas City stuns Columbus with two goals in stoppage time; New England tops Dallas in a preview of the U.S. Open Cup; Colorado and Chicago rally to earn ties despite being down to 10 men; and the Toronto barren run continues. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney reports on all of the weekend's MLS action ...

LA UNBELIEVABLE. As hard as it is to believe things are getting worse for the Galaxy, they are.

Ryan Cochrane, Dwayne DeRosario and Ricardo Clark scored as Houston (13-7-6) hit the three-goal mark for the seventh time this season and extended its unbeaten mark to five while regaining top spot in the Western Conference with a 3-1 win over the Galaxy.

Los Angeles (4-13-5) lost its eighth game in the last nine.

The teams traded goals five minutes apart on corner kicks in the first half. Ryan Cochrane jabbed a deflected Richard Mulrooney corner kick high into the net from a few yards for just his second goal in 81 MLS games.

Alan Gordon, who's found his scoring touch as the Galaxy season has unraveled, buried a powerful header from a Landon Donovan corner to tie the score in the 26th minute.

Just seconds into the second half, Brian Mullan stripped the ball away from Mike Randolph and drove toward the penalty area. Randolph grabbed Mullan's jersey outside the box but as the Dynamo midfielder charged ahead Randolph held tightly and finally dragged him down well inside the area. DeRosario sent Cannon the wrong way to make it 2-1.

Dynamo keeper Pat Onstad saved a Gavin Glinton header and Nate Jaqua hit the post at the other end before yet another Galaxy defensive howler ended the suspense. Clark fed the ball to Brian Ching, whose return pass caught both defender Ty Harden and keeper Joe Cannon napping. Clark held off Pete Vagenas to stroke the ball just inside the post.

MILE HIGH DRAMA. Colin Clark's goal saved a point for Colorado, which lost defender Facundo Erpen to a red card in the 12th minute when he tripped Laurent Merlin as the Chivas USA attacker, in alone, was about to shoot. Sacha Kljestan converted the penalty kick for his fourth goal of 2007 in the 1-1 tie.

Coach Fernando Clavijo had to reshuffle his defense again 10 minutes later when Mike Petke took a shot to the face and was replaced by Stephen Keel.

Chivas USA failed to take advantage, and Jovan Kirovski nearly equalized in the last minute of the first half but he steered a Terry Cooke serve just wide.

Cooke curled a free kick right to keeper Bouna Coundoul 15 minutes into the second half and after another 10 minutes of play, with lightning flashing nearby, referee Richard Heron cleared the field.

The 45-minute delay helped the 10-man Rapids regain their wind, and they tied the game in the 76th minute on a counter. Cooke's ball up the wing found Conor Casey and Colin Clark ran onto Casey's square pass to chip his shot over Brad Guzan.

Both teams had chances in the final minutes but settled for the point.

Chivas USA (13-6-5) is a point behind conference leader Houston; Colorado (7-10-8) is a point behind Chicago, which sits in eighth place overall.

KANSAS CITY CLASSIC. There's nothing more dramatic in a close game than a stoppage-time goal, unless there's another one.

Trailing, 2-1, to Columbus, the Wizards tied the game with a penalty kick, then stormed up field to score the winner and beat Columbus, 3-2, to widen the gap between it and eighth-place Chicago to six points.

Scott Sealy nailed a header from an Eloy Colombano cross for the winner after he'd opened the scoring with a spectacular free kick in the 31st minute.

Alejandro Moreno tied it for Columbus with his fifth goal of the year midway through the second half and two minutes later Marcos

Gonzalez touched on Eddie Gaven's cross for Andy Herron to score the go-ahead goal.

Columbus held out until stoppage time. In the 93rd minute, Jimmy Conrad headed a ball down and Ezra Hendrickson's partial clearance was intercepted by Kerry Zavagnin, who touched the ball past Stefan Miglioranzi's challenge and went down though the contact was slight. Eddie Johnson's penalty kick hit the inside of the post but rebounded into the net.

Kansas City regained possession after the kickoff. Johnson played the ball wide to Colombano, and he whipped a near-post cross that Sealy drilled into the top corner to lift Kansas City (10-9-6) out of a three-game winless streak.

The Crew (6-9-10) has not won in its last seven games.

REVS ROMP. Injuries have limited Pat Noonan to just 16 starts this year, but when he's healthy, his poise and vision raise the potent New England attack to yet another level.

Noonan scored twice to offset a pair of Carlos Ruiz goals as the Revs (13-6-6) downed Dallas, 4-2, to keep pace with D.C. in the Eastern Conference. New England trails D.C. by four points.

Noonan and Ruiz traded goals in the first half before the Revs scored twice more through Noonan and Steve Ralston, who also earned a pair of assists to raise his all-time MLS record to 118.

Khano Smith, who'd assisted on Noonan's first goal, scored in the final minute following a second strike from Ruiz that had closed the gap to 3-2.

Dallas (12-9-3) lost its third game out of the last four and its goal difference (minus-3) is the worst of all eight teams currently in the playoff bracket except for Chicago, which plays in Dallas Thursday.

New England plays at New York Saturday and then hosts Colorado before heading to Dallas for the Open Cup final Oct. 3.

FIRE STORMS BACK. Chicago attacker Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored from the penalty spot and drove a free kick into the goalmouth that Gonzalo Segares headed home for the equalizer in a 2-2 tie with Red Bull New York.

Dave van den Bergh and Juan Pablo Angel scored goals to give New York (11-10-4) a pair of leads but both times the Fire came back.

Van den Bergh's shot ricocheted off two opponents and into the net 10 minutes into the match; Blanco converted a penalty awarded when Chris Leitch collided with Chad Barrett as he went for a Blanco cross nine minutes into the second half.

Angel replied from the penalty spot in the 69th minute when defender Wilman Conde deflected a corner kick with his upraised arm and went off with his second caution.

But the 10-man Fire swept upfield after the ensuing kickoff and Segares knifed through a crowded goalmouth to steer Blanco's serve past keeper Ronald Wattereus, whose excellent saves had repelled several Fire attacks.

John Wolyniec and Mike Magee came on as subs but New York couldn't exploit the man advantage. Chicago (8-10-6) retained its one-point lead over Colorado for the eighth playoff spot.

REAL DEPRESSING. TFC launched 24 shots and put half them on frame, but the only numbers that matter to Coach Mo Johnston and his players are 822, as in consecutive minutes, and zero, as in goals scored in that span. Also 55, the number of minutes TFC was up a man following the dismissal of Real Salt Lake midfielder Fabian Espindola.

Nothing, not even Jeff Cunningham's third appearance in two and a half months, could inspire TFC to score a goal.

Remember the four-game goalless streak at the start of the season that had the BMO faithful singing, "All we are saying is, is give us a goal?" They went hoarse imploring their team to score.

Nick Rimando put on a show in the RSL nets, starting in the sixth minute with a double-save on Collin Samuel. Then he snuffed Marvell Wynne and Todd Dunivant before Espindola took exception to Wynne's angry reaction to a Carey Talley tackle and threw an elbow at Wynne that triggered a brief melee and a red card from referee Tim Weyland in the 35th minute.

Rimando saved again from Samuel in the second half and finished with 12 saves as RSL (4-13-7), playing the last stop on a four-game road swing, stubbornly held off TFC (5-13-6) and got the point while taking only five shots.

Sept. 15 in Toronto
Toronto FC 0 Real Salt Lake 0.

Toronto FC - Stamatopoulos, Boyens, Dunivant, Marshall, Brennan, Pozniak (Canizalez, 59), Edu, Robinson, Wynne (Braz, 46), Lombardo (Cunningham, 68), Samuel.
Real Salt Lake - Rimando, Lancos, Mantilla, Pope, Wingert, Talley, Beckerman, Morales (Kotschau, 47), Espindola, Brown (Findley, 62), Eskandarian (Williams, 71).
Yellow Cards: Toronto FC - Marshall 22, Boyens 31, Braz 67; Real Salt Lake - Morales 17, Eskandarian 48, Mantilla 93+.
Red card: Real Salt Lake - Espindola 35.
Referee: Tim Weyland.
Att.: 20,098.

Sept. 15 in Foxboro, Mass.
New England 4 FC Dallas 2.
Goals: Noonan (Smith, Ralston) 29, Noonan (Ralston, Larentowicz) 65, Ralston 78, Smith 90; Ruiz (McCarty) 35, Ruiz (Oduro) 84.
New England - Reis, Riley, John, Parkhurst, Ralston, Larentowicz, Dorman, Joseph, Smith, Twellman, Noonan (Cristman, 79).
FC Dallas - Sala, Goodson, Moor, Pitchkolan, Wagenfuhr (Oduro, 83), Ricchetti, Wallace (Alvarez, 69), Denilson, McCarty, Thompson, Ruiz.
Yellow Cards: New England - Cristman 83, Joseph 86, Reis 88; FC Dallas - Ruiz 57.
Referee: Kevin Stott.
Att.: 15,289.

Sept. 15 in Kansas City
Kansas City 3 Columbus 2
. Goals: Sealy 31, Johnson pen. 93+, Sealy (Colombano, Johnson) 94+; Moreno 65, Herron (Gonzalez, Gaven) 67.
Kansas City - Hartman, Jewsbury (Colombano, 77), Conrad, Garcia, Burciaga Jr., Arnaud, Marinelli, Zavagnin, Morsink (Victorine, 66), Sealy, Johnson.
Columbus - Hesmer, Hendrickson, Gonzalez, Ward, Gaven, Grabavoy, O'Rourke, Oughton, Thomas (Herron, 65), Garey (Miglioranzi, 84), Moreno.
Yellow Cards: Kansas City - Morsink 45; Columbus - Gaven 36, Gonzalez 48, Oughton 72, Hesmer 87.
Referee: Andrew Chapin.
Att.: 10,217.

Sept. 15 in Bridgeview, Ill.
Chicago 2 New York 2.
Goals: Blanco pen. 54, Segares (Blanco) 70; van den Bergh 10, Angel pen. 69.
Chicago - Pickens, Brown, Conde, Segares, Pause, Robinson, Rolfe, Blanco, Gutierrez, Barrett (Carr, 87), Wanchope.
New York - Waterreus, Leitch, Parke, Stammler, van den Bergh, Richards, Kovalenko (Magee, 75), Reyna, Vide (Freeman, 94+), Angel, Doe (Wolyniec, 79).
Yellow Cards: Chicago - Conde 44, Blanco 93+; New York - Reyna 1, van den Bergh 34, Kovalenko 46+.
Red Card: Chicago - Conde 67.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo.
Att.: 20,586.

Sept. 16 in Commerce City, Colo.
Colorado 1 Chivas USA 1.
Goals: Clark (Casey, Cooke) 76; Kljestan pen. 13.
Colorado - Coundoul, Sanneh Ihemelu, Petke (Keel, 23), Erpen, Mastroeni, Cooke, Kirovski (Cancela, 79), Clark, Ballouchy (Peterson, 54), Casey.
Chivas USA - Guzan, Vaughn (Hamilton, 79), Hernandez, Thomas, Bornstein, Marsch, Kljestan, Nagamura, Mendoza, Merlin (Galindo, 68), Nunez (Zotinca, 63).
Yellow Cards: Colorado - Mastroeni 41; Chivas USA - Marsch 60.
Red Card: Colorado - Erpen 12.
Referee: Richard Heron.
Att.: 14,503.

Sept. 16 in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles 1 Houston 3.
Goals: Gordon (Donovan) 26; Cochrane (De Rosario, Mulrooney) 21,De Rosario pen. 47, Clark 73.
Los Angeles - Cannon, Klein, Harden, Roberts, Randolph, Jones, Donovan, Vagenas (Pavon, 79), Martino, Glinton (Gray, 64), Gordon (Buddle, 69).
Houston - Onstad, Mulrooney, Cochrane (Waibel, 91+), Robinson, Barrett, Mullan (Ianni, 48), Clark, De Rosario, Ashe, Jaqua, Ngwenya (Ching, 42).
Yellow Cards: Los Angeles - Randolph 34, Vagenas 76; Houston - Robinson 44, Cochrane 47+, Mullan 48+.
Referee: Brian Hall.
Att.: 25,217.


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