Sporting KC win over Galaxy caps big day for champs

[MLS: Week 19] Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 defeat of the Galaxy, rated as the marquee matchup of the seven MLS games played Saturday, capped a big day for the defending champions. Sporting  KC, which earlier in the day announced it had signed U.S. World Cup starters Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to contract extensions that will make them Designated Players, opened up a four-point lead atop the Eastern Conference and extended its winning streak to three games.

Benny Feilhaber, who had logged a goal and an assist in a midweek victory at Columbus by the same score, curled home a free kick in the 10th minute. the goal broke a Galaxy streak of not conceding a goal in the first 15 minutes that had reached 60 games. In the 61st minute, a saved Jacob Peterson header came back off the crossbar for Lawrence Olum to score his second goal of the season for Sporting KC, which is 5-0-1 in its last six games.

Robbie Keane led a determined Galaxy assault and drilled a half-volley off the crossbar before running onto a flicked header from 17-year-old Bradford Jamieson IV making his MLS debut to score in the 79th minute. But the Galaxy wasn’t able to extend its eight-game unbeaten streak.

DOUBLE DOSE OF DÉJÀ VU. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored again to re-confirm his qualifications to capture the Golden Boot, but the New York Red Bulls fell victim the late-game heroics that have identified San Jose the past few seasons and they had to settle for a 1-1 tie with the Earthquakes.

After being whistled for a handball that enabled Wright-Phillips to notch his league-leading 17th goal of the season from the penalty spot, “Bash Brother” Steven Lenhart atoned by controlling a deflected cross and smashing it into the net for his first goal of the season. The point snapped a four-game San Jose losing streak but still left it last in the Western Conference and 10 points out of the playoff tier.

DÉJÀ VU HERE, TOO. A week after blowing a two-goal lead in Toronto and losing, 4-2, Houston hosted TFC in a quick turnaround game and once again couldn’t manage an advantage.

Goals by Will Bruin and Gilles Barnes opened up a pair of one-goal leads in the first half that TFC matched with strikes by Gilberto and ex-Dynamo Dominic Oduro. Neither team could score in the second half and thus did Houston for the third straight game fail to win a game in which it had scored two goals. In its last eight games, it has lost six and tied two.

PENALTIES POST-MORTEM. Seldom is a penalty-kick call not disputed to some extent, but Fire head coach Frank Yallop went so far as to label the decision that went against his team in a 1-1 tie with Philly “the worst call I’ve ever seen.”

In stoppage time with the Fire clinging to a 1-0 lead, a shot ricocheted off Gonzalo Segares and referee Geoff Gamble pointed to the spot. Sebastien Le Toux, whose shot had yielded the call, converted to maintain his perfect record (12-for-12 for the Union) from the spot and give Philly interim head coach Jim Curtin, formerly one of the league’s better defenders during his tenure with the Fire, another point in his temp job. A Jeff Larentowicz header had opened the scoring in the 60th minute.

-- A questionable foul called on RSL defender Nat Borchers brought Darren Mattocks to the penalty spot, and he buried his third goal of the season in the 73rd minute. But RSL was able to rally with a goal eight minute later; Joao Plata ran onto a Kyle Beckerman flick to score to tie it, but though Luke Mulholland and Robbie Findley came close in the final minutes RSL was left with a 1-1 tie and a 1-4-3 mark in its last eight games.

-- The Columbus Crew rallied for two goals from Bernardo Anor to defeat the Montreal Impact, 2-1, in front of a sellout crowd of 21,112 at Crew Stadium. The victory -- the Crew’s first since May 24 -- pushed it to just a single point behind the Red Bulls for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. 

-- New England dropped its seventh game in a row as it lost at FC Dallas, 2-0, on goals by Andres Escobar and rookie Canadian Tesho Akindele (in stoppage time).

Friday ...

For the ninth time in 11 games, the Portland Timbers trailed at home. Six times they've come back to earn a draw. But for the first time they came back to win, getting late goals from Argentines Maxi Urruti and Diego Valeri to beat the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, and get three critical points in their bid to get back into the Western Conference playoff race.

MLS WEEK 19, Results:

Saturday, July 19

Sporting KC 2 Los Angeles 1
SKC: Benny Feilhaber 10
SKC: Lawrence Olum 61
LA: Robbie Keane (Bradford Jamieson IV) 79
Att.: 21,493.

New York 1 San Jose 1
NY: Bradley Wright-Phillips (pen.) 33
SJ: Steven Lenhart 85
Att.: 20,001.

Columbus 2 Montreal 1
MON: Marco di Vaio (Justin Mapp) 35
CLB: Bernardo Anor (Tony Tchani) 56
CLB: Bernardo Anor (Aaron Schoenfeld) 75
Att.: 21,112.

Chicago 1 Philadelphia 1
CHI: Jeff Larentowicz (Harrison Shipp) 60
PHL Sebastien Le Toux (pen.) 90+1
Att.: 17,460.

FC Dallas 2 New England 0
DAL: Andres Escobar 29
DAL: Tesho Akindele (Victor Ulloa) 90+1
Att.: 15,551.

Houston 2 Toronto FC 2
HOU: Will Bruin 11.
TFC: Gilberto (Justin Morrow, Dominic Oduro) 18
HOU: Gilles Barnes (Ricardo Clark) 26
TFC: Dominic Oduro (Luke Moore) 45+2
Att.: 20,069.

Real Salt Lake 1 Vancouver 1
VAN: Darren Mattocks (pen.) 73
RSL: Joao Plata (Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland) 81
Att.: 20,065.

Friday, July 18
Portland 2 Colorado 1.
COL: Deshorn Brown 16
POR: Maximiliano Urruti (Jack Jewsbury, Will Johnson) 72
POR: Diego Valeri (Diego Chara) 77
Att.: 20,814.

Wednesday, July 16
LA Galaxy 5 New England 1.
LA: Robbie Keane (Baggio Husidic) 10
LA: Gyasi Zardes (Robbie Keane, Stefan Ishizaki) 18
NE: Lee Nguyen pen. 38
LA: Gyasi Zardes (Robbie Keane) 48
LA: Stefan Ishizaki 75
LA: Robbie Keane 78
Red Cards: LA -- Dan Gargan 36; NE -- A.J. Soares 29.
Att.: 17,717.
Philadelphia 3 New York 1
PHL: Conor Casey (Andrew Wenger) 9.
PHL: Fred (Conor Casey, Sheanon Williams) 51.
NY: Bradley Wright-Phillips (Thierry Henry, Ambroise Oyongo) 60.
PHL: Sebastien Le Toux pen. 69.
Att.: 18,541.

Columbus 1 Sporting KC 2

SKC: C.J. Sapong (Benny Feilhaber) 42.
CLB: Igor Juliao (own goal) 69.
SKC: Benny Feilhaber (Jacob Peterson, Igor Juliao) 90+3.
Red Cards: SKC -- Aurelien Collin 59; CLB -- Wil Trapp 89.
Att.: 13,643.

Toronto FC 1 Vancouver 1
VAN: Darren Mattocks (Russell Teibert, Pedro Morales) 50.
TFC: Jermain Defoe pen. 64.
Att.: 22,591.

MLS WEEK 19, Schedule:
Sunday, July 20
8 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. Chivas USA, UDN

MLS Standings:
35 Sporting KC 10-5-5 29/18
31 D.C. United 9-5-4 26/19
26 Toronto FC 7-5-5 26/23
24 New York 5-6-9 32/31
23 New England 7-10-2 24/31
23 Philadelphia 5-8-8 33/35
23 Columbus 5-7-8 23/26
20 Chicago 3-4-11 26/28
19 Houston 5-11-4 22/40
14 Montreal 3-10-5 18/31

38 Seattle 12-4-2 35/24
29 FC Dallas 8-7-5 32/29
29 Real Salt Lake 7-4-8 28/25
27 LA Galaxy 7-4-6 26/16
27 Colorado 7-6-6 28/24
27 Vancouver 6-4-9 29/267
24 Portland 5-6-9 32/33
23 Chivas USA 6-7-5 20/27
17 San Jose 4-8-5 17/19
MLS: Leading Scorers
17+1+1 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
14 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
13 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
11+1 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
10+1+2 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
9 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
8 Obafemi Martins, Seattle
8+1+1 Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia
8+1 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
7+1 Will Bruin, Houston
7+1 Deshorn Brown, Colorado
7+1 Maximiliano Urruti, Portland
7 Jack McInerney, Montreal
7 Fabian Espindola, D.C. United
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