[MLS: Saturday] Three teams used an aggressive formula of scoring early and quickly adding goals to post important victories. A fourth winning team also scored within the first 12 minutes on a night that saw Western Conference leader Seattle knocked off its perch for at least one day and Philadelphia and Portland move into ties for the final playoff spot in their respective conferences.
OF ZEROES. Once it had drilled three goals into the D.C. United net well before the halftime whistle, RSL’s players focused successfully on a record-breaking shutout for Nick Rimando. RSL led, 3-0, after 24 minutes on a goal by Joao Plata and two by defender Chris Schuler, who matched the total he’d recorded in his previous 67 MLS appearances.
By blanking D.C. United the rest of the way, Rimando recorded his 113th career shutout, which breaks the record he’d shared with Kevin Hartman. Rimando posted 29 of those shutouts from 2002 to 2006 with D.C. United before being traded to RSL, with which he won MLS Cup 2009 in a penalty-kick shootout. He started his MLS career with the defunct Miami Fusion in 2000.
Two of RSL’s goals came on headers, which isn’t surprising in the case of Schuler, a 6-foot-4 beast who nailed home a Javier Morales corner kick for one of his two goals. Plata is just 5-foot-2, yet raced into a wide-open space to nod home a cross from Luke Mulholland in the 10th minute for his team-leading 10th goal of the season. Schuler got the second goal on a low serve for Morales after D.C. had failed to clear a corner kick.
D.C., which was missing midfielder Perry Kitchen to suspension, squandered a chance to take over first place in the Eastern Conference. By winning, RSL moved a point ahead of previous Western leader Seattle, which plays Houston on Sunday.
DALLAS FAST OFF THE MARK. Matt Hedges and Michel scored two minutes apart; with a 2-0 lead after 11 minutes FCD held off a Colorado team that launched 24 shots in a 3-1 win. Hedges scored after the Rapids failed to clear a cross from Michel, who then converted a penalty kick awarded when Marvell Wynne fouled Tesho Akindele in the penalty area.
Hedges helped stave off Colorado’s efforts to get back in the game with a goal line stop of a Jose Mari shot early in the second half, and four minutes later a Michel cross meandered to the far post for Fabian Castillo to bang into the net. Gabriel Torres put away a late penalty kick to snap a 281-minute Rapids goalless streak.
FCD is unbeaten in eight games in a row while the Rapids have lost three straight. The Dallas streak began June 7 with a 3-2 defeat of Colorado and by posting another such win head coach Oscar Pareja, who left the Rapids in December, has won both games against his former team.
TWO FOR LE TOUX. A crunching tackle by Krzysztof Krol marred an otherwise fine night for Sebastien Le Toux, who scored both of Philadelphia’s goals in a 2-1 defeat of Montreal that edged the Union into fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
Le Toux needed several minutes of attention before getting to his feet and hobbling off the field in the final minutes. Krol may have been taking out his frustrations on Le Toux, who twice burned the Impact defender to score his ninth and 10th goals of the season. A mixup between Krol and keeper Troy Perkins yielded a loose ball that Le Toux slotted home in the 12th minute, and early in the second half he veered into the middle past Krol to slide a shot that eluded Perkins’ attempted kick save.
Maxim Tissot scored for Montreal to cut the lead in half but a Union defense bolstered by the return of Colombian centerback Carlos Valdes, who went on a 18-month loan to prepare himself for the World Cup, held on to extend Philly’s unbeaten streak to five games. Montreal lost its seventh straight league match.
TORONTO GOES THIRD. The Columbus Crew could have taken over third place in the Eastern Conference by beating Toronto FC at home, but instead the visitor pulled out a 3-2 see-saw victory.
Luke Moore set up the first two TFC goals for Gilberto and Jonathan Osorio and scored the winner himself in the 84th minute after twice Columbus had rallied to tie through Federico Higuain and Justin Meram.
The loss leaves Columbus with 27 points and tied with the Union for fifth place, but Philly holds the tiebreaker advantage.
TIMBERS TOUCH PLAYOFF TIER. Portland caught Colorado for fifth place in the Western Conference, only trailing the Rapids by virtue of the first tiebreaker (total wins), and dented the playoff hopes of Chivas USA by winning, 2-0, at Providence Park. Diego Valeri scored in the 10th minute -- his fourth goal in as many games -- Rodney Wallace arrived late in the penalty area to net the second goal before halftime.
Valeri picked up the ball in the center circle and ran it upfield before curling home a shot from the top of the penalty arc. Tough work by Fanendo Adi set up the second goal; he held off a tackler long enough to flick a ball that Wallace smacked into the net.
Portland has won three of the last four and at least recently has escaped a rut of ties. Chivas USA lost its fourth in a row and is back in last place.
MLS WEEK 22, Results:
Saturday, August 9
Philadelphia 2 Montreal 1.
PHI: Sebastien Le Toux 12
PHI: Sebastien Le Toux (Andrew Wenger) 63
MTL: Maxim Tissot (Andres Romero) 79
Columbus 2 Toronto FC
TFC: Gilberto (Luke Moore) 43
CLB: Federico Higuain (pen.) 45+
TFC: Jonathan Osorio 2 (Luke Moore) 59
CLB: Justin Meram 81
TFC: Luke Moore (Collen Warner) 84
FC Dallas 3 Colorado 1.
DAL: Matt Hedges 9
DAL: Michel pen. 11
DAL: Fabian Castillo 55
COL: Gabriel Torres pen. 86
Real Salt Lake 3 D.C. United 0.
RSL: Joao Plata (Luke Mulholland) 11
RSL: Chris Schuler (Javier Morales) 13
RSL: Chris Schuler (Javier Morales) 24
Portland 2 Chivas USA 0.
POR: Diego Valeri (Diego Chara) 10
POR: Rodney Wallace (Fanendo Adi) 39
Friday, August 8
LA Galaxy 2 San Jose 2.
SJ: Chris Wondolowski 18
LA: Gyasi Zardes 29
SJ: Matias Perez Garcia (Chris Wondolowski, Atiba Harris) 31
LA: Omar Gonzalez (Stefan Ishizaki) 49
MLS WEEK 22, Schedule:
Sunday, August 10
8 pm ET
Chicago vs. New York, UDN
Vancouver vs. Sporting KC
10:30 pm ET
Seattle vs. Houston, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
MLS WEEK 23: Schedule:
Friday, August 15
9 pm ET
Houston vs. Philadelphia, NBCSN
Saturday, August 16
2:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle, NBCSN
6:30 pm ET
Montreal vs. Chicago
7:30 pm ET
Columbus vs. LA Galaxy
New England vs. Portland
8:30 pm ET
Sporting KC vs. Toronto FC
10:30 pm ET
Chivas USA vs. Vancouver
San Jose vs. FC Dallas
Sunday, August 17
8 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Colorado, UDN