RSL takes over West lead, SKC still leads East

[MLS: Saturday] Real Salt Lake took over first place in the Western Conference by beating previous leader Seattle, 2-1, defending champ and Eastern leader Sporting Kansas City handed Toronto FC a harsh 4-1 lesson, and Columbus strengthened its case for a playoff spot by smacking the Galaxy. Another one of the league's top defenses fell apart as San Jose dropped a 5-0 decision -- at home -- to rampaging FC Dallas.

COOL HAND LUKE. The famed RSL midfielder triangle occasionally must do without playmaker Javier Morales and while former U.S. under-20 Luis Gil often takes that slot in his place, the consistent production of Englishman Luke Mulholland in a wide position continues.

For the second straight week, Mulholland set up a goal for Joao Plata to open the scoring, and four minutes later chased a ball that deflected into the Seattle net for the winner in a 2-1 victory that vaulted RSL over the Sounders into first place.

Somehow, the 5-foot-2 Plata found enough room to head home Mulholland’s free kick, and shortly thereafter Gil aimed a ball to Mulholland that Osvaldo Alonso knocked into his own net. Seattle cut the deficit in half during a scramble when Chad Barrett exploited a mixup between Chris Wingert and Chris Schuler to score after a Clint Dempsey attempt had been saved and a Andy Rose shot against the post.

Since Seattle beat RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium in the 2012 playoffs, the home team has won each of the last five games. Seattle won the first two meetings this season at CenturyLink Field by combined scores of 6-0.

DWYER DELIVERS. Getting a good result at Sporting Park is a tough task, and SKC’s intense early pressure produced a pair of penalty kicks that were converted by Dom Dwyer in a 4-1 defeat of Toronto FC.

Dwyer’s 15th and 16th goals of the season opened a lead that Gilberto cut in half with his fifth goal but SKC won going away thanks to fine strike from distance by Soony Saad, who also assisted on the final goal by sub C.J. Sapong.

SKC’s victory pulled it even with RSL in the Supporters’ Shield race. Both teams have 42 points in 24 games.

CREW CRUSHES GALAXY. Justin Meram scored midway through the first half and assisted on another goal 10 minutes later to give Columbus all the goals it would need to embarrass the Galaxy, 4-1.  Keeper Steve Clark repelled several attacks before Gyasi Zardes got the Galaxy on the board early in the second half, but the gaps left in the back line as the visitor pressed for the equalizer were exploited by counterattack goals from Ben Speas and Giancarlo Gonzalez.

The Crew’s third victory in the last five games bumped it into the playoff tier. It is fourth with 30 points, two points ahead of the idle Red Bulls. The Galaxy, which came into the game with MLS's best defense, lost for just the second time in its last 13 games.

FC DALLAS ON FIRE. Despite a slew of injuries -- young Argentine DP Mauro Diaz came out at halftime of Tuesday's Open Cup match against Philadelphia and is again sidelined -- nothing can stop FC Dallas on the MLS front.

San Jose came into Saturday night's game with the second best defense in MLS, but Dallas tore the Quakes apart, getting three goals from rookie Tesho Akindele and two goals and an assist from Fabian Castillo.

FCD has three wins in its last three games, five wins and a tie in its last six games and a unbeaten streak that has reached nine games.

REVS REGRESSING. New England’s slump continued with a 1-1 tie against Portland that it led through a Charlie Davies strike but was dragged back in disquieting circumstances.

Defender Liam Ridgewell intercepted a ball in the middle third and slalomed past a few challenges to shoot home his first MLS goal since arriving in June. Davies goal was his second is as many games but New England has just one win and one tie in its last 11 matches.

FIRE FIZZLES.  The Impact won’t tie the D.C. United record for fewest goals in a season. A 1-0 defeat of Chicago, just its fourth victory of the season, came courtesy of a late Marco Di Vaio goal. Maxim Tissot and Eric Miller worked a combination on the left flank to generate a ball that Di Vaio banged into the net to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Recently signed Designated Player Ignacio Piatti debuted for Montreal and played the first 53 minutes before being replaced by Andres Romero. Chicago hasn’t scored more than one goal in its last nine league matches and is in ninth place, yet just three points out of a playoff spot.

MLS WEEK 23: Results:
Real Salt Lake 2 Seattle 1.
RSL: Joao Plata (Luke Mulholland) 53.
RSL: own goal 57.
SEA: Chad Barrett 72.
Att: 20,483.

Columbus 4 LA Galaxy 1.
CLB: Justin Meram (Tony Tchani) 23.
CLB: Ethan Finlay (Justin Meram) 33.
LA: Gyasi Zardes (Dan Gargan, Robbie Keane) 49.
CLB: Ben Speas (Ethan Finlay) 75.
CLB: Giancarlo Gonzalez (Federico Higuain) 84.
Att.: 20,729.

Montreal 1 Chicago 0.
MTL: Marco Di Vaio 84.
Att.: 17,132.

New England 1 Portland 1.
NE: Charlie Davies (Diego Fagundez) 27.
POR: Liam Ridgewell 65.
Att.: 16,409.

Sporting KC 4 Toronto FC 1.
SKC: Dom Dwyer (pen.) 18.
SKC: Dom Dwyer (pen.) 33.
TFC: Gilberto (Dominic Oduro, Collen Warner) 45+1.
SKC: Soony Saad 64.
SKC: C.J. Sapong (Soony Saad, Graham Zusi) 77.
Att.: 20,730.

San Jose 0 FC Dallas 5.
DAL: Fabian Castillo 30
DAL: Tesho Akindele (Fabian Castillo) 43
DAL: Tesho Akindele 58
DAL: Fabian Castillo (Blas Perez) 74
DAL: Tesho Akindele 86
Att.: 10,525.

Chivas USA 0 Vancouver 0.
Att.: 4,215.

Friday, August 15
Houston 2 Philadelphia 0.
HOU: Will Bruin (Giles Barnes, Brad Davis) 51
HOU: own goal 90
Att.: 20,283.

MLS WEEK 23: Schedule:
Sunday, August 17
8 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Colorado, UDN

MLS Standings:
42 Sporting KC 12-6-6 36/23
37 D.C. United 11-7-4 32/24
32 Toronto FC 9-8-5 33/34
30 Columbus
7-8-9 32/32
28 New York 6-7-10 35/34
27 New England 8-12-3 30/36
27 Philadelphia 6-9-9 36/39
25 Houston 7-12-4 25/42
25 Chicago
4-6-13 29/35
17 Montreal 4-14-5 23/41

42 Real Salt Lake
11-4-9 38/28
41 Seattle
13-7-2 38/30
39 FC Dallas 11-7-6 43/32
34 LA Galaxy 9-5-7 35/23
33 Vancouver 7-4-12 33/29
30 Colorado 8-9-6 32/31
30 Portland 7-7-10 39/39
24 San Jose 6-9-6 25/27
24 Chivas USA 6-11-6 21/36
MLS: Leading Scorers
18 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
16+2 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
14 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
12 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
11 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
11+1 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
10+1 Will Bruin, Houston
10+1 Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy
10 Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia
9 Federico Higuain, Columbus
9 Clint Dempsey
, Seattle

MLS WEEK 24: Results:
Wednesday, August 20

9 p.m. ET
Colorado vs. LA Galaxy
10 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. San Jose
Friday, August 22
9 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake, NBCSN
Saturday, August 23
7 p.m. ET
New York vs. Montreal
Toronto FC vs. Chicago
7:30 p.m. ET
Columbus vs. Houston
New England vs. Chivas USA
8:30 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. D.C. United
10:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver
Sunday, August 24
5 p.m. ET
Portland vs. Seattle, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
8 p.m. ET
Philadelphia vs. San Jose, UDN

MLS WEEK 25: Results:
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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