NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 0-3 COLUMBUS CREW
Columbus made sure of their play-off place by taking advantage of a New England defence shorn of regular pairing Ryan Cochrane and AJ Soares.
Bobby Shuttleworth came to his defenders’ rescue early on by intercepting an Emilio Renteria cross, but the goalkeeper was powerless when Darrius Barnes failed to deal with a bouncing ball and Andres Mendoza volleyed in low at the near post.
Milton Caraglio almost fired in an instant equaliser, but Will Hesmer reacted superbly to the Argentine’s deflected shot, changing direction to kick the ball to safety.
Robert Warzycha’s side made sure of the points in a three-minute second-half spell. On the hour mark Dilly Duka drilled home his first ever MLS goal after getting the better of Kevin Alston, and barely two minutes later Mendoza made it three when he arrived at pace to rifle home Renteria’s driven cross.
DC UNITED 1-2 CHICAGO FIRE
DC United snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and with it saw their play-off hopes all but extinguished by a fourth successive reverse.
Bill Hamid had done well to keep the hosts level in the first half, making a big save from Marco Pappa in the 24th minute and then snatching the ball away from Pappa 15 minutes later after almost spilling a Dominic Oduro shot into the path of the Guatemalan.
That looked like it would be crucial when, just one minute from the end of the 90, Santino Quaranta went down under a Gonzalo Segares challenge and Dwayne De Rosario netted his 15th goal of the season from the penalty spot.
But one minute into stoppage time Sebastian Grazzini curled in an equaliser which seemed to put Ben Olsen’s men in panic mode.
And sure enough, with 94 minutes on the clock, Orr Barouch dinked a delicate ball over the top and Segares made up for his earlier error by beating Hamid to the loose ball and knocking it across where Diego Chaves was waiting to slide in for a dramatic late winner.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS 2-1 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The more than 64,000 fans who crowded into CenturyLink Field for Kasey Keller’s last home MLS game were treated to a rousing late comeback from Seattle.
After the hosts were denied an early penalty for what looked like a trip on Fredy Montero by Jason Hernandez, the visitors took a shock lead, although the identity of the goalscorer was less of a shock as Chris Wondolowski latched onto Rafael Baca’s cushioned pass to fire home his 15th goal of the season.
Keller then earned his corn as the Quakes pushed for a second, first denying Wondolowski just before the break, and then pulling of a double save in the 65th minute from Wondo and Khari Stephenson.
With eight minutes remaining Sammy Ochoa timed his run perfectly to reach a beautiful ball over the top from the returning Mauro Rosales and fire home off the post.
And just three minutes from time, following persistence from Lamar Neagle on the edge of the San Jose box, Neagle’s touch fell to Sounders top-scorer Fredy Montero who composed himself and poked home his 12th of the campaign.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 2-0 NEW YORK RED BULLS
A red card for Thierry Henry left New York’s play-off place in jeopardy, but Sporting are not complaining after the three points took them back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Aurelien Collin and Dane Richards exchanged early efforts before Henry needlessly kneed a prone Roger Espinoza in the back on 28 minutes. Henry protested his innocence, but referee Kevin Stott ruled that the contact was intentional and brandished the red card.
The hosts made their man advantage count in the second half, as New York failed to deal with a Graham Zusi corner and Julio Cesar nodded down for Teal Bunbury to volley home from the edge of the box.
Substitute and leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, CJ Sapong, doubled the lead 16 minutes from time, hooking in a volley from close range after another Zusi dead-ball was headed goalward by Matt Besler.
PHILADELPHIA UNION 1-1 TORONTO FC
Philadelphia will play in the MLS post-season for the first time after finishing the campaign with just one defeat at PPL Park.
Sheanon Williams tested Milos Kocic in the third minute, and shortly afterwards Michael Farfan should have at least found the target from a low Justin Mapp cutback.
Freddy Adu went close with a free-kick as the hosts pushed for a half-time lead, and that lead was given to them by top scorer Sebastien Le Toux, the Frenchman curling in his 11th of the season two minutes before the break.
Toronto started the second half the stronger and got their reward on 57 minutes when Ryan Johnson deftly flicked home a Nick Soolsma cross to equalise.
Smart reactions from Kocic stopped Williams restoring the home lead immediately, and Jack McInerney and Le Toux both went close to a winner, but in the end a point was enough for the Union to move into post-season for what will surely be the best defensive record in the east.
FC DALLAS 2-0 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
Dallas brought Vancouver’s mini-revival to an end with a professional performance at Pizza Hut Park.
The opener was classic counter-attacking play, Kevin Hartman cutting out a Whitecaps attack with a long clearance downfield, which was flicked on by Brek Shea for Marvin Chavez to race through and curl home.
Chavez had a second ruled out for offside early in the second half, but Dallas didn’t have to wait long to double their lead as Shea lashed home following confusion in the away penalty area.
Fabian Castillo missed a good chance to make it three when he dragged wide with his weaker left foot, but two goals were more than enough, and Hartman snuffed out any danger to his clean sheet by denying Jordan Harvey late on.
PORTLAND TIMBERS 0-2 HOUSTON DYNAMO (Friday)
Portland may well need maximum points from their remaining two games after slipping to defeat against Houston, with the main talking point the decision of referee Baldomero Toledo to let Danny Cruz stay on the pitch.
Cruz caught former team-mate Mike Chabala with an elbow in the 51st minute but Toledo only showed him a yellow card, and just seven minutes later the midfielder found the top corner from 30 yards to give the visitors an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Earlier Andre Hainault had opened the scoring, heading in Brad Davis’ free-kick at the near post to earn his team-mate a league-leading 15th assist of the season.
Portland rallied after going two behind, but Tally Hall’s brilliant reaction save spared Carlo Costly’s blushes after the striker almost scored an own goal, and when David Horst headed against the post in stoppage time the game was already lost.
COLORADO RAPIDS 0-0 REAL SALT LAKE (Friday)
Colorado will have to play their way into the Conference Semi-finals after failure to beat their fierce rivals meant the MLS Cup holders cannot finish in the top three in the west.
Gary Smith’s side will count themselves unlucky, however, as Sanna Nyassi saw referee Ricardo Salazar wave away penalty claims as he went to ground under Nick Rimando’s challenge.
Wells Thompson tested Rimando late in the first half, before substitute Caleb Folan twice went close to a late winner.
First the Irishman forced a flying stop from Rimando, and then with six minutes remaining he headed a Nyassi corner against the bar, with the ball dropping onto the goal-line before being scrambled away.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 2-1 DC UNITED (Wednesday)
Vancouver recorded back-to-back wins for the first (and what would later prove the only) time this season after seeing off a DC side who can’t buy a victory at the moment.
Camilo opened the scoring with less than a minute on the clock, ghosting in at the far post to sidefoot home from a Jordan Harvey cross, and the Brazilian almost had a second before the break only for Bill Hamid to get his body behind a low skidding shot.
United started the second period just as slowly as they had the first, and the end result was a first MLS goal for Long Tan, the Chinese striker heading Alain Rochat’s deep delivery in off the crossbar.
Brandon McDonald headed in to halve the deficit, and Marc Burch appealed loudly for a penalty which might have brought the visitors level when his shot struck the arm of Jeb Brovsky, but Hilario Grajeda waved away the appeals and the game ended 2-1.
CHICAGO FIRE 1-2 FC DALLAS (Wednesday)
Dallas secured their play-off berth in midweek with an away victory which sorely dented the post-season ambitions of Frank Klopas’ Chicago.
Jackson and Marvin Chavez both went close early on, before the visitors’ Brazilian youngster was denied a 24th minute opener by Sean Johnson’s sharp reactions.
Jackson remained at the heart of Dallas’ attacking play and saw an improvised effort cleared off the line by Dan Gargan, but he finally found the breakthrough on 41 minutes after racing onto Ugo Ihemelu’s long throw.
Daniel Cruz made it two with a close-range overhead kick following Ricardo Villar’s dangerous corner, and the hosts’ task was made more difficult when captain Pavel Pardo saw red for scissoring Villar from behind.
Sebastian Grazzini curled in a consolation with four minutes remaining, but the ten men never looked close to bringing the game level.
Tags: Andres Mendoza, Columbus Crew, MLS, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Thierry Henry