Orlando and Chicago waited out a rainstorm to finish their match in a draw just past midnight, local time. Columbus beat NYCFC in Yankee Stadium to keep pace with the top teams in the East. Real Salt Lake dropped to last in the West after losing to Dallas on the road. New England took advantage of their date with Eastern Conference cellar dweller’s, the Philadelphia Union, because the Chicago Fire is on a two-match unbeaten streak and rose from the bottom of the table.

NY Red Bulls 3 – DC United 0

Eastern Conference leaders DC United could not stop the New York Red Bulls attack in a 3-0 defeat at Red Bull Arena. Bradley Wright-Philips led New York with two goals and a smooth assist to Lloyd Sam for the game-winning goal.

The Red Bulls high pressed the DC United backline, pinched the midfield and made it difficult for United to play through the middle. New York’s high pressure lead to the first goal from a misplayed pass. Wright-Philips collected a Kemar Lawrence interception and let Sam join the play, who beat a helpless Bill Hamid.

Hamid did make three sprawling saves in the first half the kept United within reach. Not many goal keepers in MLS would make all three saves as he did.

In the 42nd minute, Bill Hamid had no chance of stopping Wright-Philips’ poster-boy strike. Felipe played Mike Grella over the defense and deep into the goal area of DC. Grella lets the ball settle down on the bounce before half-volleying a cross into the path of the legendary BWP. Wright-Philips took the cross on the full volley and smashed the ball into the postage stamp of the goal.

The second goal for Wright-Philips, the third for New York, came from short lapse in defense by United. Sacha Kljestan found the Red Bulls striker behind the center backs, but still on side thanks a shallow line of offside by right back Sean Franklin. Even Wright-Philips was unsure if he was onside, but the leading goal scorer buried his chance into the side netting and buried DC’s chance of leaving New York with a five-point gap at the top of the table.

New York has closed the gap to two points on DC with three matches in hand. A betting man would certainly say that the Red Bulls will catch up and overtake the Conference lead while United is also squeezing in CONCACAF Champions League group stage matches in September.

The DC/New York rivalry is strongest throughout the history of Major League Soccer. These two may meet again in the conference finals and it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Next week: NY Red Bulls & DC United do not play

Seattle Sounders 2 – Portland Timbers 1

Sounders v. Timbers in Cascadia Cup 2015

The oldest and most storied rivalry in American soccer renewed its membership on Sunday afternoon. 64,358 people were drawn to see the Seattle Sounders beat their southern foes the Portland Timbers, 2-1.

Two first half goals from the Sounders helped seal the deal. Obafemi Martins scored his tenth goal of the season from only 14 matches played. The Nigerian international scored on a comedic run of a errors as the ball gently trickled through the Timbers’ backline and hesitated for just a moment to let Martins connect with it.

Adam Kwarasey was deemed by the referee to bring down Martins in an unlucky fashion. Martins brings down the long driven ball and runs into Kwarasey. The Portland goalkeeper did not play the ball so the referee awarded Seattle a penalty. Brad Evans scored the spot kick to make it 2-0 Sounders.

Stefan Frei made the MLS Team of the Week after he kept the Sounders ahead going into halftime. Frei made five saves in the first half and only faced the one shot on goal in the second half.

The only shot that Frei did not save on Sunday afternoon was from a Diego Valeri cornerkick. Jack Jewsbury was loosely guarded by Lamar Neagle on the set piece. The Sounders attacker lost his Timbers defensive mark and Jewsbury scored for the 27th time in his 325 career league appearances.

Portland missed a chance to distance themselves from the bottom of the red line. With Seattle’s win, the Sounders are on equal games played and a pesky two points behind their Cascadia neighbors, the Portland Timbers.

Next week: Seattle hosts Toronto FC & Portland does not play

Colorado Rapids 2 – Sporting Kansas City 1

At the beginning of the week, the Colorado Rapids were on the outside looking into the Playoff party. With two big wins this week against Western Conference teams, the Rapids have regained momentum and have placed themselves back into the playoff hunt.

The first half of soccer between Colorado and Kansas City left something to be desired. Neither team could establish a sophisticated rhythm of possession. Kansas City was bunkered into their defensive third for a majority of the opening 15 minutes. Colorado was unlucky to not benefit from that offensive posture.

Dom Dwyer found his 9th goal of the season after Krisztian Nemeth hop, skipped and raced his way the left wing of the Rapids and put a ball on a platter for the left-footed Dwyer.

Kansas City was disappointed to lose the lead six minutes later. After a few shouts for a foul on the right side of the field, Maynor Figueroa found the ball on the left side and shot. Figueroa’s shot deflected off the rushing defense work of Graham Zusi and into the net.

Colorado would go ahead 2-1 later in the match. Vincente Sanchez recorded his second assist of the evening with a beautiful lofted cross to the back post. Irish striker Kevin Doyle rose and headed home the three points for the Rapids.

Kansas City will need to take the international break and rejuvenate their defensive structure. Sporting has given up 20 goals in their last 10 games in all competitions (no shutouts during this span).

Pablo Mastroeni has done very well for himself in the past month or two. The All-Star Coach must have picked up a trick or two from his diverse team this summer. It would not be too far off to say that if he does not pull a rabbit out of a hat (Colorado making the playoffs) it could be the end of the Pablo era.

Next week: Colorado & Kansas City do not play

Other scores in MLS Week 26:

Chicago 3 – NY Red Bulls 2

Colorado 2 – Houston 1

San Jose 1 – LA Galaxy 0

New York City FC 1 – Columbus 2

Toronto FC 2 – Montreal 1

Philadelphia 0 – New England 1

Orlando City 1 – Chicago 1

FC Dallas 2 – Real Salt Lake 0

Houston 2 – Vancouver 0

NY Red Bulls 3 – DC United 0


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