Kei Kamara cushioned his lead for the Golden Boot (20 goals) after scoring both times in Columbus’ 2-1 win over Philadelphia. Colorado sunk to the bottom of the Western Conference after an away loss to Vancouver midweek and then a home draw with DC United on the weekend. FC Dallas has taken the reigns in the Points Per Game race with a 2-1 win at home against New York City FC. LA Galaxy were able to dampen Montreal’s attack, but could not find the goal either and San Jose drew at home with Seattle 1-1.

New York Red Bulls 3 – Chicago Fire 2

New York went down 0-2 in the first half before coming back with three unanswered goals to beat the Chicago Fire at home.

Referee Armando Villareal was very generous to the Fire when they were awarded a penalty in the 13th minute. Jeff Larentowicz kept calm and beat Luis Robles to his right side to give Chicago the start they needed.

David Accam doubled the lead after a superb individual effort. Accam used his speed to beat Connor Lade in open space and walked the ball into the goal after leaving both Robles and Lade in the dust with a nasty cut.

Bradley Wright-Philips immediately responded to the Fire’s second goal with one of his own. The penetrating pass by Felipe to Sasha Kljestan drew Ty Harden out of position, which was taken advantage of by the Red Bull’s midfielders. Wright-Philips had to shoot first time and he placed it sweetly in the corner.

David Accam had a chance to make it 3-1 Chicago by outpacing the Red Bulls defense again. This time Accam made a back tracking Kemar Lawerance look foolish when he tripped over himself, but the Ghanian striker miss hit the ball.

The equalizing goal came from Mike Grella. Grella made a late run into the goal area and was as loose as a moose. The striker collected the ball, turned and shot without the pressure of Chicago defender.

Lloyd Sam drew a penalty for New York in the 70th minute. The call was similarly as soft as the penalty awarded in the first half to Chicago. Kljestan stepped up and buried the spot kick to give New York the 3-2 lead and eventually the win at home.

New York has a realistic chance at lifting the Supporter’s Shield at the end of the season. They have put themselves in a good position, but have to see out their remaining eight matches in the next six weeks.

With Chicago’s loss and Orlando’s win the hopes for the Fire making the playoff are now slim. However, because this league is so crazy, it remains a possibility if the Fire beat Orlando next week at home. A loss would certainly end Chicago’s season.

Next week: New York visit New England & Chicago hosts Orlando

Houston Dynamo 1 – Real Salt Lake 3

RSL vs. Houston

Image: USA Today Sports

Real Salt Lake comfortably capitalized on the second chances that Houston gave them in a 3-1 road victory. This win could rejuvenate Salt Lake as they creep from the bottom of the difficult Western Conference table.

Nick Rimando completed another clinic on how to save a franchise with his four save performance against the Dynamo. Rimando’s one handed save against Brad Davis was worth the price of admission alone.

In first half added time, Javier Morales found the go ahead goal for Salt Lake after a goalmouth scramble opened up for him. Tyler Deric made a solid first save on Juan Martinez’s initial shot, but it was parried into the six yard area.

Devin Sandoval scored his second goal of the season after finishing another rebound from a save by Deric. Both goals seemed to be stemming from a lack of communication amongst the Dynamo back line.

Houston was awarded a penalty in the 64th minute. Brad Davis capitalized on the opportunity by smashing it into the top of the goal. The penalty was awarded for an apparent handling of the ball by John Stertzer from a corner kick. Referee Robert Sibiga had a good angel to view the incident live, but the replay shows that the ball actually hit Stertzer in the groin.

The incident did not phase Real Salt Lake and three minutes later, Juan Martinez scored his first MLS goal in his first start. Again from the run of play, the Dynamo backline were not able to close gaps by the flowing Salt Lake attack. Morales slipped in Martinez who finished from a difficult angle into the side netting.

This was a must-win game for both teams. Houston and Salt Lake now sit even on points (35) and record (9-11-8) in the Western Conference table. It will take a miracle for either team to leap frog San Jose (39 points) and Portland (41 points) into the sixth playoff place.

Salt Lake City does play both San Jose & Portland before the season ends, but they’re also going to be in the middle of CONCACAF Champions League group play. At this point of the season, Jeff Cassar may rest his first eleven in league play to benefit a birth into next spring’s Champions League Quarterfinals.

Next week: Houston visit Philadelphia & Salt Lake host LA Galaxy

Orlando City 3 – Sporting Kansas City 1

A Kaka-less Orlando City put three goals on a downward spiraling Sporting Kansas City side on a cool Sunday evening.

Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin started for Kansas City on Sunday evening. The young talent was unable to turn away an unmarked 3rd minute header by Adrian Winter and the Lions took an early 1-0 lead. Three Orlando City players were in offside positions when the ball was played, but Winter was onside and was not continually marked by Jacob Peterson as the ball floated to the back post.

Kempin did keep Sporting in the game at the 55th minute mark. Rafael Ramos’ low cross to Lewis Neal was brushed over the cross bar by Kempin’s finger tips. It was the only save the 22-year-old recorded on the evening.

Minutes later Krisztian Nemeth recorded his ninth goal for Kansas City after stumbling through a tackle by Aurelien Collin and finished emphatically into the top right corner.

The addition of Brek Shea into the game for Orlando quickly paid off. The winger galloped down the right side of the field and collected a long ball by David Mateos. Shea cut the ball back to the penalty spot and Bryan Rochez scored his first MLS goal in twelve appearances this season.

If you thought the wheels on the bus looked wobbly, they certainly fell off the Kansas City team bus in the 72nd minute. Kevin Ellis was dispossessed in the goal area and two one touch passes later, Winter scored his second goal of the game to give Orlando a much needed 3-1 victory at home.

Dom Dwyer was rightly sent off in the 87th minute for violent conduct. Dwyer chest bumped Mateos, who went down holding his face. There may be more action taken by the Disciplinary Committee regarding this incident.

Orlando’s dream of dancing into the playoffs is still alive, however they will need to continue winning and seeing result from Montreal slip through their hands. The two teams are level on points, but the Impact have four games in hand.

Sporting Kansas City was also missing its highest paid player, Roger Espinzoa. The Honduran international is nursing a broken bone in his foot that may keep him out of play until the final week of the season. If Kansas City is able to limp into the playoffs, they’ll fall right out of contention early if Espinoza is not able to corral this triangular midfield laid out by Peter Vermes.

Next week: Orlando visit Chicago & Kansas City hosts FC Dallas

MLS Week 28:

Vancouver 2 – Colorado

Portland 0 – Kansas City 0

Philadelphia 1 – Columbus 2

FC Dallas 2 – New York City FC 1

Colorado 1 – DC United 1

LA Galaxy 0 – Montreal 0

San Jose 1 – Seattle 1

Toronto FC 1 – New England 3


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