The second-to-last match day of the MLS regular season saw one of the remaining playoff berths clinched, but still no resolution in the Supporters’ Shield race.
D.C. United clinched a playoff berth with their 3-1 win over NYCFC. Atlanta United took one step closer to the Supporters’ Shield with a win over Chicago, but the Red Bulls prolonged the Shield race until Decision Day with a road win over Philly.
Sporting KC downed FC Dallas on the road to put themselves atop the West heading into Decision Day. The Portland Timbers continued their recent dominance over Real Salt Lake, while the LA Galaxy defeated Minnesota United in a must-win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Here’s a closer look at Sunday’s MLS action:
Atlanta United 2, Fire 1 (Final)
Franco Escobar opened the scoring for the Five Stripes in the ninth minute. Escobar was looking for the Golden Boot leader Josef Martinez near the penalty spot, but a poor clearance from Chicago let Escobar put his left foot through the ball and into the back of the net.
Michael de Leeuw equalized things in the 24th minute off the assist from Djordje Mihailovic. de Leeuw broke free inside Atlanta’s box and was able to beat Guzan one-on-one.
Just minutes later Atlanta took the lead once again off an own goal. Johan Kappelhof attempted to clear a Chris McCann cross, but he redirected the ball into the back of his own net.
Man of the Match: Franco Escobar not only opened the scoring early in the game for Atlanta United, but he put in a solid shift on defense, helping hold Chicago to a single goal on just six shots in the game.
Moment of the Match: Chicago looked like they may give Atlanta a run for their money after the 24th minute equalizer, but a Kappelhof own goal just two minutes later deflated the Fire and gave Atlanta United the eventual game winner.
Match to Forget: Any time a defender scores an own goal he’ll want to forget it, but Johan Kappelhof’s own goal in the 26th minute sealed Chicago’s fate early on in the match.
D.C. United 3, New York City FC 1 (Final)
D.C. opened the scoring in the eighth minute as Wayne Rooney tapped in a pass from Luciano Acosta to put United up 1-0 early.
Luciano Acosta doubled D.C.’s score in the 24th minute, firing a rocket into the upper 90 to put D.C. United up 2-0. The goal was Acosta’s 10th of the season.
David Villa fired to Hamid’s near post to try and pull NYCFC back within one in the 36th minute, but Hamid parried away the shot to keep City scoreless.
NYCFC continued to create chances on goal late in the first half, however they couldn’t find the back of the net.
Wayne Rooney sealed the win for D.C. United after scoring their third goal of the game in the 74th minute. Rooney capitalized on a penalty kick after Alex Ring was called for a handball at the edge of the 18.
David Villa drew one goal back for NYCFC in the 78th minute, firing to the far post and getting the bounce inside the net. Yangel Herrera earned the assist in his return from an ankle injury in May.
Man of the Match: Rooney came to D.C,’s rescue again, scoring a pair of goals in the home triumph.
Moment of the Match: The penalty kick goal by Rooney truly iced the match for D.C. who continued their climb up the East standings.
Match to Forget: NYCFC’s backline was poor in the defeat, allowing three goals to D.C.’s forwards.
Impact 2, Toronto FC 0 (Final)
The Montreal Impact had a goal overturned by video review in the 38th minute. Quincy Amarikwa was deemed to be offside in the run of play that led Chris Mavinga to net an own goal. Referee Baldomero Toledo went to review the play and subsequently cancelled the Impact’s opening goal.
Ignacio Piatti scored the opening goal to keep the Impact in the playoff race. A penalty was called with the help of video review in the 71st minute. Eriq Zavaleta was shown to have pulled Piatti’s jersey inside the box, giving Montreal a penalty kick. The Argentine stepped up to the spot and sunk his 15th goal of the season.
Piatti added another goal at the 89th minute. Alejandro Silva sent a long ball forward, and the Argentine fooled Alex Bono who ran up to play the ball. Piatti tapped the ball into an open net to bring the score to 2-0.
Man of the match: With his penalty, Ignacio Piatti effectively kept the Montreal Impact in the race for a playoff spot, as slim as the chance may be. The Argentine then added a second to bring his season tally to 16 goals.
Moment of the match: After getting his shirt pulled inside the box, referee Baldomero Toldero went to Video Review to see if there was a penalty for the foul on Ignacio Piatti. A penalty was called and the Argentine stepped up to the spot before beating Alex Bono on the lower left-hand corner.
Match to forget: In a game where Toronto FC wanted to ruin the party, Eriq Zavaleta made a mistake he couldn’t afford by committing a penalty at the 74th minute. The midfielder pulled on Piatti’s jersey in the box drawing a penalty that got the Impact on the board.
Orlando City 2, Crew 1 (Final)
The Columbus Crew’s playoff hopes will are still on hold after a disappointing defeat on the road agaisnt Orlando City.
A 95th minute penalty set up Sacha Kljestan’s winner from the penalty spot with the last kick of the match.
Wil Trapp conceded the penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he impeded Chris Mueller as he tried to cut inside the penalty area. The obvious foul set up Kljestan from the spot to make the Crew wait until next week to learn their postseason fate.
The visitors had more than a few opportunitiues at goal in the first half, but a combination of poor shots and nice saves by Adam Grinwis kept them off the board.
After plenty of chances, Federico Higuain finally opened the scoring for the Crew with a header off a free kick in the 54th minute.
The Crew lead was short-lived, however. Just two minutes later, Gaston Sauro handled the ball in the penalty area and set up Yoshi Yotun’s equalizer from the penalty spot.
As the second half wore on, it was the Lions with the better chances and they were eventually rewarded for their efforts with the last minute penalty.
The Crew will now need a result when they take on Minnesota United at home on Decision Day.
Man of the Match: Yoshi Yotun buried the equalizing penalty and was an important piece of the Orlando City midfield in this unexpected draw.
Moment of the Match: A foolish defensive maneuver in the dying seconds by Wil Trapp set up Orlando’s winner.
Match to Forget: It was a rough day up front for Gyasi Zardes, who probably should have had a goal or two for the Crew.
Union 0, Red Bulls 1 (Final)
The New York Red Bulls remained well in the hunt for the top spot in the East, following a 1-0 victory over rivals Philadelphia at Talen Energy Stadium.
Kaku nearly broke the goal-less deadlock in the 35th minute when he blasted a shot off the left post.
The Red Bulls came close again two minutes later, but Tyler Adams failed to get his open look on target after an excellent passing sequence set him up for a chance.
The first half ended with the two teams engaging in a shoving match at the whistle. It was a microcosm of a physical half that saw neither team take control.
The Red Bulls took the lead in the 69th minute after referee Ted Unkel awarded a penalty kick following a VAR review. He determined Alejandro Bedoya committed a handball penalty, and Kaku converted the ensuing spot kick to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Cory Burke’s last gasp effort in stoppage time was kept out by Luis Robles, who overall had a quiet afternoon. The veteran keeper was only called into action twice, as NYRB ended the Union’s four-match unbeaten run.
Man of the Match: Kaku played the hero, scoring the decisive winning goal for New York.
Moment of the Match: Video review had a huge role in this one as it allowed the Red Bulls the chance for all three points in Chester.
Match to Forget: Borek Dockal, who normally is very influential in the Philly attack, was quiet in the home defeat.
FC Dallas 0, Sporting KC 3 (Final)
Sporting KC exacted their demons against FC Dallas, rolling past their West rivals 3-0 in Dallas.
Daniel Salloi opened the scoring for Sporting KC just before halftime in the 45th minute. Gutierrez was charging toward goal and fired a shot on frame, but Gonzalez punched the ball away. Salloi picked up the loose ball in the box and fired it past Dallas defender Reggie Cannon for the game’s first goal, and Salloi’s 10th of the season.
Johnny Russell whipped in a powerful free kick to Ike Opara at the six yard line, who headed the ball right to Roger Espinoza’s feet. The midfielder fired the ball on frame first time to put SKC up 2-0 in the 65th minute. The goal was a franchise record 62nd on the year for SKC.
Salloi was taken down in the box by Marquinho Pedroso in the 86th minute, allowing Russell to score from the spot icing the 3-0 result for SKC.
Man of the Match: Tim Melia had one of the best games of his life in what was the biggest game of the season for SKC. Melia punched away a second-half penalty kick by Reto Ziegler and added several other saves to help KC win in Dallas for the first time since 2011.
Moment of the Match: When FCD earned a penalty early in the second-half, they looked poised to steal all of the momentum. Instead, Melia’s dive to his left kept Dallas off the board and reinvigorated SKC.
Match to Forget: Reggie Cannon was actually in perfect position to stop Salloi’s goal but the defender got it all wrong. The shot rolled between Cannon’s legs which surely will be on repeat in the defender’s mind this coming week.
Dynamo 2, Sounders 3 (Final)
The Seattle Sounders just keep on rolling in league play, taking a first-half lead at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and never looking back.
Despite a frantic ending to the match, the Sounders hung on for a 3-2 win over the eliminated Dynamo.
Centerback Chad Marshall headed Nicolas Lodeiro’s corner in after 26 minutes, giving Seattle a 1-0 lead. It was Marshall’s fourth goal of 2018.
Lodeiro played distributor on Seattle’s second goal of the match, as he crossed a ball into the box which Gustav Svensson headed in after 49 minutes.
Kevin Garcia’s header in the 63rd minute pulled a goal back for the Dynamo who currently trail 2-1.
Raul Ruidiaz scored his eighth goal for the club in the 87th minute, receiving an assist from Lodeiro and finishing calmly. Mauro Manotas’s header in the 89th minute made the last final minutes interesting in Houston, but it would not effect Seattle grabbing all three points.
Man of the Match: Lodeiro assisted on all three goals by Seattle, playing a huge role once again for the club.
Moment of the Match: Ruidiaz’s late finish proved to be the difference despite a goal from Manotas quickly after.
Match to Forget: Dynamo winger Alberth Elis had four shots but none of them found the target in the defeat.
LAFC 2, Whitecaps 2 (Final)
Despite a comeback for a point, the Vancouver Whitecaps were eliminated from playoff contention following a 2-2 draw at LAFC.
Diego Rossi’s finish after five minutes gave Bob Bradley’s side a 1-0 lead over the Caps. Rossi tallied his second of the afternoon in the 15th minute, slotting home into the bottom-left corner.
Vancouver pulled a goal back though through the form of Yordy Reyna. Alphonso Davies was fouled by Benny Feilhaber in the 22nd minute, allowing Reyna to score his sixth goal of the season.
The Caps drew level for good in the 65th minute as Jordan Mutch rifled home from long-range. The 26-year-old came off the bench and made an immediate impact, scoring his second goal for the club.
LAFC sits in second going into Decision Day, knowing they could drop to as low as fifth pending other results.
Man of the Match: Mutch hasn’t been a consistent performer for Vancouver this season, but the Englishman came up with the goods late.
Moment of the Match: Mutch’s long-range finish truly swung the match into the Caps’ favor, helping them spoil LAFC’s day.
Match to Forget: Adama Diomande failed to get anything going offensively, eventually being subbed off after 80 minutes.
Minnesota United 1, LA Galaxy 3 (Final)
The Los Angeles Galaxy went on the road and put them one win away from the playoffs with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Minnesota United.
Two goals early in the second-half combined with one other from Zlatan Ibrahimovic was enough for them to take all three points at TCF Bank Stadium.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 22nd goal of the season with a very casual header from close-range. The Swede was left unmarked when Rolf Feltscher’s cross flew in, which made for a simple finish for the prolific goal scorer.
Ola Kamara added to the Galaxy’s advantage at TCF Bank Stadium, finishing Ashley Cole’s assist in after 50 minutes. It was a redeeming effort by Kamara who missed a sitter just a minute prior.
Romain Alessandrini extended the lead just a minute later, but Angelo Rodriguez pulled one back in the 53rd as he headed Darwin Quintero’s cross past David Bingham.
Thanks to RSL’s loss to Portland, the Galaxy only need to beat the Houston Dynamo on Decision Day to make the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Man of the Match: Like many times this season, Zlatan stepped up big with a goal and assist in a must-win game for LA.
Moment of the Match: A furious couple of minutes early in the second-half put the game away for the Galaxy.
Match to Forget: Matt Lampson had a disappointing performance for the Loons in between the posts.
Timbers 3, Real Salt Lake 0 (Final)
Portland rolled past Real Salt Lake in their last meeting and the hosts did the same at Providence Park on Sunday.
An opening goal from Larrys Mabiala proved to be the winning goal, while a pair of insurance goals in the second-half helped the Timbers to a 3-0 win.
Mabiala scored the opening goal in the 15th minute by booting home a perfectly placed free kick from Diego Valeri. It was the defender’s fifth goal of the season.
Diego Chara doubled the hosts lead in the 68th minute, rifling home a right-footed effort past Nick Rimando.
Sebastian Blanco added a third for Portland in the 86th minute, eliminating any hopes of a late RSL comeback. He slipped a shot past Rimando to punctuate yet another dangerous Portland counterattack.
Heading into Decision Day, Portland now sits clear of RSL for fifth place and could finish as high as third if results go their way.
Man of the Match: Steve Clark was the sole reason that RSL couldn’t get anything going offensively. The veteran brought himself back to his glory days of a few years ago, with a top class performance.
Moment of the Match: Chara’s goal provided a big insurance goal right when it looked like RSL was going to claw its way back into the match.
Match to Forget: Damir Kreilach who came into the match on good form, was quiet failing to get a single shot off in attack.
Earthquakes 0, Rapids 0 (Final)
In the only match featuring a pair of eliminated sides, not much happened at Avaya Stadium.
The San Jose Earthquakes had the better of the offensive chances, but could not get anything past Tim Howard in a 0-0 draw against Colorado.
Eric Cavillo and Anibal Godoy were both kept out in the opening half by Howard, while Kellyn Acosta’s effort was repelled by James Marcinkowski.
Calvillo was among the chances in the second-half, again being frustrated by Howard. Jackson Yueill’s 56th minute header was saved in the high center of the goal by Howard, keeping the clean sheet on for Colorado.
Jack Price had the best chance late to break the deadlock, but the midfielder could not beat Marcinkowski.
Man of the Match: Howard was the busier of the two keepers, helping the Rapids to their second consecutive clean sheet.
Moment of the Match: When it looked like Price would play the hero for the Rapids, back-up keeper Marcinkowski came up with one of his two saves.
Match to Forget: Chris Wondolowski looked frustrated all evening, seeing zero of his eight shots actually find the target.