D.C. United and the Seattle Sounders have been two of the hottest teams in MLS in the second half of the season and they both continued their torrid form with big victories to headline Wednesday night’s action.
Wayne Rooney’s wonder goal free kick made the difference as D.C. United topped Toronto FC. In Orlando, the Seattle Sounders overcame several key absences to register a victory that clinched their place in the playoffs.
In Vancouver, Sporting KC moved closer to the top two teams in the Western Conference by rolling past the Whitecaps, who saw their playoff hopes take a huge hit.
Here’s a closer look at Wednesday’s action:
D.C. United 1, Toronto FC 0
A Wayne Rooney free kick wonder-strike helped D.C. edge closer to a playoff berth after beating TFC at Audi Field on Wednesday night.
Toronto FC had a clear chance to open the scoring in the 11th minute when Nick Hagglund headed a Michael Bradley free kick toward goal, where Bill Hamid made the save to keep the score 0-0.
Rooney delivered the winner in the 18th minute, placing a 30-yard free kick into the top right corner, past the outstretched arms of Alex Bono.
Luciano Acosta nearly made it 2-0 in the 57th minute, only to have his hard shot blast off the left post.
Rooney’s goal was enough to move D.C. United four points ahead of Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The win also moved D.C. to within a point of the Columbus Crew for fifth place.
D.C. United will play host to struggling New York City FC on Sunday,
Man of the Match: Wayne Rooney showed his class once again.
Moment of the Match: Rooney’ss free kick was a thing of beauty.
Match to Forget: Nick Hagglund struggled on the night, and missed a chance to open the scoring with a free header.
Orlando City 1, Sounders 2
Victor Rodriguez notched a goal and an assist to lead the Seattle Sounders to a big road victory that helped clinch a Western Conference playoff berth.
Rodriguez needed less than three minutes to open the scoring when he volleyed home a floating cross in from Kevin Leerdam.
Sounders rookie Handwalla Bwana made it 2-0 when he dribbled past Scott Sutter and sent a shot at goal that deflected past Orlando City goalkeeper Adam Grinwis.
Dom Dwyer helped pull one back for Orlando City, with a 57th-minute finish off a Sutter pass.
The win helped the Sounders clinch a playoff berth, and moved them past the Portland Timbers into fourth place in the West.
Man of the Match: Rodriguez had a hand in both Sounders goals.
Moment of the Match: Rodriguez’s volley just two minutes into the match set the tone.
Match to Forget: Adam Grinwis had a rough night in goal for the Lions.
Whitecaps 1, Sporting KC 4
Sporting KC went into BC Place and defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1 in a huge Western Conference match with playoff implications for both sides.
The match looked to go into halftime scoreless, but in the 43rd minute a poor clearance from Daniel Salloi gave the ball to Kei Kamara at the top of SKC’s box. The former Sporting KC striker found his teammate Felipe, who had just enough space to send a shot past Tim Melia to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.
Sporting KC’s comeback kicked off in the 62nd minute, when centerback Matt Besler surged up the right side of the field and sent a cross to an an injured Yohan Croizet. He fired a shot from the top of the box past Stefan Marinovic for the 62nd-minute equalizer. Croizet was subbed off just seconds later for Gianluca Busio, who was waiting at the center line to check in for the Croizet at the time of the goal.
Salloi made up for his early mistake with a moment of brilliance. A poor kick from Marinovic gave the ball to Kansas City in Vancouver’s half. Khiry Shelton cleared out space near the top of the box and sent the ball to Salloi, who beautifully tucked the ball away inside the right post to put SKC ahead, 2-1.
If there was any hope for Vancouver to come back, it ended in the 4th minute of stoppage time when Johnny Russell won the ball for Sporting KC deep in Vancouver’s half. The Scottish forward had been a menace since checking into the game in the 63rd minute, and after muscling Vancouver off the ball he sent a cross in front of goal for the 16-year-old Gianluca Busio, who tapped the ball in for his first MLS goal.
Seconds later Salloi scored his second goal of the game to put Sporting KC up 4-1 right before full time.
For Vancouver, the loss makes a playoff push that much harder. They remain a full three points behind RSL and two points behind 7th place LA Galaxy with just two matches to play against LAFC and Portland.
The victory is huge for Kansas City, who controls it’s own destiny in the West. Sporting pulled level with LAFC at 56 points, but the goal differential tie-breaker gives SKC the nod for 2nd place.
Kansas City finishes the season traveling to 1st place FC Dallas before hosting 3rd place LAFC at Children’s Mercy Park on Decision Day.
Man of the Match: Daniel Salloi’s early mistake may have lead to the lone Vancouver goal, but his brace gave Sporting KC the victory in their biggest game of the year.
Moment of the Match: A hobbling Yohan Croizet looked ready to exit the game, but not before his 62nd minute equalizer. Equally as impressive was defender Matt Besler, who looked like a winger the way he surged up the field before sending the ball into Sporting’s No. 10.
Match to Forget: Brek Shea started the game on the left wing for Vancouver and had chances throughout his 68 minutes on the field, but he never could put the ball on frame and wasted multiple opportunities to score.