Sporting KC Moves Atop the Western Conference, LAFC Sets New Record in Wild MLS Sunday

Kansas City earned its first victory in Frisco since June 12, 2011 to go top of the West while LAFC set a record for points in its inaugural season and Portland and D.C. clinched their spots in the playoffs in a wild MLS Sunday. 
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FRISCO, Texas — Roger Espinoza and Johnny Russell scored second-half goals and Sporting Kansas City beat FC Dallas 3-0 on Sunday to move atop the Western Conference.

Kansas City (17-8-8) is two points ahead of FC Dallas and Los Angeles FC, which plays at Sporting next week in the season finale. Dallas (16-8-9), which has lost two straight since a five-match unbeaten streak, plays at 11th-place Colorado.

Daniel Salloi opened the scoring in the 45th minute by hustling to a blocked shot and sending it inside the far post. Espinoza extended the lead in the 64th by redirecting a header. It was Sporting's record-breaking 62nd goal of the season.

Russell scored his 10th goal on a penalty kick in the 87th for double-digit goals and assists in his debut season.

Both goalkeepers blocked a penalty kick. FC Dallas' Jesse Gonzalez denied Ilie Sanchez's attempt in the 17th and Kansas City's Tim Melia went to his left to block Reto Ziegler's left-footed shot in the 48th.

It was Kansas City's first victory in Frisco since June 12, 2011.

LAFC 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 2

LOS ANGELES — Diego Rossi scored two goals and Los Angeles FC tied the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 on Sunday to set an MLS record for points in an inaugural season with 57.

Los Angeles (16-8-9) is tied with second-place FC Dallas, two points behind Sporting Kansas City. LAFC plays at Kansas City on Sunday to end the regular season. Vancouver (12-13-8) was eliminated from the playoffs, sitting five points back of sixth-place Real Salt Lake.

Rossi opened the scoring in the fifth minute and he added his 12th goal of the season 10 minutes later for a 2-0 lead. The first goal came on a give-and-go with Carlos Vela, and the second was after a deflected cross fell to his feet at the far post.

Yordy Reyna pulled Vancouver to 2-1 in the 22nd minute on a penalty kick and Jordon Mutch tied it in the 65th with a strike from distance.

D.C. United 3, NYCFC 1

WASHINGTON — Wayne Rooney scored twice, Luciano Acosta had a goal and an assist and D.C. United wrapped up a playoff berth with a 3-1 victory over New York City FC on Sunday.

Acosta was the sparkplug for D.C., setting up Rooney eight minutes into the game and scoring from distance in the 24th minute.

Acosta, tied for the league lead with 17 assists, weaved through a number of defenders as he dribbled down the left sideline and then turned in at the end line. As he neared the goal he found Rooney out front for his team-leading 11th goal. Acosta then notched his 10th goal, pouncing on a loose ball just outside the top the box after a defender tapped it away from Rooney and curling it into the net.

Rooney made it 3-0 with a penalty kick in the 74th minute.

DC (14-11-8) is unbeaten in nine straight matches, with five straight wins.

David Villa scored his 13th for NYCFC in the 78th minute. Yangel Herrera set up Villa's goal in his first action after being sidelined five month after ankle surgery.

New York City FC (15-10-8), coming off a 21-day layup, has just one win in its last nine games with one week left in the regular season.

New York Red Bulls 1, Philadelphia Union 0

CHESTER, Pa. — Alejandro Romero Gamarra scored on a second-half penalty kick, Luis Robles had his 13th shutout and the New York Red Bulls beat the Philadelphia Union 1-0 on Sunday to stay in contention for the Supporters' Shield with one game to play.

A Red Bulls corner kick resulted in a handball by Alejandro Bedoya after a video review, setting up Gamarra for his sixth goal.

The Red Bulls (21-7-5), winners of four straight and unbeaten in five, go into the last game next weekend one point behind Atlanta for the best record in the regular season.

Philadelphia (15-13-5), which had three wins during a four-match unbeaten streak, was hoping to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with wins in its last two games.

Robels made two saves as the Union only put two of 14 shots on target.

Portland Timbers 3, Real Salt Lake 0

PORTLAND, Ore. — Larrys Mabiala, Diego Chara and Sebastian Blanco scored and the Portland Timbers clinched a spot in the Major League Soccer playoffs with a 3-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Sunday.

Both teams went into the game needing a win would secure a spot in the playoffs outright without help from other teams. Portland would also clinch with a tie.

It was the final regular-season match for Real Salt Lake (14-13-7). The team will have to wait until next weekend's final matches to see if they are going to the postseason.

The Timbers (15-9-9) went up early when Mabiala punched in a goal off a free kick from Diego Valeri in the 15th minute. It was Mabiala's fifth goal of the season.

Chara's goal, his second this year, came in the 69th minute and Blanco sealed it with his goal in the 87th.

It was the second of back-to-back games against RSL for the Timbers. Portland defeated RSL 4-1 in Salt Lake on Oct. 6 before the international break. RSL, however, played at home on Thursday night, beating the Revolution 4-1.

Real Salt Lake came into the match with three road wins this season. Damir Kreilach was the team's top scorer in the regular season with 12 goals.

The Timbers were still without goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who hurt his shoulder in a match against FC Dallas on Sept. 29. Steve Clark started his second straight game in goal for Portland.

Clark had a pair of impressive saves. The first came at the end of the first half when he stopped Kyle Beckerman's header from the center of the box. The second came two minutes into the second half when he punched away defender Justen Glad's point-blank shot following a corner.

RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando yelled at Glad for his defense of Blanco on the final goal of the match. It was Blanco's 10th of the season, tying him for the team lead with Valeri.

Portland wraps up the season next weekend at Vancouver.

Atlanta United 2, Chicago Fire 1

ATLANTA — Michael Parkhurst shook hands with the referee after the final whistle, and then turned his attention to the out-of-town scoreboard.

It could have been a really big celebration for Atlanta United.

But New York Red Bulls put a damper on things with a win of their own.

''Darn,'' Parkhurst said.

Atlanta scored two first-half goals and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday, equaling the MLS record for most points in a season, setting another attendance record and securing a spot in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

But United's main objective - the best regular-season record in MLS - will go down to the final week of the regular season. New York Red Bulls remained one point behind the Five Stripes in the Supporters' Shield race with a 1-0 victory at Philadelphia.

''It would have been pretty cool to win it at home,'' said 18-year-old Andrew Carleton, who got only his second start of the season with Atlanta missing two key players. ''But it makes us want to win the MLS Cup at home even more.''

Before a crowd of 71,812, United improved to 21-6-6 for 69 points, tying the record set last season by Toronto FC. Atlanta will get a chance to break the mark when it faces the Canadian team next Sunday in the regular-season finale.

With Red Bulls closing the season at home against last-place Orlando, United knows it will likely need a road victory to claim its first major trophy.

''When you win trophies, it's never easy,'' goalkeeper Brad Guzan said.

Atlanta drew its fifth 70,000-plus crowd of the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, finishing with a total of 901,033 fans for a per-game average of 53,002. That easily eclipsed the mark of 48,200 that was set in its inaugural season.

''You never take it for granted,'' Guzan said. ''We're very lucky to have the atmosphere and the fan support that we have here in Atlanta.''

United prevailed without Miquel Almiron and Tito Villalba who have combined for 19 goals and 23 assists this season. Almiron didn't play because of an ailing left hamstring, while Villalba was sidelined by a leg injury.

''We're only as good as our weakest link,'' Parkhurst said. ''Guys have stepped up throughout the season in big games, big moments.''

Atlanta jumped ahead less than 10 minutes into the game on Franco Escobar's first goal in league play. Sprinting into the area on the right side, the defender attempted to pass to Josef Martinez lurking in front of the goal, only to have the ball deflect right back to him. Escobar curled a left-footed shot inside the far post to give the home team the quick start it was looking for.

Escobar could never remember scoring a goal with his left foot.

''Lucky,'' he said with a smile.

Chicago had plenty of chances in the first half, playing against a makeshift starting group that was sloppy at times and showed its unfamiliarity with each other. Parkhurst nearly scored an own goal, only to be bailed out by Guzan's brilliant save.

The Fire finally found the back of the net in the 24th minute on a play that left Atlanta pleading for an offside penalty. Michael de Leeuw wound up all alone in front of the goal with two of his teammates and Guzan didn't have a chance, watching helplessly as the Fire player slid the ball across the line for his second goal of the season. After a video review, the play was allowed to stand.

Just two minutes later, United regained the lead with an own goal. On Chris McCann's cross in front of the net , a sliding Johan Kappelhof deflected the ball past goalkeeper Patrick McLain to put Atlanta back in front 2-1.

That was enough for Atlanta.

Martinez remained on 30 goals, even though he had several prime chances to break what is now a four-match scoring drought. Most notably, the top season scorer in MLS history was stuffed by McLain in the second half after receiving a pass all alone in front of the Chicago goal.

Atlanta locked up its first appearance in the Champions League by compiling the most points over the last two seasons, joining fellow MLS teams Toronto, Houston and Sporting Kansas City. The league will get one more squad in the 16-team tournament.

''It's huge,'' Guzan said. ''We want to be able to put this club on the international map against international competition. Being in Champions League allows us to do that.''

LA Galaxy 3, Minnesota United 1

MINNEAPOLIS — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in his fifth straight game and added an assist and the Los Angeles Galaxy kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic got his 22nd goal of the season with a header off a cross from Rolf Feltscher in the 30th minute and joined Roy Lassiter (1996) as the only other Major League Soccer player with two five-game goal-scoring streaks in the same season.

With Real Salt Lake losing in Portland in its final game, the Galaxy (13-11-9) make the playoffs with a home win over Houston next weekend.

After Ola Kamara made it 2-0in the 50th minute, converting into an open goal on a feed from Ashley Cole, Ibrahimovic set up Romain Alessandrini a minute later. It was the 12th goal for Kamara and Alessandrini got his 11th when he volleyed a perfect ball from Ibrahimovic.

Angelo Rodriguez scored his fourth for Minnesota (11-19-3), which played before a club-record 52,242 fans in its last game TCF Bank Stadium, in the 53rd minute. The Loons move into a new stadium next season.

Orlando City 2, Columbus Crew SC 1

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sacha Kljestan scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time and Orlando City beat Columbus 2-1 on Sunday to keep the Crew from securing a playoff spot.

Columbus (13-11-9) needed a win or a Montreal loss to claim a playoff spot with one game remaining in the regular season. The Impact beat Toronto FC 2-0, moving two points behind the sixth-place Crew in the Eastern Conference. The Crew host Minnesota United next Sunday and Montreal plays at New England.

Orlando (8-21-4) ended a three-game losing streak.

Federico Higuain opened the scoring for Columbus in the 54th minute with his sixth goal of the season, bending a free kick over the wall and inside the near post.

Three minutes later, Yoshimar Yotun scored on a penalty kick. Zack Steffen chose the right direction to dive, but Yotun calmly floated it over his head.

Seattle Sounders 3, Houston Dynamo 2

HOUSTON — Nicolas Lodeiro had the first three-assist game of his career, giving him a Seattle career record of 35 in the regular season, leading the Sounders to a 3-2 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday.

Lodeiro's corners set up headers for Chad Marshall, his fourth of the season, in the 30th minute, and Gustav Svensson, his third, early in the second half. Marshall made his 400th Major League Soccer appearance, just the second field player to reach that milestone.

Kevin Garcia got his first career goal for Houston with a header off a corner from Oscar Boniek Garcia in the 63rd minute.

Raul Ruidiaz picked up the winner, his eighth goal in just 13th appearances, when his shot went under Tyler Deric in the 87th minute. Lodeiro fed the ball ahead to Ruidiaz for his 15th assist, which ties him for third in the league.

Houston ensured a tight finish when a shot from Romell Quioto in the 89th minute skimmed off the head of Mauro Mantoas for his 17th goal.

Montreal Impact 2, Toronto 0

MONTREAL — Ignacio Piatti scored two second-half goals and the Montreal Impact beat Toronto FC 2-0 on Sunday to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Montreal (14-15-4) is seventh in the Eastern Conference with 46 points, two points behind Columbus (13-11-9) with one game remaining for both teams. Columbus fell 2-1 to Orlando City on Sunday. Montreal needs to beat New England in the season finale next Sunday, while Columbus would have to tie or lose at home to Minnesota for the Impact to make the playoffs.

Toronto dropped to 9-18-6.

San Jose Earthquakes 0, Colorado Rapids 0

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tim Howard had his fifth shutout of the season and the Colorado Rapids played the San Jose Earthquakes to a 0-0 draw Sunday in a match between the worst teams in the Western Conference.

Colorado (7-19-7) was trying to win consecutive games for just the third time this season. San Jose (4-20-8) snapped a six-match losing streak.

San Jose goalkeeper James Marcinkowski had his first clean sheet. The Earthquakes haven't conceded a home goal to Colorado since a 1-1 draw on May 18, 2013.