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MLS Roundup: The Timbers and Sounders secure playoff spots in second-to-last week of regular season play

MLS Roundup

With the second-to-last round of games being played Sunday, two more Western Conference teams have secured their places in the playoffs: Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers. Having said that, there is now only one more playoff spot left in contention, the final spot in the West. There are three teams capable of earning that spot in FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake, and San Jose Earthquakes. None of these three teams performed exceptionally well Sunday, with both Dallas and RSL losing their games, and the Earthquakes earning a draw in theirs. Elsewhere, Nemanja Nikolic extended his lead for the MLS Golden Boot to three goals by scoring his 22nd, 23rd, and 24th goal in Chicago Fire’s win over Philadelphia Union. Diego Valeri moved definitively into second place with his 21st goal of the season, and David Villa now sits in third having failed to score in NYCFC’s loss to New England Revolution.

Chicago Fire 3-2 Philadelphia Union

Nemanja Nikolic hat trick gave the Fire win over the Union.

Nikolic opened the scoring for the night in the third minute when he got on the end of a great clearance by Brandon Vincent and brought it all the way to the net and slipped it past Union keeper Andre Blake. The Union levelled scoring when C.J. Sapong’s pass across goal was mistakenly put into the net by Johan Kappelhof for an own-goal in the sixth minute. Alejandro Bedoya sent the Union ahead in the 13th minute when he leapt to just slip the ball over an onrushing Matt Lampson to find the net.

Nemanja Nikolic netted a penalty earned by David Accam in the 64th minute. Nikolic earned his hat trick and extended his lead for the golden-boot award in the 78th minute with a precise finish of Brandon Vincent’s pass.

New England Revolution 2-1 New York City FC

The Revolution managed win over ten-man NYCFC despite late goal rush.

NYCFC’s Jack Harrison was shown a straight-red in the 26th minute for a reckless challenge on the Revolution’s Teal Bunbury, leaving NYCFC with just ten men for the rest of the match.

Diego Fagundez capitalized on the advantage in the 51st minute with a magnificent shot from 22-yards out. Fagundez doubled the lead in the second minute of extra time with a solid finish of a rebounded save by NYCFC’s Sean Johnson. Khiry Shelton scored a consolation goal for NYCFC in the third minute of extra time with a header over the out-stretched arms of Revolution Keeper Brad Knighton.

New York Red Bulls 0-0 Atlanta United FC

The honours were even between the Red Bulls and Atlanta, despite superb efforts from both teams.

It was a night for the keepers in New York, with both Atlanta’s Brad Guzan and the Red Bull’s Luis Robles putting on spectacular shows and making several vital saves each throughout the game.

Orlando City SC 0-1 Columbus Crew SC

Columbus managed to win against Orlando in Kaka’s last home match for Orlando.

Ola Kamara netted the only goal of the night in the 66th minute with a clean finish of Hector Jimenez’ cross. With a commanding performance, the Crew managed to hold Orlando to zero shots on goal, though allowing thirteen shots to be taken.

Toronto FC 1-0 Montreal Impact

Toronto manage win in Sebastian Giovinco’s first game back from injury.

Jozy Altidore scored the winning goal in the 16th minute with a crisp finish of a deflected Marco Delgado pass. In the first minute of added time in the first half, Sebastian Giovinco earned and then subsequently missed a penalty to mar his return to action.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Real Salt Lake

The Rapids edge RSL thanks to early goal to hinder their playoff search.

Joshua Gatt earned the Rapids the win in the third minute with his finish under the outstretched Nick Romando.

LA Galaxy 3-0 Minnesota United

The Galaxy earn a big win to help ease the pain of missing out on the playoffs.

The Galaxy took the lead in the eleventh minute thanks to a curled finish by Romain Alessandrini. Jonathan Dos Santos scored the second goal of the night in the 22nd minute with a header that was originally ruled not a goal, but was confirmed by VAR.

Alessandrini made it three for the Galaxy in the third minute of extra time with a slick finish past Minnesota keeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

Portland Timbers 4-0 DC United

The Timbers dominate in convincing win over DC to clinch playoff spot.

Diego Valeri opened scoring in the third minute of added time with an expertly placed penalty, earned by Darren Mattocks.

Alvas Powell doubled the Timbers’ lead in the 50th minute with acurled finish from just outside the box. Sebastian Blanco raffled home the Timbers’ third in the 60th minute. Blanco earned his brace in the 86th minute after beating the DC keeper and several defenders before tucking the ball into the net.

Seattle Sounders 4-0 FC Dallas

Dallas was left reeling after second-half blitz that clinched a playoff spot for the Sounders.

Victor Rodriguez gave the sounders a first-half lead in the 31st minute with a great finish assisted by Clint Dempsey following a defensive error by Javier Morales.

Will Bruin doubled the Sounders’ lead in the 64th minute with a finish of a rebounded save by Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzalez. Bruin earned his brace three minutes later with a finish from just inside the box. Lamar Neagle scored the Sounders’ fourth and final goal of the night in the second minute of extra time with a headed finish of Nicolas Lodeiro’s cross.

Sporting Kansas City 0-0 Houston Dynamo

Scoring was left level between two teams guaranteed a spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

The dynamo can look to keeper Tyler Deric for someone to thank for their draw against a very attack-minded SKC. SKC made double the attempts on goal that Houston made, yet despite these efforts were held to a draw. These two teams, having already secured playoff spots, were looking to gain a better seeding in the Western Conference playoffs with a victory tonight.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes

The Whitecaps managed to hold an exciting Earthquakes team to a draw thanks to first-half goal.

Yordy Reyna opened scoring for the Whitecaps in the 29th minute with a tap-in of Jakob Nerwinski’s pass across goal.

Valeri Qazaishvili brought a dominant-looking Earthquakes level in the 77th minute with a finish into the far corner of the net, assisted with a back-heel pass by Chris Wondolowski.