MLS weekend roundup: Revolution down Toronto FC, D.C. United rolls on

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Another weekend of MLS matches are in the books, and listed below is a short recap for each of the nine matches that occurred.

Sporting Kansas City 1-3 Houston Dynamo: Will Bruin, David Horst and Ricardo Clark scored for Houston, as Dom Dwyer notched a goal for the opposition in an NBC-covered MLS match (recap here).

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Colorado Rapids: Unsurprisingly, Seattle Sounders FC will stay in the Western Conference’s top spot and, as has been customary this year, they remain very strong contenders in the Supporters Shield race. It was the lone goal from U.S. star Clint Dempsey that proved to be the difference in this match. In the 53rd minute, Marco Pappa delivered a cornice kick into the box, aiming towards the former Fulham striker, who smacked a volley off the inside of his right leg to cap a great finish.

Toronto FC 0-3 New England Revolution: Big news broke when the New England Revolution signed United States international Jermaine Jones to their ailing midfield, and the 32-year-old did make his debut, but not before the Revs had put themselves into a comfortable lead. Lee Nguyen pinpointed a low shot into the bottom corner of the net to get the 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute. Kelyn Rowe’s screamer from distance then increased the advantage to 2-0, before Teal Bunbury’ simple close-range strike in the 58th minute essentially ended it.

Montreal Impact 2-0 Columbus Crew: The Montreal Impact’s new Designated Player, Ignacio Piatti, has already showed why his services are definitely necessary to tack wins on the board for Frank Klopas’ side. Piatti totaled the brace in this game, Montreal’s only two goals, in the 40th minute and deep into stoppage time. His first score arrived on some fancy footwork just inside the penalty area before he executed an excellent finish. Then, Piatti roofed the game-decider off Marco DiVaio’s deflected ball in front of the net.

Chicago Fire 1-0 FC Dallas: This match didn’t deviate from the trend of the one-man scoring crew, as Robert Earnshaw totaled the only goal of night, his second consecutive tally. In the 83rd minute, Jeff Larentowicz lobbed a cross into the center of the box, and Earnshaw was there to tuck his header just inside the far post for the timely conclusion. Chicago is battling to snag the fifth and final playoff position in the East. FC Dallas, despite the loss, sits solidly in the top of the Western Conference table.

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-3 Portland Timbers: The Timbers didn’t let their Cascadia rivals get very close to victory, and the three points gained by Caleb Porter’s crew now have them in the in the fifth-place playoff spot, one point in front of Vancouver. Alvas Powell opened up the appreciable amount of scoring in the 51st minute, nailing home a headed effort at the near post. Then, Maximiliano Urruti, nearly falling backwards, crushed a shot off the crossbar in the 75th minute for the next score, and four minutes later, Rodney Wallace added another one.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Real Salt Lake: Real Salt Lake the San Jose Earthquakes went head-to-head to try to gain the victory, but neither side could break the knotted scoreline. Chris Wondolowski, usually known for his goal scoring ability, snagged the assist to Sam Cronin in the 14th minute. But before halftime in the 36th minute, Javier Morales easily slotted away a penalty kick to draw the game level. Real’s one point put them in third place in the West, definitely looking to make the playoffs in a top seed. Being at ninth place in the same conference, San Jose needed the win.

D.C. United 2-0 New York Red Bulls: United’s form has been one of the most consistent this season, and hence, they are one of the best teams in the league, defeating the Red Bulls to provide a slight cushion in the Eastern Conference. Luis Silva and Eddie Johnson scored D.C.’s goals. NBC had the game covered for you (recap here).

Chivas USA 0-3 LA Galaxy: Youngster Gyasi Zardes, boasting the most goals of any American in MLS (12), must be giving the Galaxy bright hopes for their future at forward. He tallied a brace, along with Robbie Keane’s wonderful chipped goal in the 71st minute, to beat their cross-town rivals handily. USMNT international Landon Donovan also was on the assisting end of both Zardes’ goals, and with this win, the Galaxy pose at second place in the West. Chivas’ scoreless run increased to 546 consecutive minutes, which is actually the worst in the league this year.

New York Red Bulls introduce space at RBA for autistic families

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls
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HARRISON, N.J. (AP) The Red Bulls have announced plans for a permanent sensory-friendly space at their stadium for families impacted by autism.

Formerly executive offices, the space overlooking midfield is a calm area that is free from the crowds and the noise of Red Bull Arena during matches. Families can use it for free.

The team announced the new space on Saturday before the Red Bulls were set to host the Chicago Fire. It was Autism Awareness Night at the stadium.

“Families deserve to feel welcome and comfortable each time they step foot into Red Bull Arena, not just one night a year,” Red Bulls GM Marc de Grandpre said in a statement released by the club. “We hope all sports teams and entertainment venues are inspired to take similar action to provide comfort for families with loved ones on the autism spectrum.”

League Two game restarted in empty stadium after fans storm field

Photo credit: BBC Sport / Twitter: @BBCSport
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LONDON (AP) An English soccer game restarted in an empty stadium after a pitch invasion led to the crowd being told the fixture had been abandoned.

There were five minutes remaining in Leyton Orient’s fourth-tier game against Colchester on Saturday when a sit-down protest was staged on the pitch by Orient fans against Italian owner Francesco Becchetti.

It forced the referee to take the players off the field. The protests lasted for more than an hour before the crowd was told the game had been abandoned and the stadium eventually cleared. The teams came out and finished the game.

Leyton Orient lost 3-1 a week after its relegation from the English Football League was confirmed after 112 years.

“A decision was taken with the police to announce that the game had been abandoned as it was felt this would help clear the pitch, which proved correct,” the EFL said in a statement. “However, it was deemed appropriate that the game needed to be played to a conclusion in order to maintain the integrity of the competition.”

La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid hold serve in tight title race

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Super-duper Sunday preview — North London derby, plus 6 of top 7 ]

Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona

Barcelona are doing all they can do — win — in their bid to usurp Real Madrid in the race for the title. While they entered the weekend — and still are — ahead of their El Clasico rivals based on head-to-head results this season, Los Blancos still have a game in hand which will surely decide whether Madrid claim their 33rd top-division title, or a 25th for Barca.

On Saturday, Luis Enrique’s side had more than just the title at stake — also at stake: the Derbi Barceloni, against fellow Catalan side Espanyol.

For 45 minutes, the home side held firm and refused to break, but once Luis Suarez put the Blaugrana ahead in the 50th minute, that was all she wrote. Ivan Rakitic doubled the advantage in the 76th minute, and Suarez completed the scoring 11 minutes later.

Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia

By the time the derby kicked off, Madrid had already applied the pressure and gone three points clear with a 2-1 victory that was a whole lot closer than the final score indicates.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark, and Zinedine Zidane’s side was well on its way to victory. Ronaldo followed up his opening goal with a missed penalty kick 10 minutes into the second half, and Daniel Parejo pulled the visitors level with a sensational free kick just eight minutes before the end of regular time. Points looked sure to be dropped, and the door opened wider for Barca, but Marcelo was prepared to play the part of hero on the day, and the Brazilian left back bagged one of the season’s more improbable goals, a right-footed strike from the top of the box, in the 86th minute.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Las Palmas 0-5 Atletico Madrid
Real Sociedad 2-1 Granada

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Osasuna vs. Deportivo La Coruña — 6 a.m. ET
Real Betis vs. Alaves — 10:15 a.m. ET
Eibar vs. Leganes — 12:30 p.m. ET
Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:45 p.m. ET

Monday’s La Liga schedule

Malaga vs. Sevilla — 3 p.m. ET

Championship Focus: It’s all about the playoff places now

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With Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United having already clinched the Championship’s two automatic promotion places, all eyes turn to the four teams behind them still jockeying for playoff positioning…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s coverage of the Championship ]

3rd — Reading — 82 points, +2 GD
4th — Sheffield Wednesday — 81 points, +16 GD
5th — Huddersfield Town — 81 points, +1 GD
6th — Fulham — 77 points, +27 GD

First of all, the Championship remains the least sensible league in the world. Disagree? Just try to explain the above wildly varying points totals and the corresponding goal differentials. Go ahead, I’ll wait

As for the weekend’s results, Reading and Wednesday did themselves major favors in the race for third with victories over Wigan Athletic (1-0) and Ipswich Town (1-0), respectively, while Huddersfield, who entered the weekend in that top playoff place, played 67 minutes with a man advantage against Birmingham City, and lost 2-0. All three of Reading, Wednesday and Huddersfield have clinched their place in the promotion playoffs, which begin two weeks from Saturday, on May 13.

[ MORE: PL Sunday preview — North London derby, plus 6 of the top 7 play ]

Given Leeds United’s 3-3 draw with Norwich City, a win would have clinched the fourth and final playoff place for Fulham, but the Cottagers dropped a pair of points themselves in a 1-1 draw with Brentford at Craven Cottage. Still, Fulham are all but into the playoffs with a three-point lead on Leeds, and a goal differential that’s 13 goals better.