Real Salt Lake

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MLS Snapshot: RSL climb into playoff position with win over POR

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The game in 100 words (or less): Look away, FC Dallas fans, because your six-week slide (winless in nine games, including five losses) has finally cost you one of the Western Conference’s top six places. If the season ended, and the playoffs started, today, the current Supporters’ Shield holders wouldn’t even be competing in the postseason. Currently taking their place, following Saturday’s 2-1 win over the second-place Portland Timbers, would be Real Salt Lake. With four wins from their last six games, Mike Petke’s team has settled on a system (4-2-3-1) and a lineup (Kyle Beckerman, flanked by Luke Mulholland, deep in midfield; Joao Plata and Jefferson Savarino either side of Albert Rusnak, the no. 10, and Luis Silva the lone striker leading the line) that’s picking up results and vaulting RSL up the standings on a weekly basis. Rusnak and Savarino (assisted by Rusnak) bagged the goals for RSL, nullifying Diego Valeri’s second-half equalizer, his eighth straight game with a goal scored to set a new MLS record.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — TFC’s Shield chase continues in LA ]

Three moments that mattered

14′ — Rusnak takes it himself, hammers home for 1-0 — Someone should probably consider stepping up to Rusnak, at some point, any point. Anybody.

47′ — Valeri heads his way into the record book — Of all 55 of Valeri’s regular-season goals, probably only two or three have been scored with his head, so of course he scores a record-breaking goal with his head.

61′ — Savarino sticks it upper-90 with authority — It’d be tough to hit one any more upper-90 than this one.

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Man of the match: Albert Rusnak

Goalscorers: Rusnak (14′), Valeri (47′), Savarino (61′)

MLS Snapshot: Whitecaps outlast RSL to go 3rd in jumbled West

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): Someone’s going to finish top of the Western Conference this season. By the competition rules of MLS, someone will finish the 34-game regular season in first place. No one’s saying the team to do so will be a “good” team, or whatsoever a threat to take MLS Cup from Toronto FC the Eastern Conference winner. Who knows, it might even be the Vancouver Whitecaps, who at no point during their entire existence the last two or three seasons have looked capable of stringing together three consecutive quality performances and establishing themselves as legitimate contenders. The first two-thirds of the 2017 season were merely more of the same for Carl Robinson’s side, with one gigantic exception: the West is extremely not-good this year. Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Real Salt Lake sends Vancouver third in the West, three points back of the Portland Timbers with three games in hand.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 26 | Weekend preview ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

29′ — Techera turns it in, past a flailing Rimando — Nick Rimando spent the last decade becoming/being the greatest goalkeeper in MLS history, but we all know Father Time is undefeated. We’ve seen him make this pretty routine save probably 300 times in his career. This time, he couldn’t get anywhere near it.

37′ — Ousted caught in two minds, tips ball into his own net — It’s tough to fault David Ousted here, as Yura Movsisyan presents the impossible choice of playing the cross or waiting for the impending header. So impossible, in fact, it’s tough to credit the goal to Movsisyan or Chris Wingert.

52′ — Waston slams home a rebound off the post — No one wants to see Rimando go out like this. I hate seeing it, you hate seeing it, everyone hates it. Heck of a finish from Kendall Waston, who’s not exactly the most composed player the world has ever seen.

55′ — Ousted makes a stunning, diving save — Justen Glad got up and get plenty of power on his header, but Ousted was eager to redeem his earlier blunder.

64′ — Reyna’s diving-missile header beats Rimando for 3-1 — There’s something so satisfying about a player flinging his entire body, head-first, at the ball and watching the back of the net bulge immediately thereafter.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Bernie Ibini-Isei

Goalscorers: Techera (29′), Wingert (37′), Waston (52′), Reyna (64′), Beltran (83′)

MLS Power Rankings — Week 26: Cup rematch’s collision course

Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images
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Are we headed for an MLS Cup Final rematch for the first time since 2012?

Toronto FC remains red-hot, and 2016 champions Seattle Sounders have joined the Reds as teams in fine form.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

It’s been some time since we last visited the Power Rankings, and there are some huge movers.

Two preseason favorites are in the Bottom Six, while one team has shot up 11 spots and into the Top Five.

Here are PST’s latest MLS Power Rankings as we head into another busy weekend:


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (20)

 

 

21 (18)

 

 

20 (15)

Colorado Rapids: Last win came July 1,

Orlando City SC: Let’s focus on the people of Central Florida instead of talking about their soccer club: Stay safe from the storm, Orlando.

 

LA Galaxy: The 3-0 win over Colorado, of course, ends a 9L-1T run. Need to scour the Earth for a third and fourth Dos Santos.

19 (21) Minnesota United: The Loons aren’t great, but have two wins in four and have you seen the bunch behind them?
18 (12) Philadelphia Union: Similar to D.C., the Loons have gone winless in five. The only saving grace? They host D.C. on Saturday.
  17 (3) FC Dallas: Like Sporting KC last season, the teams we deem the deepest in the league each Spring should bribe us to rescind the label.
16 (19) New England Revolution: There aren’t too many road heroes in MLS, but New England’s mark is especially deflating: zero wins, 10 losses, three ties. Coastal problems: Only San Jose has lost as many away days.
15 (22) DC United: See what happens when you sign good players? The Black-and-Red have three-straight wins, but still sit eight points back of sixth.
14 (17) San Jose Earthquakes: A good sextet of matches has the Quakes in the thick of the West’s playoff race. Marco Urena and Vako Qazaishvili are an under-appreciated duo.
13 (4) Chicago Fire: Saturday’s win at Montreal was just its third result since July 5, with only two wins in the bunch.
12 (14) Montreal Impact: Losers of two in-a-row since four-match win streak.
11 (5) Houston Dynamo: One loss in eight matches since July 1, but just three wins. Matches-in-hand on playoff rivals help the cause.
10 (13) Vancouver Whitecaps: Unspectacular but consistent, the ‘Caps haven’t lost back-to-back matches since March 18.
9 (7) New York Red Bulls: The 3-2 derby loss to NYC kickstarted a five-match downturn following four-match win streak.
8 (8) Atlanta United: The good? Just one loss since late June. The bad? Yet to win over last six weeks.
7 (8) Portland Timbers: We wouldn’t suggest betting on these fellas, for better or worse, but 4W-1L-2T since June 23, and the only loss was in Toronto.
6 (11) Columbus Crew: Unbeaten in four and angling for a home playoff match ahead of this weekend’s SKC test.
5 (16) Real Salt Lake: Nearly as hot as TFC, the Utah set may miss the playoffs thanks a horrible start and matches-in-hand for Vancouver, Houston, Dallas, and San Jose. If that happens, the West will exhale.
4 (5) Sporting KC: Losers of two of three, both on the road. A warning: SKC has only played three road matches in last eight, drawing the third.
3 (2)   New York City FC: Without Villa, Ring, and Herrera, Patrick Vieira’s men found a way past Sporting KC on Thursday.

2 (9) Seattle Sounders: Since losing at NYCFC on June 17, have six wins and five draws.
1 (1) Toronto FC: Since Sept. 7, 2016, Toronto is 22W-6L-12T, and their last loss came July 1. One of those losses came in PKs in the MLS Cup Final. The Reds are really, really good.

MLS Snapshot: Piatti brace lifts Impact | Crew, Orlando City draw

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact have proven to be a second-half of the season team the last several years, and that form appears to be holding true once more. Mauro Biello’s side won its fourth straight match on Saturday, while Ignacio Piatti continues to show he’s one of the most deadly scorers in the league. Meanwhile, RSL’s six-match unbeaten run is snapped north of the border, leaving the Western Conference side three points out of sixth place.

Three four moments that mattered

11′ — Piatti nets his first of the night — The Impact made this attack look so easy, and Ignacio Piatti simply won’t miss a chance like this one.

26′ — Evan Bush left motionless as RSL equalize — Luis Silva took matters into his own hands, and boy did he connect with this effort!

29′ — Impact punish poor RSL defense — Guess who? Piatti has his second of the evening.

47′ — Hosts begin to pile it on — Anthony Jackson-Hamel played provider in the first two goals, so it’s only fair he got one of his own.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Ignacio Piatti (11′, 29′), Luis Silva (26′), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (47′)


The game in 100 words (or less): Orlando City and the Crew settled for a point apiece on Saturday night, but for the former the club is running out of opportunities to pick up points in the playoff race. Giles Barnes pulled a goal back for the hosts after Lalas Abubakar netted his first MLS goal for the Crew, but Orlando couldn’t find a second. The Lions played up a man for the final 13 minutes, following Harrison Afful’s dismissal.

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Abubakar knocks in first MLS goal — Orlando City’s defensive woes are certainly notable as well, but for Lalas Abubakar this is a quality way to open his scoring account in MLS.

67′ — Barnes knots it up at 1-1 — The veteran MLS forward picked up his second goal of the season.

77′ — VAR used for red card decision — The video monitor came into play briefly in the second half, and Harrison Afful was sent off the pitch early after the referee viewed the defender’s elbow to the head of Yoshi Yotun.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Zack Steffen

Goalscorers: Lalas Abubakar (35′), Giles Barnes (67′)

MLS roundup: MNUFC pound DCU; 2 Kamara’s score 4 goals

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
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Minnesota United 4-0 D.C. United

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Christian Ramirez scored his 11th goal of the season, Bobby Shuttleworth had four saves and Minnesota United beat D.C. United 4-0 Saturday night to snap a five-game winless streak.

Ramirez scored in the seventh minute to end Minnesota’s goal drought at 358 minutes.

Shuttleworth has five shutouts this season for Minnesota (6-12-4).

Ramirez slipped behind the defense and put away a half-volley off a long, arcing pass from Kevin Molino for the first goal. Abu Danladi first-timed a feed from Molino just inside the post in the 40th and Jared Jeffrey’s own goal put Minnesota up 3-0 in the 58th minute. Miguel Ibarra added a goal in stoppage time.

D.C. United (5-14-3) has lost six in a row – the longest such streak since losing a franchise-record seven straight in 2013 – and has been outscored 17-6 during that stretch.


New England Revolution 3-0 Philadelphia Union

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Kei Kamara scored twice, and Juan Agudelo added a late goal in the New England Revolution’s 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

Kamara had his first multi-goal game since July 2016. He has seven goals this season

Kamara opened the scoring in the 38th minute, leaping to receive a high, arcing pass from Kelyn Rowe and beat goalkeeper John McCarthy. Kamara added his second in the 85th minute, and Agudelo put it out of reach with his eighth goal of the year four minutes later.

The Revolution (7-9-5) have won two straight following four consecutive losses.

Philadelphia (7-10-5) was playing without reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake. Blake suffered a hand injury for Jamaica in the Gold Cup final loss to the United States on Wednesday night.


Real Salt Lake 2-2 Columbus Crew SC

SANDY, Utah (AP) Ola Kamara scored two goals and the Columbus Crew rallied for a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Kamara tied it in the 60th minute, blasting a rebound into an open net. He slipped a pass behind the defense to a streaking Ethan Finlay, whose shot ricocheted off the crossbar to a wide-open Kamara for a half-volley from just outside the 6-yard box.

Kamara opened the scoring in the 15th, first-timing with the inside of his left foot a pass from Connor Maloney high into the net. Joao Plata converted from the spot in the 50th minute to tie it and Jefferson Savarino raced down the right sideline and beat goalkeeper Zack Steffen to give Columbus (10-11-2) a 2-1 lead in the 53rd.

Real Salt Lake outshot Columbus, which had only two shots on target, 20-13 but missed on several chances, including two that bounced off the post.

Real Salt Lake (7-12-4) is unbeaten in its last four.