Diego Rubio

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Acosta, Rubio guide Rapids past Quakes (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Whether altitude played a factor or not Saturday night in Colorado, the Rapids were convincingly more efficient than a visiting San Jose Earthquakes. As expected, Matias Almeyda’s side easily won the possession battle – recording 65 percent – yet looked a step slower when defending and marking man-to-man. With the 2-1 loss, the Quakes remain fourth in the West, while Colorado keeps any hopes of clinching a playoff berth afloat.

Three moments that mattered

44′ — Acosta exploits a sleepy Quakes defense —

Guram Kashia was late to the scene, Daniel Vega was a step too far to the left. When the Quakes concede under Almeyda, it tends to be in sequences like these. Sports are defined by inches and seconds, so if you’re caught off guard, expect to be punished. Kellyn Acosta did just that to San Jose.

62′ — Vako continues his splendid run of form —

The Quakes had a pair of clear-cut opportunities, but only Vako, 26, was able to put it past Clint Irwin.

After a dreadful start to his 2019 campaign, the Georgian has turned his fortunes around, scoring four goals in his last five games. There are no sings of the him stopping, even with dynamic winger Cristian Espinoza missing on the opposite flank. Applause.

73′ — Rubio’s goal proves to be the difference —

With this game-winner, Diego Rubio is at six goals this season, just two shy of his personal best set last season with Sporting Kansas City. It was a good piece of finishing, too.

That’s two straight victories at home for Conor Casey and his Rapids. Who would have predicted this turnaround under the interim?

Three-team trade in MLS sees USMNT’s Rowe move

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Three players with international caps changed homes on Wednesday when Sporting KC, Colorado Rapids, and New England Revolution flipped assets.

It started with New England sending Kelyn Rowe to Colorado for Edgar Castillo. The Rapids then sent Rowe and $300,000 in allocation money to Sporting KC for Diego Rubio.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

Rowe, 27, mainly operates on the right side of the pitch, but is very versatile. He scored in one of his four USMNT caps, and was a fairly consistent threat in MLS before falling out of favor with Friedel. Rowe has 35 goals and 41 assists in 225 matches for the Revs.

Thirty-two year-old left back Castillo had a fine season with the Rapids, and brings 18 USMNT caps to the Revs. He went the entire 90 minutes in his last two U.S. appearances, both against Guatemala in 2016.

Rubio, 25, joins Kei Kamara atop the Colorado attack, which now can threaten in a few more ways to go with Kellyn Acosta.

Four-times capped by Chile, Rubio scored 11 times with six assists in 28 appearances for SKC this season. He finishes his Kansas City tenure with 20 goals in 65 total appearances for the club.

The moves make sense for all three teams, though KC has to feel the best on the day.

MLS Snapshot: SKC wasteful in front of goal, draw MNUFC

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): Saturday signaled little more than a series of missed chances for the Western Conference’s top teams, as Sporting Kansas City followed up the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 3-0 hammering at the hands of the New York Red Bulls with a disappointing road result of their own: a 1-1 draw with 10-man Minnesota United, a game which the visitors were far and away the better side over the first 60 minutes, and comfortable equals over the following 25 minutes, before creating a flurry of clear-cut chances over the final 10 minutes. Diego Rubio scored his sixth goal of the season to put Sporting KC ahead just before halftime, only to see Brent Kallman equalize six minutes from the end. A late red card resulted in chance after chance after chance for Sporting, all of which went oh so close to snatching three points and moving them to within a single point of Vancouver with a game in hand. Alas, they’ll chase a win in Houston on Wednesday in an attempt to pull even atop the West.

[ MORE: USMNT routs Panama to boost WC dreams in a big way ]

Three Four moments that mattered

45+2′ — Rubio finishes a ball from Blessing or 1-0 — The deft touch from Latif Blessing sets up Rubio, who endured a torrid night last Saturday. Nothing restarts the memory like scoring a goal.

59′ — Melia leaves the game with an injury — There’s no two ways about it: Tim Melia has been the best goalkeeper in MLS this season. No one else is worthy of consideration for such a title. If he’s to miss more than a week or two with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, that’s bad for Sporting.

84′ — Kallman heads home a late equalizer — Abu Danladi floated the ball over every blue shirt but one, Ike Opara, who was expected to mark three Loons on the play. He’s good, but that’s a big ask when the service is this good.

93′ — Shuttleworth denies Espinoza from point-blank range — Now with a man advantage, the final eight minutes of this game were nothing but chance after chance for Sporting. This was the pick of the litter, a header from three yards out that Bobby Shuttleworth somehow managed to save.

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Man of the match: Bobby Shuttleworth

Goalscorers: Rubio (45+2′), Kallman (84′)

MLS Snapshot: VAN end SKC’s home streak at 24, go 4 clear

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less more): The Vancouver Whitecaps picked up one of the biggest wins of the season on Saturday — a result which pushes them four points clear of the rest of the Western Conference (for the time being) — a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City. The result went a long way toward locking up home-field advantage during the West playoffs. What’s more impressive? They might have done so by ending the longest active home unbeaten streak in the league (third-longest in league history) to boot. What’s even more impressive than that? The trip to Children’s Mercy Park, matching up the West’s third- and first-place sides, came less than 72 hours after Carl Robinson’s side suffered defeat in Seattle. Sporting KC were denied a second penalty after a seemingly clear-cut foul following a penalty-area scramble post-corner kick. The game would finish with both sides down to 10 men after Graham Zusi and Cristian Bolaños were sent off during second-half stoppage time.

[ MORE: SKC, VAN face off for West supremacy; HOU still chasing playoffs ]

Three moments that mattered

10′ — Rubio smashes his penalty off the post — A couple inches to the right, and there’s a good chance Stefan Marinovic makes the save. This was only the beginning of Rubio’s frustrating evening.

14′ — Marinovic makes a tough save to deny Rubio — Zusi picked out Rubio eight yards from goal with a delightful cross, but the Chilean’s header wasn’t either side of Marinovic who stood his ground and made the save. Marinovic would make seven saves on the night.

53′ — Hurtado flicks one past Melia completely against the run of play — When using the phrase “completely against the run of play” in this instance, it means Vancouver hadn’t had a shot on goal all night, and had ventured into Sporting’s penalty area on only a few occasions.

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Man of the match: Stefan Marinovic

Goalscorers: Hurtado (53′)

MLS Snapshot: SKC top LA 2-1, make it 3 home wins in a week

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): Sporting Kansas City avoided the dreaded U.S. Open Cup hangover on Sunday, four short days after lifting the Cup here at Children’s Mercy Park, by beating the LA Galaxy, 2-1, to remain just a point back of the first-place Vancouver Whitecaps in the race for home-field advantage in the Western Conference. Daniel Salloi, scorer of the USOC-winning goal on Wednesday, and Diego Rubio put the exclamation point on a dominant first-performance by putting Sporting KC 2-0 ahead after 35 minutes. LA got a goal back through Romain Alessandrini’s curling free kick just before the hour mark, but that’s as close as Sigi Schmid’s side would get on the afternoon. The victory sets up a top-of-the-table clash between Sporting and Vancouver next Saturday. Also, Gyasi Zardes played 90 minutes at right back. It went about how you’d expect it to go.

[ MORE: TFC’s Shield celebration delayed | RSL end Seattle’s run at 13 ]

Three Four moments that mattered

1′ — Dos Santos should have seen red after 26 seconds — If video review wasn’t implemented to review plays like this, we should just get rid of video review altogether.

18′ — Salloi gets to Rubio’s cross, toe-pokes it home — Maybe Peter Vermes knew what he was doing when he traded Dom Dwyer, thus opening a boatload of minutes for Salloi and Rubio.

35′ — Rubio taps it in after Sinovic puts it on a platter — Sporting made this one look really, really easy.

58′ — Alessandrini curls a beauty past Melia — Not a whole lot Tim Melia could do about that one.

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

Man of the match: Diego Rubio

Goalscorers: Salloi (18′), Rubio (35′), Alessandrini (58′)