Real Salt Lake was able to come away from Sunday’s carnage across the Western Conference playoff picture with a secured spot in the postseason, but a number of other clubs in the hunt weren’t so lucky.
Jefferson Savarino bagged a 75th minute winner to put RSL past Houston Dynamo 2-1, pushing them up to fifth in the Western Conference standings and securing a playoff position with 50 points, six above the cut line. The shot was a low drive from the edge of the box that caught Tyler Deric too close to his near post.
Not every team in the playoff hunt was so lucky. The Portland Timbers came from behind to draw Sporting Kansas City on the road 2-2, but it wasn’t enough to clinch, as they remain just two points above the cut line. The match featured three red cards, including the decisive moment in the 84th minute when Jeremy Ebobisse was tugged back by Ilie Sanchez while free on goal. It was a clear penalty and the referee sent off the Sporting KC defender for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Dairon Asprilla stepped up and produced a blistering penalty into the top-right corner, earning Portland the draw. The lone point still leaves them vulnerable, however, and now they face a do-or-die meeting with San Jose next weekend.
Speaking of the Earthquakes, they were pegged back at the death, denied a chance to jump above the cut line as Jordan Morris scored at the death, using his blistering speed to beat Florian Jungwirth to a poor back-pass header by Magnus Eriksson. On the break he finished cooly past Daniel Vega to fire an arrow into the hearts of the Earthquakes. San Jose can still find its way into the playoffs, controlling its own destiny, but they must win next week against the Timbers
Finally, FC Dallas slumped to a rough 3-0 defeat at Colorado, leaving them vulnerable as well as the final playoff team in the current standings, holding just a point advantage over the Earthquakes. FC Dallas out-shot Colorado 17-14, but were comprehensively beaten 10-3 in shots on target as their finishing let them down. Jack Price scored 10 minutes in to put Colorado up, and goals from Diego Rubio and Kei Kamara finished it off. They have a home date with Sporting KC on the final day where a win would clinch a playoff spot.
Kei Kamara has scored plenty of goals at Children’s Mercy Park, but none like his bicycle kick goal on Saturday.
The 35-year-old, now in his 16th season, showcased his penchant for scoring right before halftime against his former team. The goal makes 12 for the Colorado Rapids’ forward this season, placing him within the top 10 of the league and two begin his 14-goal season last year.
Overall, Kamara is fifth in the all-time MLS scoring list with 124 goals, second among active players behind San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski.
Enjoy a superb goal from a superb goalscoerer.
LA Galaxy smashed Sporting Kansas City 7-2 on Sunday, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick then called himself the best player in MLS history.
Just a casual Sunday for Zlatan, then…
Ibrahimovic, 37, scored a hat trick as LA raced into a 7-1 lead after falling 1-0 behind early on as Felipe Gutierrez scored both of Sporting’s goals.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Ibrahimovic was typically humble after his hat trick which means he now holds the record for the highest scoring season in Galaxy history with 26 goals.
“I think I am the best ever to play in MLS. And that’s without joking,” Ibrahimovic said. “Scoring goals is easy, you just have to be like Zlatan and it’s coming.”
Zlatan is now two goals behind Carlos Vela in the race for the Golden Boot in MLS with four games remaining, and he’s now scored 48 goals in 52 games since arriving in MLS.
Joe Corona, Uriel Antuna and Sebastian Lletget grabbed the Galaxy’s other goals as they won for the first time in five MLS games to boost their chances of making the playoffs in the congested Western Conference.
With the defeat Sporting KC’s hopes of reaching the playoffs is all but over.
Check out the highlights in full below. It will take quite a while to sort through the nine goals, so set down and soak in Zlatan’s brilliance.
Five games with playoff implications on the line, now that’s a MLS Sunday you don’t want to miss.
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Things kickoff with the Portland Timbers hosting D.C. United, and comes to a close with a vital Western Conference showdown between Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy, who look to jump back into a playoff position.
In between, the Real Salt Lake look to remain second in the Western Conference as they travel to Allianz Field to take on an inconsistent Minnesota United, while the Seattle Sounders hope to jump ahead of RSL in the standings as they host the New York Red Bulls.
Sunday’s full MLS schedule
Portland Timbers v. D.C. United — 3 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. Colorado Rapids — 5 p.m. ET
Minnesota United v. Real Salt Lake — 5:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. New York Red Bulls — 6 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy v. Sporting Kansas City — 10 p.m. ET
The game in 200 words (or less): A lot was on the line at Providence Park on Saturday night. Visiting Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers, separated only by three points prior to kickoff, were equally as desperate for a three points as the playoff race intensified. When the first whistle blew and the team’s got settled in, it was obvious that there was a lot at stake. Despite approaching the game in a conservative manner, Peter Vermes and Co. were destined to win a four straight – until a late Timbers surge occurred. Hampered with a a slew of officiating decisions going against them, Portland caught their first break when Jeremy Ebobisse struck late in the game. It would be turn out to be two in the final 10 minutes, though, as substitute Brian Fernandez delivered the game-winning goal for a Timbers that are now sixth in the West with six games to play. What a night in Portland.
Three moments that mattered
65′ — Feilhaber adds to his list of frame-worthy goals — When it comes to scoring stunners, very few do it like Feilhaber.
83′ — Ebobisse levels the score — Just by the way Ebobisse decided to “celebrate,” one could tell last-minute magic was on the way.
90′+4 — Fernandez earns Portland valuable victory — Brian Fernandez for the win, of course.
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Man of the match: Diego Valeri
Goalscorers: Feilhaber (65′), Ebobisse (83′), Fernandez (90’+4)