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MLS Roundup: Toronto FC are the first team of the season to clinch playoff berth

This week saw several landmarks, with Toronto being the first team to secure a playoff berth, and Portland Timbers’ Diego Valeri equalling an MLS record for scoring in seven consecutive games. Though there were two outstanding performances from Atlanta United, the rest of the league fell behind Toronto in the race for the shield and the playoff picture is becoming more clouded. With ten games left for most teams, time is of the essence for bottom half teams that still have a chance to earn their way into the playoffs.

Chicago Fire 1-1 New York Red Bulls

Neither the Fire or the Red Bulls manage to earn all three in this close match.
Bradley Wright-Phillips got the Red Bulls off to an early start with a hopping finish in the seventh minute, assisted by a header across goal by Sacha Kljestan.
Nemanja Nikolic brought the Fire level in the 66th minute with a headed finish of Michael de Leeuw’s excellent touch into the middle of the box.

Toronto FC 4-0 San Jose Earthquakes

Toronto secured a playoff spot with a resounding victory over the Earthquakes.
Toronto began their night with an excellent goal by Victor Vazquez in the 26th minute after Earthquakes keeper Andrew Tarbell failed to touch the
Jozy Altidore scored his first of the night in the 48th minute with a tight finish, Victor Vazquez made the goal with a perfectly weighted through-ball. Altidore made his brace in the 64th minute by beating Tarbell with his headed effort. Jonathan Osorio netted Toronto’s fourth in the 66th with a fantastic shot from 20-yards out.

New York City FC 0-1 Portland Timbers

Portland manage win over a Shield-chasing NYCFC.
The Timbers scored the only goal of the match when Darren Mattocks dispossessed Andrea Pirlo and laid a ball across the goal for Diego Valeri to score in the 44th minute.

DC United 1-2 Orlando City SC

Orlando manage first win in eight games over a struggling DC despite going down to ten men.
Cyle Larin netted the first goal of the game in the 19th minute with a cool finish of Dom Dwyer’s cross. Giles Barnes doubled the lead in the 28th minute with a calm finish of a loose ball just in front of net.
Orlando were given a shake in the 79th minute when second-half substitute Servando Carrasco was sent off after receiving his second yellow card. Kofi Opare put DC on the board in the 89th minute after managing to slip the ball past Orlando keeper Joe Bendik. Orlando saw another player sent off when Seb Hines was shown a straight red in the fifth minute of extra time after retaliating to rough play from DC’s Lloyd Sam.

New England Revolution 1-0 Montreal Impact

The Revolution manage to edge the Impact to take all the points.
The Revolution scored the only goal of the game via a Lee Nguyen strike in the 68th minute following an excellent run right up the centre of the box.

Minnesota United FC 1-1 Philadelphia Union

Neither team does quite enough to earn the plaudits in this battle of the bottom Table.
C. J. Sapong scored for the Union in the fifth minute after getting on the end of a wonderful Fabrice Picault cross. Ethan Finlay equalized for Minnesota in the 40th minute after striking a ball that came loose after Union keeper Andre Blake bobbled his save of Francisco Calvo’s magnificent effort.

Houston Dynamo 0-1 Colorado Rapids

The Rapids manage first win in nine over the Dynamo with an extra-time goal. Coincidentally, their last win was a 3-1 win over the Dynamo on July 1st.
Despite it looking like the Dynamo would be the ones to score all game long, it was Dominique Badji of the Rapids who netted the first goal with a well-placed finish of Stefan Aigner’s lobbed pass.

Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2 Real Salt Lake

The Whitecaps manage to outscore a surprisingly strong RSL side.
Cristian Techera opened the scoring for the Whitecaps in the 29th minute with a first-touch shot off Jakob Nerwinski’s cross. Chris Wingert brought RSL level in the 37th minute after his shot just managed to trickle in after initially being saved by Whitecaps keeper David Ousted.
Kendall Waston restored the Whitecaps’ lead in the 52nd minute after neatly striking a loose ball just in front of goal. Yordy Reyna doubled the lead for the Whitecaps in the 64th minute with a diving header of Bernie Ibini-Isei’s pass across goal. RSL’s Tony Beltran scored in the 83rd minute after getting on the end of a nice forward pass by Jefferson Savarino.

Columbus Crew SC 1-1 Sporting Kansas City

The Crew manage a draw against an SKC team that is struggling to maintain a hold on the west.
Cristian Lobato scored his first ever MLS goal in the 19th minute following a mistake by Jonathan Mensah just inside the Columbus box. Ola Kamara brought the Crew level in the first minute of added time with a powerful headed finish of Pedro Santos’ corner kick.

Atlanta United 3-0 FC Dallas

Atlanta marked the debut of their new stadium with a convincing win over Dallas.
Atlanta had a penalty taken away in the fifth minute after VAR determined that Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzalez did not actually take down Josef Martinez inside the box. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez got Atlanta off the mark in the 14th minute after coolly finishing Hector Villalba’s flicked pass.
Josef Martinez doubled Atlanta’s lead less than a minute into the second half with a precise finish of Miguel Almiron’s pass across goal. Greg Garza netted Atlanta’s third in the 68th minute after Josef Martinez duped the Dallas defence by stepping over Hector Villalba’s through-pass.

Seattle Sounders FC 1-1 LA Galaxy

The Galaxy earn a draw over a struggling Sounders.
Gyasi Zardes put the Galaxy ahead in the 25th minute with a strong header from Romain Alessandrini’s cross.
Lamar Neagle brought the Sounders level in the 85th minute with a half-volleyed finish of Roman Torres’ cross. Roman Torres is then shown a red card in the 89th minute after seemingly bringing the Galaxy’s Jermain Jones.

Atlanta United 7-0 New England Revolution

Atlanta demolished a nine-man Revolution side thanks to a first-half hat-trick by Josef Martinez.
Josef Martinez got Atlanta off the mark in the second minute after an incredible run followed by a tight-angled finish. The Revolution’s Xavier Kouassi was shown a straight red card in the 16th minute after VAR determined that he recklessly went into a challenge on Yamil Asad. Josef Martinez netted his brace in the 31st minute with a well-placed penalty after a handball decision. The Revolution’s night was made even worse when Antonio Dalamea Mlinar was given a red card after VAR determined that his hand blocked a clear goal inside the box. Josef Martinez scored the subsequent penalty in the 39th minute to complete his hat-trick. Anton Walkes made it four for Atlanta in the second minute of added time when he netted from a tight angle after getting on the end of Greg Garza’s cross.
Kevin Kratz scored for Atlanta in the 70th minute with a beautiful free kick from 25-yards out. Yamil Asad added to Atlanta’s lead in the 73rd minute with a well-struck shot from just outside the box. Hector Villalba scored Atlanta’s seventh and final goal in the 90th minute after finishing a loose ball following a corner kick.

Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 Minnesota United

The Whitecaps go top of the West with a cool victory over Minnesota.
Yordy Reyna opened scoring for the Whitecaps in the fifth minute with a well-struck finish following his first touch of Marcel De Jong’s lobbed pass. Erik Hurtado doubled the Whitecaps’ lead in the 31st minute with a good finish of Brek Shea’s cross.
Brek Shea headed in the third for the Whitecaps in the 88th minute off Fredy Montero’s cross.

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