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Winners and Losers from MLS Matches from August 29-31

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2014

Winners and Losers from MLS Matches from August 29-31

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    After a frantic set of games last week, things in Major League Soccer quieted down a bit in Week 25. 

    Aside from the crazy goings on at Sporting Park Friday night, this weekend's set of matches felt a bit dull compared to recent weeks. 

    Despite the lack of production on the offensive side of the ball, there were still a decent amount of controversial calls, defensive lapses and standout performances. And there was also the second managerial sacking of the year. 

    Continue reading for our weekly list of the biggest winners and losers in MLS.

Loser: Ryan Nelsen

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    Let's just get this out of the way now. 

    Ryan Nelsen, the man who stepped away from his playing career to jump right into the managerial business, was sacked by Toronto FC after the Reds lost 3-0 to New England at home. 

    The former D.C. United defender did not go down without a fight, as he let his opinion be known about the pressure coming down from management on the team heading into the game, per Kurtis Larson of the Toronto Sun. 

    The ousting of Nelsen was officially announced Sunday in a press conference, where Toronto general manager Tim Bezbatchenko named assistant general manager Greg Vanney the new man in charge. 

Winner: David Horst

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    On more than a few occasions this season, David Horst has found his way into the doghouse for some lousy defending, so it's only right that we give him credit for his showing Friday. 

    Horst took advantage of some terrible defending by Sporting Kansas City to score the second Dynamo goal in the 62nd minute of a wild affair at Sporting Park. 

    The center-back also got under the skin of Sporting forward Dom Dwyer for most of the match to provide plenty of fireworks in the box. 

Losers: Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber and Kofi Sarkodie

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    It is one thing to play chippy in a big match. 

    It is another thing to play ugly and earn a costly yellow card. 

    Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber and Kofi Sarkodie all acted like idiots in a short span at Sporting Park to earn cautions that will cost them each a league game. 

    Dwyer was booked in the 40th minute for some extracurricular activities in the box, while Feilhaber and Sarkodie got into a shoving match to earn their respective spots in Mark Geiger's book. 

    Dwyer and Feilhaber will miss Sporting's clash with New England Wednesday, while Sarkodie will be absent from Houston's match with Montreal Saturday. 

Winner: Robert Earnshaw

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    Who needs Jermaine Jones when you have Robert Earnshaw? 

    For the second straight week, the new signing came off the bench to score for Chicago. 

    This time around, Earnshaw netted the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over FC Dallas that kept the Fire alive in the wild and crazy Eastern Conference playoff race. 

Loser: Erick Torres

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    You can't really blame Erick Torres for not wanting to take part in the next Chivas USA game given the fact that the Goats failed to score for the entire month of August. 

    Torres will miss his side's next game after he was shown a straight red in Sunday's SuperClasico match against the Galaxy.

    The star striker slid studs up into the legs of Baggio Husidic in the 75th minute to earn the first red card of his MLS career. 

Winner: Portland

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    For the first time this season, the Timbers were able to hold a clean sheet against a side not named Chivas USA. 

    Portland came out of BC Place with a big 3-0 win over Vancouver, and with a spot above the red line in the Western Conference standings. 

    Caleb Porter's side now sit on 34 points with two months left in the season, but they will have to hold off challenges from Vancouver and Colorado for the final playoff spot in the West. 

Winners: Goalkeepers

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    After taking a beating over the last few weeks, the goalkeepers of the league stepped up to provide some stability to the scoreboard this weekend. 

    Seven of the eight victorious teams came away with a clean sheet, while Houston was the only winning team to concede in its 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. 

    The shutouts were not limited to the home sides across the league either, as New England, Portland and LA all held a clean sheet in road games. 

Loser: Ibrahim Sekagya

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    If you read this piece weekly, you know that we like to call out defenders for their poor play, which is why Ibrahim Sekagya makes an appearance here this week. 

    The Red Bulls center-back had an awful day in his side's 2-0 loss to D.C. with his biggest mistake coming on the first goal that was scored by Luis Silva. 

    Sekagya failed to communicate with keeper Luis Robles in the build-up to the goal, and before he could slide in to clear the ball, Silva put the ball into an empty net. 

    He was eventually lifted from the pitch in the 81st minute in favor of Saer Sene after he left plenty of open space for the D.C. attackers to take advantage of all day. 

Loser: Jordan Stewart

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    San Jose's defense have not earned high marks over the last few weeks, but they did put in a solid showing Saturday night. 

    Jordan Stewart was one of those players in the Earthquakes back four that had a decent night, but he was on the wrong end of a penalty call in the 34th minute.

    Stewart and Real Salt Lake's Olmes Garcia went in for a 50-50 challenge in the box, but since Garcia went to ground, the penalty call was easy to make. 

    After a few looks at the replay, Stewart had plenty of reasons to be upset, as the challenge didn't cause much harm to the RSL forward. 

Winner: LA

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    Nothing can slow down the LA Galaxy at the moment. 

    Bruce Arena's side sit two points behind Seattle in the West, and in the Supporters' Shield standings, after a terrific four-game run to end August. 

    The 3-0 win over Chivas USA Sunday saw the Galaxy's goal total move to 12 over the last four games. 

    During that span, the on-fire side have received two clean sheets from Jaime Penedo, and they have conceded only four goals. 

     

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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