MLS Weekend Wrap
Not to be outdone by their counterparts from across the pond this weekend, Major League Soccer provided plenty of thrills in nine league matches.
The biggest of those thrills came from an old veteran of the English Premier League, Robbie Keane, who scored a hat-trick for the Galaxy in their come-from-behind win over Real Salt Lake.
In the Eastern Conference, Marco Di Vaio and Federico Higuain stepped to the forefront and recorded two goals each in their club's wins over D.C. and Toronto.
Who else shined this weekend in MLS?
Read on for comprehensive recaps of each of the nine matches played in MLS on Saturday and Sunday.
Montreal Impact 2, D.C. United 1
Goals: Marco Di Vaio (MTL) 43', 83'; Conor Doyle (DC) 81'
Plenty of late-match fireworks sparked up the excitement level at Stade Saputo on Saturday night.
With the host Impact leading by a goal, a rough tackle by D.C.'s James Riley on Justin Mapp resulted in a fracas on the touchline between both managers.
Marco Schallibaum and Ben Olsen were both ejected for their participation in the shouting match in the 75th minute, which suddenly made a dull second half more thrilling.
Just a few minutes after the rough and tumble on the touchline, Conor Doyle equalized for D.C. by way of an assist from Luis Silva.
However, the match would be tied for just two minutes after Di Vaio broke free and unleashed his 13th goal of the season past United keeper Bill Hamid.
With his brace, Di Vaio inched closer to Camilo and Mike Magee in the Golden Boot race, where he now sits just one goal behind the duo.
Columbus Crew 2, Toronto FC 0
Goals: Federico Higuain (CLB) 18', 67'
Columbus forward Federico Higuain made sure that the Crew would not suffer the same fate as in their last Trillium Cup battle with Toronto FC.
While this result was far from a match lost at the death, the brother of Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain provided plenty of talking points.
For the second consecutive week, the Argentinian delivered a double, and once again his second goal was a piece of brilliance.
Following up his Goal of the Week candidate from last week, Higuain sent a cheeky chip shot over the head over Toronto keeper Joe Bendik to clinch the Crew victory at home.
With his double, Higuain boosted his season total in goals to nine.
New England Revolution 2, Chicago Fire 0
Goals: Juan Agudelo (NE) 54'; Kelyn Rowe (NE) 91'
The match at Gillette Stadium between New England and Chicago belonged to Juan Agudelo.
The Revolution forward, who will join EPL side Stoke City in January, scored in the 54th minute on an acrobatic goal that will surely rival Higuain's chip for the Goal of the Week award.
Agudelo's creative goal was added to by Kelyn Rowe's stoppage-time strike that buried the visitors for good.
There was also plenty of drama toward the end of the match as Chicago manager Frank Klopas was sent off and after the match, New England's Saer Sene and Fire defender Bakary Soumare were disciplined as well for a skirmish that developed between the two clubs.
New England also saw first-choice keeper Matt Reis return to the net for the first time since March, and he recorded his third consecutive clean sheet.
New York Red Bulls 0, Philadelphia Union 0
The Philadelphia Union recorded their first point at Red Bull Arena in franchise history in a disappointing goalless draw against rival New York.
Both goalkeepers were tested throughout the match, but in the end, neither club could muster a single goal.
One of the best chances of the match came in the 73rd minute when Sebastien Le Toux's shot hit the inside of the crossbar and bounced out to deny the Union a full three points.
With Montreal winning earlier in the night, the result at Red Bull Arena failed to benefit either of the I-95 rivals in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Houston Dynamo 3, Seattle Sounders 1
Goals: Giles Barnes (HOU) 17', 21'; Shalrie Joseph (SEA) 65'; Will Bruin (HOU) 74'
Clint Dempsey's Texas homecoming was ruined by the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Dynamo forward and former EPL player Giles Barnes put the hosts in front in the 17th minute and then scored four minutes later with a blistering rocket that blew past Michael Gspurning and into the Seattle net.
Seattle attempted a comeback in the second half after Shalrie Joseph headed in their only goal of the match in the 65th minute.
However, that comeback was quelled nine minutes later as Will Bruin sealed the Dynamo victory that put the club back into the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff position.
Colorado Rapids 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 0
Goals: Deshorn Brown (COL) 36'; Edson Buddle (COL) 79'
Colorado came out on top of the battle between the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the Western Conference standings at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Deshorn Brown netted his second goal in three matches in the 36th minute to put the host Rapids ahead, and they would never look back after that point.
Edson Buddle added icing to the victory cake that the Rapids would eat after the match as he came off the bench in the second half and scored in the 79th minute.
The win handed Oscar Pareja's club a massive boost in the Western Conference playoff race, which is tightening up by the week.
Los Angeles Galaxy 4, Real Salt Lake 2
Goals: Joao Plata (RSL) 53'; Robbie Keane (LA) 56', 67', 86'; Omar Gonzalez (LA) 75'; Robbie Findley (RSL) 94'
With the Supporters' Shield leaders ahead by a goal at the StubHub Center, the two-time defending MLS Cup champions Galaxy scored four unanswered goals to assert their authority.
Three of the Galaxy's four second-half goals came by way of Robbie Keane, who recorded his second hat-trick and seventh multi-goal match since joining MLS in 2011.
The other goalscorer on the night for Bruce Arena's club was freshly minted designated player Omar Gonzalez, who headed in a Landon Donovan corner in the 75th minute.
The loss did not take away RSL's lead atop the Western Conference standings, but it did cut their advantage to just three points over Colorado and four over Los Angeles.
Portland Timbers 2, FC Dallas 1
Goals: Ryan Johnson (POR) 26'; Mauro Diaz (FCD) 28'; Darlington Nagbe (POR) 33'
A wild and wacky first half at Jeld-Wen Field gave fans the only three goals that they would see in the match between FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers.
Portland opened the scoring in the 26th minute through a header by Ryan Johnson and ended the seven-minute goal-scoring span when Darlington Nagbe struck in the 33rd minute.
In between the duo of Timbers goals, Mauro Diaz scored his first goal for FC Dallas on the counter in the 28th minute.
The win kept Portland on track with Colorado and Los Angeles in the pursuit of Real Salt Lake's stronghold on top of the Western Conference.
For the losers, Schellas Hyndman's club have now dropped to seventh place in the West, and they extended their winless streak to 11 matches.
San Jose Earthquakes 1, Sporting Kansas City 0
Goal: Chris Wondolowski (SJ) 55'
San Jose continued their home domination of Sporting Kansas City with a victory on Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Earthquakes extended their home unbeaten streak against Sporting to 14 matches, a streak that is even longer if you include two playoff matches.
Chris Wondolowski's headed goal in the 55th minute continued a personal streak of five consecutive matches in which he has scored against Sporting.
Wondolowski was also the star off of the pitch as fans were handed bobbleheads of the forward as they entered the gates.
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