New York secures playoff spot
New York Red Bulls clinched a spot in the Major League Soccer playoffs by drawing with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, while the San Jose Earthquakes secured the Supporters’ Shield as the team with the best record in the regular season.
New York played a scoreless home draw against Eastern Conference-leading Sporting, with the Kansas City club’s failure to win meaning they cannot catch San Jose for the overall best record.
New York, which has never won an MLS title, clinched a spot in the 10-team playoffs because Columbus Crew – the only team outside the Eastern playoff spots that could have broken in – lost 3-2 at D.C. United.
San Jose – which hosts Los Angeles on Sunday – earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, though they also had the best record in 2005, when they were knocked out in the quarterfinals.
Kansas City extended its unbeaten streak to 11 games.
Macoumba Kandji opened the scoring for Houston but Philadelphia equalized through Jack McInerney in the 19th minute.
Oscar Boniek Garcia and Brad Davis scored in the space of five minutes midway through the second half to seal the victory.
D.C. secured its 3-2 home win over Columbus with a stoppage-time goal from Lewis Neal. Needing only a point to book its first playoff appearance in five years, United twice fell behind.
Eddie Gaven opened the scoring in the seventh minute for Columbus – which had to win to stay alive – but Nick DeLeon tapped in a rebound in the 39th minute to equalize.
Jairo Arrieta quickly restored the visitors’ advantage, which they held until the break.
Marcelo Saragosa again pulled D.C. level in the 59th minute and the victory was sealed when Neal beat the goalkeeper to a loose ball and knocked it into the empty net.
Portland finished 3-1-2 against its Pacific Northwest rivals to take the Cascadia Cup. Seattle was 2-1-3, and Vancouver 0-3-3.
The Timbers (8-16-9) won for the first time on the road this season and ended a six-game losing streak before a disappointed sellout crowd of 21,000 at B.C. Place Stadium.
Steven Smith started the scoring play from the left flank, sending a rolling cross to Franck Songo’o near the top of the 18-yard box. Songo’o tapped the ball back to Jewsbury and he quickly fired his shot home.
The Whitecaps controlled much of the play thereafter, but could not get the equalizer.
The Sounders (15-7-11, 56 points), who already have clinched their fourth straight MLS playoff berth, climbed into a second-place tie with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference. Both teams have one game remaining.
”This was obviously one of the most important games of the year so far. We make a statement tonight, we carry this to next Sunday (in the regular-season finale at Los Angeles, and we give ourselves a chance going into the playoffs,” Evans said.
The loss eliminated FC Dallas (9-13-11, 38 points) from playoff contention, securing the fifth and final spot in the West for Vancouver.
The Sounders did not have head coach Sigi Schmid on the sidelines. He was serving a one-game suspension after making comments critical of the officiating following Wednesday’s 0-0 tie with Salt Lake in Seattle. Lead assistant coach Brian Schmetzer ran the team in Schmid’s absence.
Seattle’s Fredy Montero started the play that led to Evans’ tie-breaking goal early in the 60th minute. Montero took a quick throw-in down the left sideline. The ball went to Christian Tiffert, who brought it into the left side of the penalty area. He crossed it to Evans, and, from just to the right of the penalty spot, Evans beat Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman to the back left corner for his fourth goal of the year.
The penalty kick was Seattle’s first since March 23, when Evans also converted in a 2-0 victory against Houston.
”It was bound to happen,” Evans said. ”Some teams get `em all, some teams don’t. Fredy made a good touch and baited the guy and got the PK.”
Evans gave the Sounders a 1-0 lead with a penalty kick early in the 32nd minute. Mauro Rosales tallied in the 79th minute for Seattle, his third goal of the season.
Blas Perez scored his team-leading ninth goal of the year for Dallas.
Its playoff hopes dashed, FC Dallas will wind up the season next Saturday at home against Chivas USA.
”Well, it’s not just this game, it’s the whole season,” said coach Schellas Hyndman, whose team still had a chance to stay alive after Vancouver dropped a 1-0 decision to Portland earlier on Sunday. ”For what we have on our team, not just with the injuries and suspensions, but the things we could have done a little better at I don’t know how much more I could get out of them. We had Seattle twice at home, and both games, we think we outplayed them and found a way not to win. It has been a whole-season thing.”
Sunday’s crowd of 38,755 fans at CenturyLink Field helped the Sounders break their own MLS single-season record for average attendance. Seattle averaged 43,144, beating its old mark of 38.498 from 2011.