LA Galaxy continue to find wins easy to come by in Major League Soccer, seemingly unlike the whole of the Eastern Conference. Here's the Week 27 action.
The match week got started with the ten men of Columbus Crew sharing the points with Houston Dynamo. Emmanuel Ekpo lasted only 10 minutes before shoving an aggressive hand into the face of Adam Moffat right under the nose of the referee. Jevaughn Watson furthered Houston's advantage by heading in the opener but it was the Crew who led as the game entered the final minutes. Both their goals came from Andres Mendoza and both were penalties, the first being clipped in calmly after Cam Weaver's handball, the second rolled into the opposite corner after Watson was harshly deemed to have fouled Dilly Duka. But a twist remained, and it arrived in the shape of Calen Carr's shot into the roof of the net in the 86th minute, which earned a point for the Dynamo.
The Crew's hold on the East weakened when they were beaten by Philadelphia Union, the only goal of the game coming from Sebastien Le Toux. He latched onto a pass over the top from Roger Torres after half an hour and coolly beat Will Hesmer to secure maximum points.
Houston's second game was a 2-1 defeat of San Jose Earthquakes in a fixure that to me always feels like a ghost playing against its unexpected living offspring. Khari Stephenson put the Quakes in front with a lovely volleyed finish after a quick break by San Jose down the right. Brad Davis had been denied a penalty in the first half, but won one in the first minute of the second. He took the spot kick himself and equalised. The winner came with 10 minutes left on the clock, rookie Will Bruin showing awareness and strength before finishing neatly.
Portland Timbers cruised against New England Revolution, winning 3-0 at Jeld-Wen Field. Diego Chara finished off the fortuitous first in the ninth minute, and on the half hour Kenny Cooper made it two by knocking in Mike Chabala's powerful cross on the line. Darlington Nagbe sealed the deal in the middle of the second half, heading past a stranded Matt Reis.
An old-fashioned slobberknocker between Chicago Fire and Chivas USA resulted in a 3-2 win for the Fire. Cory Gibbs headed the first home from a corner for Chicago, and the second was an unfortunate own goal by Juan Pablo Angel before Gibbs' over-the-top tackle earned him a red card. Angel made amends with a goal at the right end after the break, racing across his man and blasting it into the bottom corner to make it 2-1. Two minutes later they were level through Nick LaBrocca's delightful finish with the ball loose after a corner, but ten-man Chicago earned all three points with Dominic Oduro's late goal with Chivas shouting desperately and wrongly for offside.
New York Red Bulls won for the first time since 6th July, beating FC Dallas by a single Luke Rodgers goal. Dallas started much more brightly, but Juan Agudelo broke onto a long ball in the 36th minute and squared for Rodgers, whose finish was scruffy but effective.
One goal was enough to see Real Salt Lake past Sporting Kansas City. Nat Borchers got it, heading in Kyle Beckerman's free kick ten minutes into the second half.
Seattle Sounders consolidated in second in the West, thumping DC United to the tune of three goals to nil. Mike Fucito slipped the ball past Joe Willis for 1-0, and two from Alvaro Fernandez either side of half time made it an easy win for the Sounders. He finished after Fredy Montero had pounced on poor defending for the first, and he scored again on the hour to polish off the victory.
LA Galaxy eased themselves to a 3-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps. Mike Magee opened the scoring, turning the ball home from Robbie Keane's cross, and the Irishman made it 2-0 with a header from six yards in the second half. Magee's second put the cherry on the icing, a header of his own.
Those results leave LA seven points clear of Seattle at the top of the West, wth Salt Lake in third and Dallas slipping out of the automatic playoff positions. Vancouver remain bottom.
In the East, Columbus and Kansas City are separated by one point at the top, with both Philadelphia and Houston now two points off the top.
You can see the tables here and watch all the Week 27 action here.