Three weeks down in Major League Soccer, and it's no surprise to see Sporting Kansas City at the top of the East. But they made difficult work of opening up their three-point lead in the final game of Week 3.
St Hat-trick's Day hero David Estrada bagged his fourth MLS goal after less than 25 minutes at CenturyLink Field to set Seattle Sounders on their way to a 2-0 win over Houston Dynamo on Friday. His volley from 25 yards deflected viciously to beat Tally Hall and Seattle soon doubled their lead. Patrick Ianni was fouled by Geoff Cameron, and Brad Evans swept the ball past Hall to make it 2-0.
Roger Levesque squandered a golden chance to kill off the game just after the break, but Houston couldn't make him pay. The game's aftermath was dominated by the news that Houston's Colin Clark had been caught on microphone and camera using a homophobic term (preceded by a well-known swear) in the direction of a ball boy who hadn't returned the ball quite to his liking. He has since apologised.
Visitors San Jose Earthquakes made short work of Toronto FC, enjoying a 3-0 win at BMO Field. Chris Wondolowski headed in Sam Cronin's cross in the ninth minute to open the scoring, but the Quakes had to wait significantly longer for their second. Shea Salinas scored it, running onto a loose ball in the 56th minute that should have long since been cleared by a red shirt and keeping it low to find the net. Wondolowski made it three by punishing TFC for yet more shambolic defending. He inexplicably failed to secure the hat-trick from close range with four minutes left.
Columbus Crew showed the expansion club, Montreal Impact, who's boss with a 2-0 win at Crew Stadium. The Crew gained a numerical advantage inside the first half hour, when Jeb Brovsky was dismissed for an elbow - risky rather than vicious - on Milovan Mirosevic. The Chilean midfielder soon made it 1-0 from the penalty spot, drilling the ball in from 12 yards after Emilio Renteria had been fouled.
After 65 minutes Olman Vargas rose to plant a thumping header past Donovan Ricketts to make it 2-0, not 30 seconds after coach Robert Warzycha had told the touchline reporter he felt his side needed a second goal. Ricketts' performance kept the score down with more than one excellent save, but he could do nothing about the goals and the Crew bagged maximum points.
New England Revolution picked up their first win of the campaign, beating Portland Timbers 1-0 at Gillette Stadium. Saer Sene scored the goal and did so early, heading in Chris Tierney's cross after fewer than 40 seconds to finish off a move in which he'd already played an intelligent part. Genuine chances were few and far between but it was Kris Boyd of the Timbers who missed the best, heading wide despite plenty of time and space.
The same score separated Chicago Fire from Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park, with Dominic Oduro winning it inside the first half hour. His towering 28th minute header from Marco Pappa's typically accurate cross could not be cancelled out by the Union and the Fire were delighted to bank three early points. Oduro's opportunity to double the lead came five minutes before the break, and he did everything right only to find Brian Carroll stretching to block his goalbound effort after the goalkeeper had been beaten. Pappa hit the post after 66 minutes but the Union were too ineffective to muster more than a couple of noteworthy efforts on goal.
It was yet another 1-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium, but it was a shock result when Chivas USA defeated Real Salt Lake. Salt Lake had a goal scrubbed off after ten minutes, with the referee deeming that their quick free kick had not been a legal one. Dan Kennedy and Nick Rimando in goal had to be on their respective games at either end, and it wasn't until the last 20 minutes that the Goats found their winner. Rimando was put under pressure by Casey Townsend when meeting a cross, and the Chivas man was on hand to volley home after the RSL keeper dropped the ball at his feet.
Vancouver Whitecaps and visitors DC United left the entertainment to be provided by the rest of the league, playing out a 0-0 draw north of the border. Camilo set up Eric Hassli with an accurate cross in the 30th minute but his stooping header flew wide, and Joe Cannon kept it level at the other end in the middle of the second half with a remarkable reaction save from Hamdi Salihi's header. The Whitecaps 'keeper had to be wise to Dwayne De Rosario's low shot as the clock ticked away, and neither team was ultimately able to break the deadlock.
Henry ghosted in behind the inexplicably absent Rapids defence in the 53rd minute and was found with a defensive free kick by Wilman Conde before making it 3-0, but it was Omar Cummings' 77th minute consolation that was the pick of the goals. Rafa Marquez was caught in possession and Cummings bent a lovely shot beyond Ryan Meara to make it 3-1. Cooper restored the advantage from close range with a minute left, Conde again the provider. In stoppage time, Henry wasted a great chance to take home the match ball.
In-form Sporting Kansas City had to come from a goal behind to beat FC Dallas on Sunday, which they eventually did 2-1. Ricardo Villar put Dallas in front mid-way through the first period with a free kick from just outside the area, leaving Jimmy Nielsen stranded way too close to the opposite post. SKC's equaliser came through Aurelien Collin, whose lovely shiny head rose to meet Graham Zusi's superbly placed free kick in first half stoppage time.
Sporting Club won a penalty soon after the restart thanks to Ugo Ihemelu's foul on Chance Myers, but Kei Kamara's kick was saved excellently by Kevin Hartman. The winner came late, and was scored by Kamara, who redeemed himself with an easy finish from Myers' cross. This time, Hartman had gone walkabout and could do nothing to prevent the goal.