Atlanta win puts NYCFC in playoffs; Sporting KC extends home streak
Atlanta United handed New York City FC an Eastern Conference playoff berth with a 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Sunday.
Hector Villalba and Jeff Larentowicz scored to position the expansion side one step closer to reaching the playoffs in their first season in the league.
And it was Villalba who opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a fantastic strike from distance -- the Argentine attacker nutmegging a defender before firing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Larentowicz then sealed the three points 17 minutes from time with a fine diving header of a Julian Gressel cross.
The win puts Atlanta on 49 points -- three points behind second-place NYCFC, which drew with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
Sporting Kansas City held off the struggling LA Galaxy 2-1 to extend their home unbeaten streak.
First-half goals from Daniel Salloi and Diego Rubio moved Kansas City to second in the Western Conference, while Romain Alessandrini collected a consolation strike for second-from-bottom LA.
The win at Children's Mercy Park lengthens Sporting's home unbeaten streak to 24 games, which is the third-longest such run in MLS history.
And it was Salloi who got SKC off and running after 18 minutes, when he nipped in ahead of the last defender to toe-poke Rubio's cross past goalkeeper Clement Diop from close range.
Rubio then got a goal of his own in the 35th minute after Seth Sinovic ran onto a through-ball before unselfishly laying off for an easy finish.
The Galaxy would pull a goal back in the second half -- Alessandrini curling his free kick around the wall and out of SKC keeper Tim Melia's reach -- but it wasn't enough as Sporting held on for the victory.
Diego Valeri scored twice to extend his MLS-record scoring streak to nine straight games as the Portland Timbers cruised past nine-man Orlando City 3-0 at Providence Park.
Darren Mattocks was taken down in the box by Jonathan Spector in the 14th minute. Valeri stepped up and converted the ensuing spot-kick to hand the home side an early lead.
Mattocks doubled the lead in the 29th with a sliding finish of Dairon Asprilla's rolled cross from the right.
Spector was given a second yellow two minutes after halftime for a foul on Valeri. And Valeri completed his brace 12 minutes later, cleaning up the rebound from a well-worked move at the far post.
Victor Giro was shown a red card for violent conduct with six minutes remaining.
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