San Jose, Vancouver close in on MLS playoffs
SANTA CLARA, California (AP) — San Jose and Vancouver moved to the fringes of the MLS Western Conference playoff places with victories on Wednesday.
San Jose won 1-0 at home against Colorado, closing the gap between the two teams to one point, with the Rapids currently holding the fifth and final playoff berth.
Vancouver won 4-1 at Seattle — thanks to a Kekuta Manneh hat trick — to remain two points behind San Jose.
Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, Houston was held to a 0-0 home draw by Sporting Kansas City, keeping the third-placed Dynamo four points behind second-placed Sporting.
San Jose’s winner came in the 69th minute from striker Chris Wondolowski, who had been denied several times by saves. The reigning league MVP broke through with a powerful header from a Shea Salinas corner, netting his tenth goal of the season.
Vancouver kept a pulse in its playoff hopes with an impressive victory at high-flying Seattle.
Manneh took advantage of some poor defending and scored in the 12th, 42nd and 54th minutes, notching the Whitecaps’ first hat trick since entering the MLS in 2011.
The loss was Seattle’s first at home since dropping the season opener to Montreal back in March and could be a significant blow to the Sounders’ chances of winning the Supporters’ Shield for most regular-season points in the league.
It also prevented Seattle clinching the Cascadia Cup for the regional rivalry between the Sounders, Whitecaps and Portland Timbers.
Seattle must win Sunday at Portland to claim regional bragging rights, otherwise it’ll go to Vancouver.
The scoreless draw between Houston and Sporting Kansas City extended the Dynamo’s unbeaten streak to five games.