Hairston leads Colorado over Vancouver 2-0 to close on lead

COMMERCE CITY, Colorado (AP) " Colorado's Marlon Hairston scored one goal and set up another as the Rapids beat Vancouver 2-0 on Saturday to keep up the pressure on Major League Soccer leader Dallas.

The Rapids closed within three points of Western Conference leader Dallas and have two games in hand after getting back in the winning groove following a loss in their previous game which ended a 15-game unbeaten streak.

The gap at the top of the East also narrowed as Toronto beat New England to move within a point of New York City, while Real Salt Lake strengthened a claim on a playoff berth by beating struggling Chicago.

Colorado went ahead just before halftime when Hairston knocked in a cross from Marc Burch. The lead was doubled in the 60th minute when Hairston provided the cross for Dominique Badji to finish.

The Rapids kept another clean sheet and have relied heavily on strong defense this season, pushing for top spot despite scoring only 26 goals in 22 games.

The defeat left the Whitecaps winless in four games and their push for a playoff berth is stalling.

Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco notched his second hat trick of the season to take over the league scoring lead and power the Canadian club to a 4-1 victory over New England.

The Italian national team striker has 15 goals, two more than New York City's David Villa.

Toronto has won four straight, all at home, and is unbeaten in nine games in row at BMO Field.

Giovinco opened the scoring in the 20th minute, putting the rebound off Michael Bradley's strike past the goalkeeper. The Atomic Ant struck again in the 29th, curling a shot into the far corner from just outside the area. The Italian completed the hat trick in the 76th from the penalty spot after Darrius Barnes took down Jonathan Osorio in the area.

Teal Bunbury scored for New England in the 88th minute but Jozy Altidore restored the three-goal margin with a stoppage time goal.

Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales had two goals and an assist to set up a 3-1 victory over Chicago.

Olmes Garcia finished Morales' cross in the 14th minute to open the scoring, and Juan Manuel Martinez drew a penalty in the area that led to Morales' penalty and a 2-0 RSL lead in the 28th.

Chicago pulled a goal back early in the second half when Arturo Alvarez scored against his own team, but Morales put RSL back in control in the 64th when he fired in off the post.

Montreal's Matteo Mancosu, on loan from Bologna, scored in his first MLS start as a replacement for the suspended Didier Drogba and that was enough for the Impact to beat Houston 1-0.

D.C. United's Steve Birnbaum scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time to salvage a point for the home side in a 2-2 draw against Philadelphia.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 28 Sep 2016 09:59:16 Processing Time: 536ms