The Red Bulls, with a 5-3 win at D.C. United, are just three points below the Eastern Conference line in 11th place, lightening pressure around extending their league-record 13-year playoff streak. Attacking midfielder Omir Fernandez (2g/0a) and left back John Tolkin (1g/1a) were both difference-makers against DCU at rain-soaked Audi Field.
Sporting KC, for their part, held on for a 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo FC while playing with 10 men for 50-plus minutes. Homegrown right back Jake Davis had arguably his best MLS game to date, and manager Peter Vermes pressed the right buttons as the Western Conference club sits 10th (one point below the line) upon chasing a postseason return.
Atlanta United are now one of six playoff-bound teams in the East, thanks to star performances from winger Xande Silva (1g/1a) and midfielder Thiago Almada (1g/1a) in a 4-1 rout of CF Montréal. St. Louis CITY SC have also nearly locked up the West's No. 1 seed, with midfielder Njabulo Blom's first-ever professional goal ensuring a 2-1 win at Minnesota United FC.
Luciano Acosta (1g/1a), fresh off a contract extension, moved FC Cincinnati closer to the Supporters' Shield in a 3-0 dismantling of Charlotte FC. New York City FC vaulted above the East's playoff line via a 3-0 win over Toronto FC, with winger Andres Jasson (1g/0a) continuing his underrated campaign. Although D.C. suffered a home defeat to RBNY and fell below the playoff line, striker Christian Benteke's first-half hat trick was mighty impressive.
Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Pedro Gallese (ORL) - John Tolkin (RBNY), Justen Glad (RSL), Jake Davis (SKC) - Thiago Almada (ATL), Njabulo Blom (STL), Luciano Acosta (CIN), Omir Fernandez (RBNY) - Xande Silva (ATL), Christian Benteke (DC), Andres Jasson (NYC)
Coach: Peter Vermes (SKC)
Bench: Tim Melia (SKC), Carlos Akapo (SJ), Jesús Bueno (PHI), David Ruíz (MIA), Carles Gil (NE), Brian Gutiérrez (CHI), Santiago Moreno (POR), Michael Barrios (LA), Talles Magno (NYC)
Audi Goals Drive Progress
MLS Academies have been identified as one of the most important resources for building on-field talent in North America. Through the Audi Goals Drive Progress initiative, Audi has committed $1 million per season in an effort to advance academies league-wide, and to drive progress for the sport. For every goal scored in the regular season, Audi will contribute $200 into the Audi Goals Drive Progress fund to directly support each MLS Club Youth Academy.