Greg Vanney is aiming to build some momentum for the LA Galaxy as they look to end a run of four draws against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

The Galaxy are on a five-match winless run in MLS, with another goalless draw against Charlotte last weekend seeing them drop to fourth in the Western Conference.

After a run of four away games in their previous five outings, LA are now due to play four of their next five at Dignity Health Sports Park, which is also where they got their last win.

"This is a big phase for us to really build some momentum in all ways, being in front of our fans and being at home for this next stretch," said Vanney, as quoted in The Galactic Tribune.

"Obviously, we've got to go on the road once more, but hopefully build on the momentum and get some points."

Houston Dynamo have won just one of their last six MLS matches and dropped more points in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas last Saturday as they sit eighth in the West.

Ben Olsen is upbeat about the Dynamo’s recent performances, though he admits they need to learn lessons from their recent results.

"The reality is the performances aren't necessarily resembling the points that we're getting," he said.

"We're actually in a nice rhythm of consistency. I know it's hard to say that when we're not maximising points, but the way we're going about the games is pretty good, and it's pretty consistent.

"We'll keep working at it. That's all you can do. What else are you going to do, quit?"

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Joseph Paintsil

Paintsil has contributed to at least one goal in four straight home matches (two goals, three assists), including recording an assist in the last three.

Only one Galaxy player in the last decade has recorded an assist in four straight home matches: Douglas Costa between June and August 2023.

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

Amine Bassi scored his first goal of the season in Houston’s 1-1 draw with Dallas last weekend, becoming the ninth different Dynamo player to find the back of the net.

However, only one player has netted more than a single goal for them this campaign, with Aliyu netting four.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy’s 0-0 draw with Charlotte on Saturday was their fourth consecutive draw and they’ve shared the points a joint-league high seven times this year. LA have drawn five consecutive regular-season matches only once before, doing so in May 2009.

The Dynamo have lost only one of their last six away matches against the Galaxy dating back to 2017 (two wins, three draws). Houston have kept clean sheets in each of their last two visits, and the only team to keep three straight clean sheets at the Galaxy in MLS play is the Columbus Crew, who did so between 2004 and 2006.

However, the Dynamo have alternated between wins and losses on the road this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Austin in their last away match. Houston have won four away matches in a single regular season just once since 2014, winning four times away from home in 2022, including at the Galaxy.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 42.4%

Draw – 25.6%

Houston Dynamo – 32%

Nico Estevez considers FC Dallas' trip to Houston Dynamo FC a "great opportunity" for his side to lay down a real marker.

Dallas defeated Austin FC 2-1 last time out and have now taken seven points from the last nine on offer on home soil.

Away from home, however, they have taken just one point from a possible 15 this season, with Estevez now after points plus performances in his side's fourth Copa Tejas outing of the campaign.

"I think the team is working well," he said. "They are energetic and we are improving both in results and the level of play.

"We have to continue growing. This game is a great opportunity to do so away from home; to be able to achieve something more than just points and to be able to achieve something important that will help us.

"We are going to have to do many things well to be able to win against a rival as important as Houston."

The Dynamo went down 1-0 to Austin late on in midweek, placing them eighth in the Western Conference and six points better off than their next opponents, having played a game more.

Houston have scored the fewest goals of any side in the West (11), which head coach Ben Olsen acknowledged is down to a lack of quality in front of goal.

"It's decision making and quality in the moment," he said at his pre-match press conference. 

"It's not for the lack of getting in dangerous areas on the field. Checking boxes, you don't need a 2.0 expected goals to win games."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston Dynamo - Amine Bassi

The Dynamo had 17 shots against Austin without finding the net, six of which were on target - and three of those via Bassi alone.

Bassi's 1.8 shots per game is bettered only by Ibrahim Aliyu (2.5) this season among Houston players, yet he has registered zero goals thus far. That is something that must be put right.

FC Dallas - Petar Musa

Musa played a part in both of Dallas' goals in their victory over Austin, as he scored the opener himself and then assisted Jesus Ferreira for what proved to be the decisive goal.

The Croatia international has now contributed to five of Dallas' last seven MLS goals - three goals and two assists - meaning he is the man for Houston to stop.

MATCH PREDICTION: HOUSTON WIN

Houston's loss to Austin was their fourth defeat in their past seven league matches, compared to just two losses across their previous 17 outings dating back to last July.

Dallas have won three of their past four games in all competitions, meanwhile, having won just three out of 17 prior to this upturn in form. 

However, not since November 2020 have Dallas won three successive games across all competitions, while the home team in this fixture is unbeaten in the last 20 encounters between these sides - albeit 11 of those ending all square.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Houston - 42.2%
Draw - 29.3%
Dallas - 28.5%

Ben Olsen had to hold a few "tough conversations" to get the Houston Dynamo out of their slump, with Saturday's Texas derby at Austin FC offering them the chance for back-to-back wins.

The Dynamo approached Saturday's trip to Sporting Kansas City both winless and goalless in three MLS matches (one draw, two defeats), while they were also dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup by Detroit City FC.

However, goals from Hector Herrera and Ibrahim Aliyu handed them a 2-1 road win and lifted them into the top seven of the Western Conference – above Austin by a single point. 

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's grudge match against a team that won the reverse fixture less than a month ago, Olsen credited his players for coming through a tough patch. 

"I think some people were questioning us, and we've had a few tough conversations, particularly with the U.S. Open cup knockout. This was just a really good response," he said.

"We have to figure out when we are at our best, to think, 'who are we, at our best?'

"It was our defensive effort that we hung our hat on last year, so it's a bit of a renewed feeling of that being there."

Austin, by contrast, were on a run of four wins in six games before they were beaten 2-1 by another Texas rival in FC Dallas on Saturday.

Despite that reverse, centre-back Julio Cascante has praised the defensive work done by coach Josh Wolff, with Austin looking far more competitive than was the case in their dismal 2023 season.

"Despite everything, we've worked very hard on the defensive side," Cascante said.

"Emphasis has been placed on the defensive side, but defending is done as an entire team. It starts with the number nine. I think that makes the difference."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi

Driussi scored a consolation from the penalty spot at Dallas on Saturday, his third goal of the season in eight MLS starts. 

Only Diego Rubio, who has started three additional games, has matched that tally for Austin this year. The Argentine will be looking to carry his team's attacking hopes again here.

Houston Dynamo – Amine Bassi 

Bassi recorded his third assist of the season by teeing up Hector Herrera's 31st-minute strike against Sporting on Saturday. 

All three of Bassi's assists have come on goals from outside the box this season – Houston's only three strikes from outside the penalty area.

MATCH PREDICTION – AUSTIN FC WIN

Houston have won three of their first five road matches this year, having only recorded more than three regular-season away wins in one of the last 10 campaigns, winning four times on their travels in 2022.

However, Austin have won all four of their previous home matches against Houston, netting multiple goals in each contest. The Dynamo are one of two teams – alongside Kansas City – that Austin have hosted more than once while posting a 100 per cent record.

Austin have also won three straight at home after only winning once in their previous 10 outings at Q2 Stadium. Back on home soil after Saturday's derby loss, they will expect a different result. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Austin FC – 44.9%
Houston Dynamo – 26.9%
Draw – 28.2%

The Houston Dynamo took a "punch in the face" as they exited the U.S. Open Cup at the hands of Detroit City on Tuesday, but Ben Olsen expects his team to respond when they go to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

Defending U.S. Open Cup champions Houston squandered a 2-0 lead against their USL Championship opponents in midweek before losing a dramatic penalty shoot-out 10-9.

They now turn their attentions back to MLS, sitting eighth in the Western Conference with 14 points from their first 10 games of the year, and Olsen expects them to bounce back.

"It's a good punch in the face. But I think they'll respond," Olsen said.

"We have a good group in there and I think we have the right character to turn this into a positive."

Sporting KC trail Houston by just three points in the standings, but they made it through their own U.S. Open Cup tie against Union Omaha in midweek, winning 2-1 in extra time.

Boss Peter Vermes is not overly concerned by the physical toll taken by having to play 120 minutes, pointing out Houston did likewise only one day earlier.

"Houston had to do the same yesterday. The only thing is they have a day extra rest," he said.

"We have just got to do the best we can to recover and get ready for that game. It was good. We used all of our subs. 

"Everybody's getting minutes and now we just have got to get ourselves recovered and get ready for Houston on Saturday."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sporting KC – Johnny Russell

Russell has scored eight goals against the Dynamo in all competitions, more than against any other opponent in his Kansas City career. He has scored against Houston at least once in each of the last six years.

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

The Dynamo had a combined 22 shots on goal during their 0-0 draw with St. Louis City last Saturday, with top scorer Aliyu having five of those – the most by a Houston player in an MLS game this season.

The Nigerian has three goals this campaign and will be looking to get back on the scoresheet at the weekend.

MATCH PREDICTION: SPORTING KANSAS CITY WIN

Kansas City have won five straight home matches against Houston in all competitions and have only lost twice in their last 19 at home against the Dynamo in all competitions (11 wins, six draws) dating back to 2012.

However, Kansas City are winless in four straight home matches (two draws, two defeats) for the first time since a five-match drought between July and August in 2021. Sporting have conceded three times in each of their last four home matches, equalling the second-longest such streak in MLS history.

The Dynamo’s goalless draw with St. Louis City last week was their third straight regular-season match without a goal. Houston had been shut out in only two of their previous 18 regular-season matches dating back to last August. Their attacking issues mean Sporting go in as favourites. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Sporting Kansas City – 47.7%

Draw – 27.7%

Houston Dynamo – 24.6%

Bradley Carnell is eager to get going again when St. Louis City return to MLS action against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, two weeks on from their last game.

St. Louis were last in action on April 21, when Tomas Totland's last-gasp equaliser saw them claim a 3-3 draw against rivals Sporting Kansas City.

Carnell's team have only lost one of their last eight MLS games, though five of those have finished level to leave them ninth in the Western Conference standings, one point behind the Dynamo.

Speaking about the challenges of their long wait for a game, Carnell said: "The week off was nice, it gave us some time to plan and prep for the next few weeks and where we're going.

"There's going to be a ton of games so it's really important for us to do that. We can't change the calendar and it is what it is.

"We're excited about the games coming up, there's a lot of good teams among our opponents in the next couple of weeks."

Houston, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four league games including each of their last two, both of which came against Texas rivals in Austin FC (0-1) and FC Dallas (0-2).

Despite their downturn, boss Ben Olsen is choosing to remain upbeat and is certain things will turn, saying: "I can take a loss and I will say the guys gave everything, they continue to fight. 

"We'll get back to work and try to make the fans proud next week.

"We prepare for St. Louis the same way we prepared for Dallas. We'll just get back to work and keep going. 

"It's very early in the season. The last two games didn't go the way we want so we have to learn from it."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

Aliyu is the only Houston player with more than one goal to his name in MLS this year, netting three times. However, he has failed to score in their last three games, so he will be desperate to end that mini-drought here.

St. Louis City – Joao Klauss

Klauss is St. Louis' joint-leading scorer this season, his three goals only matched by Celio Pompeu after both players were on target against Sporting KC last time out.

The Brazilian has attempted a team-high 29 shots this term as well as creating 12 chances for team-mates, a tally only bettered by Pompeu (17).

MATCH PREDICTION – HOUSTON DYNAMO WIN

The Dynamo's first victory over St. Louis came in the second leg of this year's CONCACAF Champions Cup first round, a 1-0 home win that saw Houston into the round of 16. 

St. Louis had previously gone unbeaten in the first three meetings between the teams (two wins, one draw), including winning both matches in Missouri.

After winning their first three away matches in club history last year, St. Louis have only managed three wins in 22 road trips (six draws, 13 defeats). Houston, meanwhile, have won two of their last three at Shell Energy Stadium so enter Saturday's game as favourites.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY 

Houston Dynamo – 42%

St. Louis City – 29.7%

Draw – 28.3%

Midfielder Paul Arriola says FC Dallas need to start paying their supporters back in Saturday's Texas derby against the Houston Dynamo, having failed to impress in the early stages of the season.

Dallas sit 13th in the Western Conference standings with just five points from eight matches in 2024, their only victory coming against the San Jose Earthquakes in their season opener.

They have only taken two points from seven matches since then, putting head coach Nico Estevez under pressure. 

However, Arriola says a clash with their biggest rivals at Toyota Stadium represents a chance to put things right.

"Our fans have been great all season, we haven't shown up for them. It is motivation for us to go and beat Houston on Saturday and obtain three points," he said. 

Dallas were beaten 2-1 by the Colorado Rapids last time out, leading Estevez to question his players' character. 

"We turned up with fear, lacking in determination and character," the Dallas boss said after that match.

"It is very difficult to play like that because Colorado are one of the hardest working teams in the league on both sides of the ball."

Houston, meanwhile, are preparing for a second straight meeting with a state rival, having suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Austin FC – their third loss of the year – last week.

Star midfielder Hector Herrera made his first appearance of the season from the bench in that match, playing 30 minutes after recovering from a groin injury.

Head coach Ben Olsen said of the Mexican's return: "You can see when he comes on the field, the game changes for the better in some areas.

"Right after he came on, the pressure was turned up on them. We got into so many dangerous spots, but still that connection in the box just wasn't there."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

FC Dallas – Petar Musa

Musa is the only Dallas player with multiple goals to his name in MLS this season, having netted his second goal of 2024 in last week's loss to Colorado. 

Can he provide attacking inspiration for a team with just seven goals in eight games this year? 

Houston Dynamo – Hector Herrera 

While it remains to be seen whether Herrera is ready for a start, he could have a sizeable impact upon his return to action.

Last season, the Mexican led all Houston players for chances created (77), passes into the final third (835) and assists (13) in MLS play.

MATCH PREDICTION – FC DALLAS WIN

Dallas have made their second-worst start to an MLS campaign, only taking fewer than five points by this stage of a season when they earned four in 2009. They did, however, go on to make the playoffs that year.

With home advantage on their side, perhaps things will start to turn on Saturday. The Dynamo haven't won consecutive away MLS matches within a single season for almost 11 years, and they won their last road game 2-1 against Minnesota United.

Dallas tend to turn up for the derby, having gone unbeaten through their last 13 regular-season home matches against Houston (eight wins, five draws) in a run which stretches back to September 2011.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

FC Dallas – 44.6% 

Houston Dynamo – 26.5%

Draw – 28.9%

Gerardo Martino is an excellent man-manager and would have made Inter Miami MLS Cup contenders had a Lionel Messi-inspired Herons been able to gatecrash this year's playoffs.

That is the view of Houston Dynamo midfielder Hector Herrera, who played under the former Barcelona boss when he coached Mexico's national team between 2019 and 2022.

Having guided Atlanta United to the MLS Cup in 2018, Martino became Miami boss in July as the David Beckham-owned franchise brought in former Barcelona trio Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. 

Those arrivals immediately led to an upturn for Miami, who won the Leagues Cup in August following a series of mesmerising displays from Messi, but they were unable to force their way into the playoffs.

Messi only made four regular-season starts for Miami this year as the Argentina great battled a niggling injury, and the Herons ultimately finished nine points adrift of the Eastern Conference's wild card spots.

Miami will certainly be among the favourites to enjoy a postseason run in 2024, and Herrera feels their rivals were slightly fortunate to see them fall short this campaign.

Asked what makes Martino special as a coach, Herrera told Stats Perform: "I think his personality and the work he does on every team he has.

"That is what has made him win so many things and be so well-known in the world of football. 

"Personally, he is a coach who has helped me a lot, I have a great relationship with him and I love the way he plays. 

"He has shown it with every team he has had and until today at Inter Miami he gave another face to the team and got better results. 

"We knew that if they entered the playoffs, they were going to be one of the favourite teams and were going to compete for the championship."

Herrera fell just short of reaching the MLS Cup Final after the Dynamo were defeated by Los Angeles FC, who will face Columbus Crew following their comeback victory over Supporters' Shield winners FC Cincinnati.

Luis Suarez's proposed move to Inter Miami would be a suitable fit, with the striker capable of further growing the profile of MLS if he is reunited with Lionel Messi in Florida. 

That is according to Suarez's former Atletico Madrid team-mate Hector Herrera, who says the Uruguayan is a "winner" and would face no problems in adapting to the league.

Suarez has been strongly linked with a move to Miami, where Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have all been reunited with former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino.

Having won LaLiga five times during eight years in Spain with Barca and Atleti, Suarez returned to his boyhood club Nacional in 2022 before heading to Brazil to join Gremio for 2023.

Reports suggest Suarez may join Miami as a free agent after Gremio coach Renato Gaucho confirmed he is set to depart on Saturday, and Herrera believes MLS would be the perfect destination for the 36-year-old.

"Hopefully he can come to this league and help it continue to grow," the Houston Dynamo midfielder, who played with Suarez in Madrid between 2020 and 2022, told Stats Perform.

"With the quality of player he is and as a person, he will surely help any team that he comes to. It would be a pleasure to see him and face him again.

"He has played in many leagues, in many teams, and I don't think it will be difficult for him to adapt because he is a winner. 

"Obviously we know that he will contribute a lot to the team that he goes to, and to the whole league as well."

Suarez leads all Gremio players for goals (15) and assists (12) in the Brazilian top flight this season, with the team currently sitting in fourth after winning promotion back to the first tier last year.

Herrera feels he would be a real asset for Miami, who won the first trophy in their history in August as Messi led them to glory in the Leagues Cup.

Asked about the prospect of Suarez teaming up with Messi, Herrera said: "I have no doubt that he could go to that team because I know that they are great friends and their families have a good relationship. 

"It makes sense for him to come to Inter Miami. Messi's arrival gave another face and another perspective to the league and will help it grow. 

"We are talking about the current winner of the Ballon d'Or and it is a pleasure to have him in the league, to be able to face him and make MLS continue to grow. 

"We have seen the level that he has shown since he arrived, and surely next year will be even better."

Expansion franchise St Louis City's perfect start to their inaugural MLS season was ended by Minnesota United who triumphed 1-0 after Luis Amarilla's 78th-minute penalty on Saturday.

City had made MLS history by winning their first five games but that was ended by the Loons with Amarilla drilling home the spot kick after a needless challenge by Kyle Hiebert.

Hiebert brought down Amarilla just inside the box with a rash tackle when Jakob Nerwinski appeared to have Kervin Arriaga's wayward pass under control.

Substitute Samuel Adeniran came closest to equalising for St Louis, with a 95th-minute shot going over the bar after a great first touch from Klauss' right-wing cut back.

St Louis remain top of the table with 15 points from six games, but unbeaten Minnesota climb up to fourth in the Western Conference.

Cincinnati continued their impressive start to the season with a 1-0 home triumph over Inter Miami who slumped to their fourth straight defeat.

Yerson Mosquera scored the 45th-minute winner for Cincy, who are top of the Eastern Conference.

Giorgos Giakoumakis scored an early winner as Atlanta United moved up to second in the East with a 1-0 home win over New York Red Bulls, who are down in 12th in that conference.

Jordan Morris and Leo Chu scored first-half goals as Seattle Sounders stayed second in the West with a 2-1 victory at LA Galaxy, who are without a win and have only three points from five games.

LAFC remained unbeaten and third in the West despite a 0-0 draw at the winless Colorado Rapids, while SJ Earthquakes climbed to fifth with a 2-1 victory over Houston Dynamo with all three goals coming from penalties.

Vancouver Whitecaps snapped a run of three straight draws with a resounding 5-0 win over 10-man Montreal with Simon Becher scoring a double. Becher is the fastest player (87 minutes) in MLS history to score his first four goals.

Franck Boli rescued a 1-1 draw for Portland Timbers at Dallas, Chicago Fire and DC United drew 0-0 and Nashville triumphed 2-0 at Orlando City.

Federico Bernardeschi netted another spectacular goal with a strike straight from a corner in Toronto's 2-2 home draw with Charlotte.

Sporting KC remained winless after a 0-0 draw at Philadelphia Union, New England drew 1-1 with New York City and Real Salt Lake suffered their fourth straight loss, going down 4-0 to Columbus Crew.

Atlanta United lost their position atop the MLS' Eastern Conference standings after a surprise 6-1 hammering at the hands of the Columbus Crew on Saturday.

Atlanta boasted three wins and a draw from their first four matches of the season – and had won their past two by a combined margin of 8-1 – but they were no match for an inspired Columbus outfit in front of their home fans.

Crew forward Christian Ramirez bagged a brace in the second half, while Alexandru Matan was credited with three assists in Columbus' second win of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Seattle Sounders striker Jordan Morris raced out into the Golden Boot lead with a four-goal haul in his side's 4-1 away win against Sporting Kansas City.

The 28-year-old American more than doubled his three goals from the opening four matches, opening up a two-goal lead on rest of the competition.

With Atlanta going down, it was the New England Revolution capitalising and taking over as the Eastern Conference leaders, overcoming a first-half strike from Christian Benteke to defeat D.C. United 2-1.

The loss left D.C. near the bottom of the standings with four points from five matches, where they are joined by Charlotte after their 1-1 home draw against New York Red Bulls.

Cincinnati are the only undefeated team in the East through five matches, securing their third win with a 1-0 triumph over Nashville, to go with two draws as they sit one point behind New England.

A 92nd-minute winner gave the Chicago Fire a 3-2 victory away from home against Inter Miami – their first win of the season – while two goals in the first 10 minutes were enough for Orlando City to prevail 2-1 against the Philadelphia Union.

LA Galaxy remain winless after battling out a 0-0 draw against the Portland Timbers, while it was more dramatic for the Vancouver Whitecaps as they needed a 98th minute equaliser to snatch a point in their 1-1 tie with Minnesota.

Austin FC let a golden opportunity to climb the Western Conference slip away as they dropped points in a 1-1 home draw against the cellar-dwelling Colorado Rapids, who doubled their points tally for the season with the result.

A 55th-minute penalty from Amine Bassi was enough to give the Houston Dynamo a 1-0 win against New York City, while expansion side St. Louis City continued their perfect start to their first season with a convincing 4-0 drubbing of Real Salt Lake, leaving them the only side with the maximum 15 points from five matches.

In the late window, Los Angeles FC benefitted from a first-half red card to defeat FC Dallas 2-1, while Toronto FC battled out a scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Real Salt Lake and Orlando City both claimed Decision Day victories to book their spots in the 2022 MLS playoffs on a dramatic final day of the regular season.

RSL moved above Portland Timbers into the last playoffs spot in the Western Conference with their 3-1 victory, while Orlando achieved the same feat in the east after beating Columbus Crew 2-1 after a late penalty.

Pablo Mastroeni's RSL will take on two seed Austin in the first round of the MLS playoffs, navigating their way past Portland who started the day in sixth spot, but dropped to eighth, with Minnesota United also qualifying with their 2-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps.

Jefferson Savarino settled any nerves for RSL, who had claimed only three wins from their past 17 games, by curling in a 19th-minute opener before Rubio Rubin's deflected shot doubled their lead in the 48th minute.

Bode Hidalgo sealed RSL's playoffs spot with a classy finish in the 82nd minute, with Dairon Asprilla scoring a late consolation for the Timbers.

Minnesota, who will take on Dallas in the first round of the playoffs, got their win after Franco Fragapane's low 17th-minute drive. Jonathon Gonzalez added a second with a left-foot volley in the 77th minute to seal the Loons' spot.

Hany Mukhtar was confirmed as the MLS Golden Boot winner with 23 goals, although he did not score as Nashville locked in the five seed with a 1-0 win over Supporters Shield winners LAFC.

Teal Bunbury scored the only goal in the 53rd minute, with Nashville to face LA Galaxy in the playoffs. Galaxy beat Houston Dynamo 3-1 with Riqui Puig and Javier Hernandez among the scorers.

Facundo Torres converted an 84th-minute spot kick to send Orlando into the playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Crew. The Lions will take on Eastern Conference two seed Montreal.

Columbus came into the game one point ahead of Orlando and had gone ahead through Derick Etienne in the 38th minute.

Junior Urso leveled for Orlando in the 56th minute before Milos Degenek's handball led to Torres' decisive penalty, condemning the Crew to missing the playoffs.

Cincinnati clinched their spot in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, leapfrogging up into the five seed slot, with their 5-2 win at struggling DC United.

Brenner hit a hat-trick for Cincy, who will take on New York Red Bulls in the playoffs. The Red Bulls won 2-0 over Charlotte after Elias Manoel's double to secure the four seed.

Inter Miami lost 3-1 at home to Montreal, meaning Phil Neville's side slipped to the six seed and will take on reigning MLS Cup champions New York City. City beat Atlanta United 2-1 to clinch the three seed.

In other games, Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes drew 2-2, Chicago Fire drew 1-1 with New England and Austin and Colorado Rapids ended 1-1 after Diego Rubio's late equalizer for the visitors.

Eastern Conference winners Philadelphia Union thrashed Toronto 4-0 with Daniel Gazdag netting a hat-trick, while Western Conference three seed Dallas got past Sporting KC 2-1.

LAFC secured the Supporters' Shield for the second time in four years with Sunday's 2-1 win at Portland Timbers after Denis Bouanga's 95th-minute winner.

The Californian club capitalized on Philadelphia Union's 4-0 loss to Charlotte on Saturday, with Sunday's win moving them three points clear with one game to play. The MLS uses most wins as the first tiebreak if points are equal, with LAFC (21) ahead of Union (18).

Bouanga's maiden goal for LAFC came deep into second-half stoppage time and was the moment that clinched silverware, with the Gabon international jinking into the box before firing home a low shot.

Carlos Vela had a goalbound shot cleared off the line by Claudio Bravo in the 33rd minute, but the Mexican would not be denied with a curling left-foot strike from the edge of the box in the 51st minute.

Dairon Asprilla equalized with a powerful header from Bravo's 81st-minute cross, but Bouanga had the decisive intervention to clinch the Supporters' Shield for the visitors.

LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said: "These type of emotional endings in games seem to be a habit in this league, not quite sure why. We're ecstatic. We had a goal this year and we've achieved the first one."

Portland's loss meant Nashville clinched a playoffs spot for the third straight year despite losing 2-1 at home to lowly Houston Dynamo, for whom Sebastian Ferreira scored a double.

Seattle Sounders lost 1-0 at Sporting KC, confirming they will miss the playoffs for the first time in their 13-year history, marking the end of an era.

Reigning MLS Cup winners New York City made it back-to-back wins with a 2-1 home victory over Orlando City, who are hanging on for a playoffs spot.

Western Conference leaders LAFC re-discovered their form after a recent slump with a 3-1 home victory over Houston Dynamo on Sunday.

Carlos Vela scored a double, with both goals coming from the penalty spot, as LAFC secured only their second victory from their past eight games.

LAFC have a 15-1-0 record when scoring first this season although Houston leveled the game in the 24th minute from Corey Baird's classy goal after Vela netted an eighth-minute spotkick.

Vela restored LAFC's advantage from the spot on half-time after Fabrice Picault's handball was spotted by the VAR, with Ryan Hollingshead lifting home a third in the 52nd minute.

LAFC remain top of the Western Conference, nine points ahead of second-placed Austin, with two more matchdays until the postseason begins.

Gonzalo Higuain scored a 94th-minute winner to boost Inter Miami's playoffs hopes with a 3-2 road win over DC United, who had Christian Benteke net his first goal for the club.

Higuain struck the winner in the fourth of eight stoppage-time minutes, with a first-time strike from Deandre Yedlin's low cross from the right.

Benteke had opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a back-post left-foot volley, before Leonard Campana's double for Inter.

Taxiarchis Fountas equalised in the 57th minute before Higuain's late winner, which means Inter are seventh in the Eastern Conference, moving above Columbus Crew, who conceded again late in a 1-1 draw with Portland Timbers on Sunday.

The Crew were denied all three points with Santiago Moreno lashing home a 95th-minute equaliser for the Timbers, after Kevin Molino's first-half strike.

Gonzalo Higuain netted a double to keep Inter Miami's playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew that ended their three-game losing streak on Tuesday.

In a game halted at half-time for a lengthy period due to a weather delay, Higuain struck either side of the break to collect three points that puts Inter up to eighth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the seventh-placed Crew.

The 34-year-old former Real Madrid and Juventus forward opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a first-time finish on a fast break after Ariel Lassiter's pass.

Cucho Hernandez equalised for Columbus with a bouncing header in the 41st minute from Steven Moreira's cross.

The half-time delayed lasted more than two hours, with the second half commencing at 11:35pm local time, with Higuain having a good chance saved by Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room in the 54th minute.

The Argentine got the winner for Phil Neville's side in the 82nd minute with an angled left-foot finish beating Room at his near post from Alejandro Pozuelo's through-ball.

Montreal remained second in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 victory over Chicago Fire, for whom Xherdan Shaqiri netted a brace from the spot.

Kei Kamara scored a double, opening up a 2-0 lead within half an hour for Montreal, setting up the game-deciding goal for Zachary Brault-Guillard too.

New England's playoff hopes took another hit with a poor 3-1 loss away to struggling Houston Dynamo with Fabrice Picault netting a pair for the winners.

Carlos Vela was on the scoresheet as Western Conference leaders LAFC drew 1-1 at Minnesota United, while Sporting KC eased past DC United 3-0.

Javier Hernandez missed another spotkick before Riqui Puig took over penalty duties to net a season-saving 99th-minute equaliser in the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw at Nashville on Saturday.

Nashville had gone ahead in the 28th minute from Hany Mukhtar's penalty but Hernandez was the centre of attention once again.

The former Manchester United forward failed to convert a 97th-minute penalty attempting a Panenka last Sunday against Sporting KC, spurning a hat-trick and winner.

Hernandez stepped up again in the 55th minute after being bundled over by Shaquell Moore but had his low shot tipped around the post by goalkeeper Joel Willis.

With their season on the line, the Galaxy earned a late reprieve after a penalty was awarded for a Walker Zimmerman handball following VAR review, with the defender receiving a second yellow card.

But Riqui Puig grabbed the ball and took the responsibility instead of Hernandez, before firing just beyond Willis' fingertips for the goal.

The result means the Galaxy are winless in three games and sit eighth in the Western Conference on 40 points.

Western Conference leaders LAFC stumbled again, suffering their fourth loss in their past five games with a 2-1 defeat to Dallas.

Jesus Ferreira boosted his claims on a spot in USA's World Cup squad with a double for Dallas, while LAFC were reduced to 10 men after Ryan Hollingshead's 13th-minute red card.

Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union showed why they are arguably the best team in the MLS with a 5-1 thrashing of Orlando City securing their fifth straight victory.

Lewis Morgan scored a 78th-minute penalty to help New York Red Bulls secure a 2-1 home win over New England to firm up their grip on third in the east.

New York City suffered their seventh defeat from their past nine games, going down 1-0 to Charlotte.

Brenner scored a hat-trick as Cincinnati extended their unbeaten run to nine games, winning 6-0 over San Jose Earthquakes

Thiago Almada fired in a golazo as Atlanta United defeated Toronto 4-2, while Inter Miami slumped to a third straight loss with a 3-1 defeat at Chicago Fire.

Seattle Sounders toppled Austin 3-0, Houston Dynamo and Sporting KC drew 0-0, Portland Timbers edged Minnesota United 1-0, Colorado Rapids beat Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 and Real Salt Lake and DC United ended goalless.

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