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Football Americana Week 19: Mov rules

The American football psyche may have been dominated by the Gold Cup and the All-Star game lately, but the relentless march of Major League Soccer continues. Week 19 got underway at Rio Tinto on Friday, where FC Dallas gave their hosts a fright - briefly.

Jeff Cunningham mugged Real Salt Lake's Will Johnson on 20 yards and fired past Nick Rimando to put FCD ahead in the 13th minute. Eight minutes later the lead was doubled. David Ferreira found Dave van den Bergh with a perfect first-time ball across the box, and the big man made no mistake in beating Rimando.

The second half was a different story. Yura Movsisyan broke the offside trap in the 55th minute to roll the ball past Ray Burse and pull one back. An "interesting" penalty was awarded to RSL in the 60th minute, converted coolly by Robbie Findlay. Cunningham had no such composure, providing Rimando with an easy spot kick save ten minutes later, and from there on in it was all Real Salt Lake. They got their rewards in the 88th minute, Fabian Espindola's cross turned into the Dallas goal by an unfortunate Daniel Torres. Movsisyan made it four, taking full advantage of his pace to beat Burse with Ease for 4-2. FCD's Drew Moor was dismissed in stoppage time for a horror tackle.

There were no goals at Qwest Field, where Seattle Sounders shared the spoils with Chicago Fire. John Thorrington of Chicago picked up a yellow card in the 40th minute for dissent and was sent off for his second in the 54th. It was fully deserved, Thorrington going to ground to put in a clear and cynical foul. Freddie Ljungberg stupidly joined him, getting himself booked for a dive on the hour and then going face to face with the referee to earn a red card.

It was a right old humdinger at Crew stadium on Saturday. Eddie Gaven fired Columbus Crew in front, but the inimitable Dwayne DeRosario was soon presented with an easy chance to level for Toronto FC and made no mistake. Ali Gerba put the Reds 2-1 up and it wasn't until the 76th minute that Steven Lenhard stabbed Crew level. And it was all to come to nought for Toronto as Jason Garey headed in a 92nd minute winner to turn Crew's winning streak at home into a league record. There was plenty of fiesty tackling too.

There was yet more Beckham-based scandal at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, where Goldenspuds had words with a supporter wearing an England shirt. It was Claudio Lopez of Kansas City Wizards who stole the headlines in the 26th minute, taking possession of the ball in the centre circle and hitting a stunning dipping shot past a retreating Donovan Ricketts. From his own half, folks! Not to be outdone, LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan took the ball from David Beckham in the 33rd minute and ran in from 40 yards to drill the ball past Kevin Hartman for 1-1.

New England Revolution picked up a surprise win at Robertson Stadium. Steve Ralston's 133rd MLS assist provided Kheli Dube with a tap-in to defeat league leaders Houston Dynamo 1-0.

It wasn't nearly as close between Colorado Rapids and the struggling New York Red Bulls. The Rapids demolished Juan Carlos Osorio's side, piling yet more pressure on the Red Bulls coach. Jacob Peterson got things off to a great start for Colorado, racing onto a perfect ball across the box from Omar Cummings. Sinisa Ubiparipovic was sent off on the stroke of half time for a tackle from behind - perhaps slightly harsh - and from then on it was over for RBNY. Pat Noonan made it two in the 46th minute, before Nick LaBrocca tapped in a third and Mehdi Ballouchy thumped in a 30-yard free kick to top off the night.

DC United threw away a two-goal lead in California. Christian Gomez put them 2-0 up with a penalty (after arguing with Luciano Emilio about who should take it) and a tap-in from a rebound, but San Jose Earthquakes managed an uncharacteristic fightback. Ryan Johnson took advantage of statuesque defending make it 2-1, and a 62nd minute Cornell Glen penalty secured the point for Frank Yallop's team.

At the end of Week 19, Houston Dynamo continues to lead the West with 32 points despite a defeat, from Seattle Sounders on 29 points. Columbus Crew take over leadership of the West and sit second overall on 30 points, ahead of Chicago Fire with 29. DC United (28), LA Galaxy (28), Chivas USA and Colorado Rapids (both 27) make up the next four.

Full results and standings here.

For more great football writing by Chris Nee, visit TwoFootedTackle.com...

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