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Football Americana Week 13: Columbus and NY race clear in the East

Major League Soccer returned from its World Cup break over the weekend with a full programme and the opening of another purpose-built stadium. PPL Park is the new home of Philadelphia and they opened it in style. Elsewhere, the top teams in the Eastern Conference picked up important wins.

San Jose Earthquakes hosted Real Salt Lake and the teams shared the spoils with a goalless draw. RSL had the better chances, and Fabian Espindola missed a golden opportunity to win the game.

Columbus Crew went back to the top of their conference with a 2-0 win over DC United but it took a blatant handball to overcome another good but toothless DC performance. Guillermo Barros Schelotto clearly handled the ball before smashing in the opening goal, and Eric Brunner sealed the points a couple of minutes from time.

Toronto FC went ahead with their home game against LA Galaxy despite security concerns across the city thanks to the usual G20 protests. The game was horribly limp, ending 0-0 and providing few moments of note. The Galaxy will be looking forward to the return of US internationals Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, but only time will tell how long Donovan will remain in Carson.

Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rapids made up for the lack of goals elsewhere with a 2-2 draw at Robertson Stadium. Danny Cruz took just 16 minutes to score the first, a long distance shot that should have been saved. The Rapids turned the game around, Conor Casey grabbing the equaliser after keeping his composure in the area and Lovel Palmer turning the ball into his own net for 2-1. Cruz hit both posts with a shot shortly afterwards, and Joseph Ngwenya fired in the Dynamo's second from 12 yards.

2010's New York Red Bulls are almost unrecognisable from 2009's, a fact illustrated by their 3-0 away win at Kansas City Wizards. All three goals came in the second half, the first coming from the head of Salou Ibrahim. Juan Pablo Angel made the game safe with two goals in the last ten minutes. On another day, the Wizards would have been 3-0 up before they conceded and would not have made the three errors that led to goals, but matters were made worse by Davy Arnaud's red card in stoppage time for a sickening two-footed tackle.

FC Dallas also banked three points on the road, overcoming Chivas USA 2-1. Ante Jazic's own goal gave FCD the lead just before half time but Osael Romero leveled the game on the hour with a clever glancing header. David Ferreira won it for the Texan team from the penalty spot just a couple of minutes later.

It was a big day for Philadelphia Union, who welcomed Seattle Sounders for the opening game at the beautiful PPL Park. Pat Noonan gave the visitors a half time lead, sliding the ball home after a lucky bounce. After the break it was all Philly, with former Sounders man Sebastien Le Toux finding the very top corner from the spot to draw the Union level and Noonan having his spot kick saved. Fred marked an uncharacteristically prominent performance with a goal, and rookie Danny Mwanga made it 3-1 with yet another late goal as he followed up his own rebound to find the net.

In the final game of the weekend, New England Revolution continued to struggle and fell to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Chicago Fire. Marco Pappa scored from almost 30 yards to chalk up the only goal of the match and secure three points for the Fire.

The Galaxy and RSL stay nine points apart at the top of the West, with the Rapids three points behind. In the East, the Crew and the Red Bulls are top and second on 24 points, with Toronto six points off the pace. You can see those standings here and watch all the weekend's action here.

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