Spot-on Vela sends Los Angeles to top in MLS

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Carlos Vela;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Carlos Vela</a>'s injury-time penalty fired <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Los Angeles;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Los Angeles</a> FC to the top of the MLS Western Conference standings on Saturday with a win over San Jose
Carlos Vela's injury-time penalty fired Los Angeles FC to the top of the MLS Western Conference standings on Saturday with a win over San Jose

Carlos Vela scored an injury-time penalty as Los Angeles FC surged to the top spot in Major League Soccer's Western Conference on Saturday, and Cincinnati maintained their charge at the top of the Eastern standings.

Mexico international Vela stepped up to slot home a spot-kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time to give the reigning MLS champions a 2-1 victory over San Jose Earthquakes.

The win left Los Angeles two points clear at the top of the West with 25 points, ahead of the Seattle Sounders, who have played two games more than the champions.

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LAFC's victory over Californian rivals San Jose came on the MLS's "rivalry week" in which several local or regional derbies featured on the fixture list.

Seattle meanwhile stumbled in their Pacific Northwest derby with the Vancouver Whitecaps, losing 2-0 away to the team across the border in British Columbia.

There were no such problems for Eastern Conference leaders Cincinnati, however, in their Ohio derby with the Columbus Crew.

Cincinnati took an early 2-0 lead with two goals from Luciano Acosta before Columbus clawed their way back to level terms with goals either side of half-time from Argentine midfielder Lucas Zelarayan and defender Malte Amundsen.


But Crew's hopes of taking a point from the game imploded after a moment of madness from goalkeeper Patrick Schulte midway through the second half.

The Columbus goalkeeper attempted to play out from the back near the edge of his area, but was dispossessed by Acosta who passed to Brandon Vazquez who in turn helped it on to Yuya Kubo for Javier Moreno to finish.

The win preserves Cincinnati's five-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference, ahead of Nashville, 2-1 winners over Charlotte.

D.C. United's resurgence under former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney continued on Saturday with the team from the US capital trouncing Los Angeles Galaxy 3-0.


All of United's goals came in a nine-minute spell late in the second half, with former Belgium international Christian Benteke opening the scoring on 71 minutes.

Cristian Dajome doubled the lead in the 73rd minute before Mateusz Klich grabbed a third in the 80th minute.

Rooney's side are now sixth in the 15-team Eastern Conference standings, 11 points off the top.

The defeat deepens the crisis at Galaxy however, who are rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference table with just nine points from 13 games.

While Rooney's D.C. United are on the up, former Manchester United teammate Phil Neville continues to struggle for consistency with his Inter Miami team, beaten 3-1 at home by Orlando in the Florida derby.

"Lapses of concentration cost us dearly tonight and the boys are gutted," Miami boss Neville said.