An early blitz saw LA Galaxy bounce back with a 3-2 win over FC Dallas, while Sporting Kansas City remain in contention in the Western Conference.
Giovani dos Santos and Robbie Keane struck in the opening quarter-hour on Sunday as Galaxy returned to the winners’ list after a three-match run without victory, with the MLS defending champions leapfrogging Vancouver Whitecaps and Dallas to lead the West.
Steven Gerrard scored the clinching goal for LA as they rose to 50 points, two ahead of the Whitecaps, while Dallas (47) dropped to third, just a point clear of Seattle Sounders, who are undefeated in five games.
Bruce Arena’s Galaxy started their defence of the 2014 MLS Cup with just three wins from 12 games but have recovered in the second half of the 2015 campaign, with mid-season signings Dos Santos and Gerrard again playing critical roles against Dallas.
Dos Santos opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a clever flick from Gyasi Zardes’ cross, while the Mexico international teed up Keane three minutes later as the home team surged into a 2-0 lead at Stubhub Center.
Michael Barrios dragged the visitors back into the contest in California with a looped header 10 minutes before the interval but Gerrard’s quick reflexes stretched Galaxy’s advantage again in the 57th minute after Dallas failed to clear a corner.
Atiba Harris’ goal gave Dallas some hope in the 86th minute but Arena’s men held on.
Earlier, Sporting KC came from behind to draw 1-1 at home with Seattle to stay within five points of LA.
The Sounders had looked on track for a second straight away win against a Western Conference rival after Obafemi Martins’ first-half strike but substitute Dom Dwyer saved the hosts from consecutive losses when he tapped in with 11 minutes remaining.
San Jose Earthquakes defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 but Matias Perez Garcia marred his match-winning goal in the 87th minute by taking off his shirt in celebration, which earned the midfielder a second yellow card and an expulsion.