Cincinnati extended their unbeaten start to the Major League Soccer season with a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia Union on Saturday to remain on top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Luciano Acosta scored the game’s only goal, rifling in a penalty in the 69th minute after Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake was adjudged to have fouled the Argentine playmaker in the build-up to a disallowed Cincinnati goal moments earlier.
Cincinnati are unbeaten in seven games and lead the Eastern Conference with 17 points, one clear of second-placed New England Revolution on 16 points.
New England maintained their strong start to the season with a ruthless 4-0 win over Canadian strugglers Montreal, who remain rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference with three points.
Dylan Borrero opened the scoring for New England with a superb curling strike into the top corner in the 21st minute before Spanish midfielder Carles Gil doubled the lead from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time.
Former US international striker Bobby Wood and Albania international Giacomo Vrioni added second-half goals to complete an emphatic win for New England.
Columbus Crew meanwhile piled the pressure on DC United manager Wayne Rooney after a 2-0 win on the road at Audi Field.
Lucas Zelarayan scored from the penalty spot and Christian Ramirez added a second as DC slumped to their fourth defeat of the season.
Meanwhile, there was more disappointment for Rooney’s former Manchester United and England team-mate Phil Neville, whose Inter Miami side crashed to their fifth straight defeat in a 1-0 home loss against FC Dallas.
Miami looked to have been handed a lifeline after being awarded a penalty in the eighth minute of added time.
But after a lengthy VAR review the call was overturned, condemning the David Beckham-backed franchise to another damaging defeat.
The individual performance of the day came in California, where Los Angeles FC striker Denis Bouanga kept up his red-hot scoring streak with a brilliant hat-trick in the reigning MLS champions’ 3-0 win over Austin.
Bouanga, who scored twice in a 3-0 away win over Vancouver in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday, put Los Angeles 1-0 up in the 40th minute with a low shot from the edge of the area.
The Gabon international volleyed in a spectacular second on 57 minutes and then completed his hat-trick with a deft close-range finish from a tight angle in the 68th minute before leaving to a standing ovation shortly afterwards.
Los Angeles are third in the Western Conference, two points adrift of leaders Seattle, who defeated St.Louis 3-0 in Saturday’s late game.
In other games on Saturday, 10-man Atlanta United held on for a point in a 1-1 draw with New York City.
Greek striker Giorgos Giakoumakis put Atlanta ahead in the 70th minute before Gabriel Pereira equalised for New York two minutes later.