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Cifuentes shines as LAFC sink St Louis

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Miami: Champions Los Angeles FC won the battle of the top two in Major League Soccer's Western Conference on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over St. Louis City.

The win moves LAFC within two points of the expansion team with both clubs having played 22 matches.

Jose Cifuentes was the key man for the Californian team with a goal and assist as LAFC delivered a performance which suggested they are back to their best.

Ecuador international midfielder Cifuentes, who has been linked with a move to Scottish club Glasgow Rangers, showed great awareness as he fired a long ball over the top for Mexican Carlos Vela to run on to and blast home in the 72nd minute.

Ten minutes later, Denis Bouanga broke down the left flank and squared into the path of Croatian Stipe Biuk who made no mistake.

The win was wrapped up in stoppage time when Nathan Ordaz found Cifuentes and he delivered a blistering left-foot finish from the edge of the box.

Cifuentes is out of contract in December and Rangers are reported to be keen to purchase him in time for their upcoming season.

The Seattle Sounders, third in the West, fell to a 2-0 defeat to fifth placed San Jose.

A Cristian Espinoza penalty gave the Earthquakes a 19th minute lead and then Miguel Trauco scored a stunner when he superbly volleyed home from outside the box, from a corner from Espinoza.

In the Eastern Conference, FC Cincinnati maintained their eight point lead at the top over the New England Revolution thanks to a 2-1 win at the New York Red Bulls.

The Ohio side had to come from behind after an Omir Fernandez penalty gave the Red Bulls a 28th minute lead, but ten minutes from the end Cincinnati scored from the spot themselves, through Argentine Luciano Acosta.

The 14th win of the season came deep in stoppage time from Obinna Nwobodo whose shot got through the body of Red Bulls keeper Carlos Coronel.

Cincinnati were without striker Brandon Vazquez and defender Matt Miazga, both on Gold Cup duty with the United States and assistant coach Dom Kinnear said they had shown their character.

"The spirit and the toughness of the group is excellent, and when you have players like Luciano Acosta, when he's on the field, he's always going to be a goal threat and he's always going to give you a chance to win games," he said.

The Revolution kept up the chase with a 2-1 win over Atlanta but third-placed Nashville saw their ten match unbeaten home run end with a 2-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union.

A feisty match, decided by two penalties from Hungarian midfielder Daniel Gazdag, saw three players sent off including the Union's Julian Carranza and Nashville's Shaquell Moore following a stoppage time tussle.

-- AFP

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