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Major League Soccer's top clubs bounce back in pivotal weekend

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Nick Knowles and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber may have more in common than first meets the eye.

In the Brit's BBC quiz show Perfection, a contestant competes in the hope of claiming the grand prize in the final, while a trio of "Usual Suspects" look to punish any foolish errors. It all sounds eerily familiar.

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Sounders slipping

Seattle Sounders FC have, for the majority of this season, looked set for glory in both the Supporters' Shield and the MLS Cup, but two slip-ups in three games could prove costly, as the division's very own usual suspects have pounced.

LA Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City and DC United can boast 19 honours between them, and having reeled in the previously rampant Rave Green, they will aim to be in the mix when the accolades are distributed in the fall.

The Sounders had themselves cast off the New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake, but a stunning home defeat at the hands of the Galaxy on Monday night, accompanied by Kansas City's victorious weekend, has seen Sigi Schmid's side slip from the summit of the table. They may have only lost five times all year, but these mistakes have been ruthlessly punished.

LA excellent

Los Angeles' 3-0 win also shifts the perception of their own campaign. As recently as last week this correspondent wrote off their chances of silverware, but a sensational performance has reminded their doubters that this is an outfit that collected back-to-back championships only two years ago.

Despite an opening day set-back and crucial late concessions against Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Portland Timbers, a run of just one reverse in their previous ten matches, along with the best defensive record in the MLS and games-in-hand over their rivals have now left the Galaxy well placed for a title push.

In the East

Elsewhere, MLS Cup holders Sporting have bounced back from a terrible month of May to take pole position. The Wizards have been significantly boosted by securing Matt Besler and Graham Zusi on Designated Player contracts, and a favourable run-in will make them hard to catch.

DC are perhaps the surprise players, but it's been a glorious return to form for the country's most successful club after a horrific term last time out. United's pre-season recruitment was superb, picking up Bobby Boswell, Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola along with SuperDraft selection Steve Birnbaum. In plugging the holes in their defence and adding a goal threat, 2014 has blossomed into a year of genuine promise.

Though they may have led the way for many months, Seattle must recover quickly in order to keep pace. Schmid may have cast his team's result off as "one of those days at the office", but they won't be allowed any more. 

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Topics:
MLS
D.C. United
LA Galaxy
Sporting Kansas City
Seattle Sounders FC
Football
MLS Cup

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