Espinoza double as Earthquakes end Los Angeles unbeaten run

·3-min read
Cristian Espinoza's two goals helped San Jose end Los Angeles FC's unbeaten start to the MLS season on Saturday
Cristian Espinoza's two goals helped San Jose end Los Angeles FC's unbeaten start to the MLS season on Saturday

Argentinian striker Cristian Espinoza scored twice as the San Jose Earthquakes sent champions Los Angeles FC crashing to their first defeat of the Major League Soccer season on Saturday while New England and Cincinnati surged six points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Epinoza lashed home an 83rd-minute penalty at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara to secure all three points for San Jose in a 2-1 victory that came just days after previously unbeaten Los Angeles had advanced to the final of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Espinoza, the league's joint top scorer with eight goals, had earlier fired San Jose into the lead after just eight minutes, coolly finishing into the bottom corner after a through ball from Jamiro Monteiro.

LAFC's in-form Denis Bouanga got the champions back on track with a 30th-minute equalizer but although Los Angeles looked in control for long periods thereafter, it was San Jose who snatched the winner with Espinoza's late spot-kick.

San Jose's win moved the club into fourth position in the Western Conference, level on points with third-placed Los Angeles who have a superior goal difference.

Elsewhere on Saturday, New England Revolution and Cincinnati pulled clear at the top of the Eastern Conference with impressive wins.

Former United States coach Bruce Arena's New England produced a clinical performance on the road with a 2-0 victory at Toronto.

Bobby Wood opened the scoring with a low finish on 19 minutes before DeJuan Jones made sure of victory for the Revs in the 62nd minute to make it 2-0.

New England are now unbeaten in eight games with 24 points from 11 to lead the East on goal difference ahead of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati kept pace with New England after a 2-1 home win over Wayne Rooney's D.C. United.

Luciano Acosta put Cincinnati ahead in the 59th minute with a near-post flick on from a corner and then set up a second for fellow Argentine Alvaro Barreal in the 73rd minute to make it 2-0.

Taxiarchis Fountas pulled a goal back for D.C. in the 90th minute but Cincinnati held on to take the points.

There was a better result for Wayne Rooney's former England and Manchester United team-mate Phil Neville, whose resurgent Inter Miami downed high-flying Atlanta 2-1 in Florida.

Inter's Venezeulan international Josef Martinez scored twice against his old club to become the fastest player to score 100 career goals in Major League Soccer.

Martinez brought up his century of goals in his 142nd MLS game, eclipsing the old mark of 159 games held by England's Bradley Wright-Phillips.

"We're really pleased, it's three wins on the run now -- the way we're playing and the spirit and togetherness we have is incredible," Neville said afterwards.

"We obviously went on a run of 0-6 and suffered a lot of adversity and criticism which was right, and I said to the team before the game it made us stronger. I think with this club when we have our backs against the wall we perform better."

Miami are now 10th in the Eastern Conference with 12 points.