02.05.2021 04:43 h

Montreal hold MLS Cup champs Columbus, Real Salt Lake beat Kansas City 3-1

CF Montreal stretched their early unbeaten run in the fledgling Major League Soccer season on Saturday, playing to a goalless draw against MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew.

Coach Wilfried Nancy said Montreal, hosting the match in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as Canadian teams continue to be shut out of their home grounds because of the coronavirus pandemic, could have come out with a big win.

Despite multiple opportunities, they couldn't get a shot past Columbus keeper Eloy Room.

"We could have scored three goals," Nancy said. "We had the possibility to be better but we didn't finish. But, again, I'm happy with what I saw."

Mustafa Kizza had a solid chance in the 26th minute but fired right at the feet of Room.

Room dived to save a shot in injury time from Finnish substitute Lassi Lappalainen.

Meanwhile Montreal keeper Clement Diop was never severely tested.

The Crew, who drew 2-2 against Monterrey of Mexico in CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday, made five changes to their starting lineup and failed to generate a shot in the first half.

But they thought they had snuck out the victory late when Bradley Wright-Phillips found the back of the net only for the effort to be ruled offside.

"We showed some good character today," Crew coach Caleb Porter said. "We bent but didn't break. Good teams, on a day where we're clearly not sharp, not playing our game, not creating chances, you have to find a way to hang on and we certainly hung on."

Elsewhere, Jesus Medina and Valentin Castellanos both scored as New York City FC downed 10-man Philadelphia Union 2-0.

Anton Tinnerholm set up Medina's early opener for NYCFC, who have won twice since losing at DC United in their season opener.

Philadelphia, winners of the Supporters' Shield last season as the team with the best regular-season record, saw Jose Andres Martinez sent off upon video review for an elbow toward Castellanos' head in the 15th minute.

Martinez was already scheduled to miss the Union's quarter-final, second-leg clash Atlanta United in the CONCACAF Champions League because of yellow card accumulations and will now miss their next MLS match at Chicago next Saturday.

The Union take a 3-0 lead into their Champions League second leg clash with Atlanta on Tuesday.

Real Salt Lake welcomed fans back to their Rio Tinto stadium with a 3-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City.

Rubio Rubin struck twice as Real Salt Lake scored three straight goals after Alan Pulido opened the scoring for Sporting with his first goal of the 2021 season.

With up to 10,000 fans allowed now under local health and safety protocols, Salt Lake announced a crowd of 9,842.

They created a rowdy atmosphere, but it was Sporting who struck first when Khiry Shelton fired a cross through the penalty area and Gianluca Busio skipped over the ball to give Pulido plenty of time to finish.

Real Salt Lake pulled level before halftime as substitute Andrew Brody whipped in a cross that Damir Kreilach headed in.

Rubin fired the hosts ahead in the 52nd with a shot between the legs of Sporting goalkeeper John Pulskamp.

He bagged his second goal in the 77th, eluding two defenders on the way to beating Pulskamp.