The Eastern Conference race tightened when Inter Miami, playing without injured Lionel Messi, was held to a 0-0 tie at Orlando City in the Florida Derby and FC Cincinnati beat Atlanta United 1-0.

The Herons had won their last five games, scoring three or more goals in each game. Messi, who had six goals and eight assists across the five games, sat out the Orlando game with a knee injury that is not considered serious.

• Acosta-to-Kelsy: New teenage signing Kevin Kelsy scored in his second straight game off an assist from 2023 MVP Lucho Acosta to move FC Cincinnati within a point of Inter Miami and extend Atlanta United’s winless streak to seven games.

Top 3: Eastern Conference standings:
1. Inter Miami (8-2-4), 28 pts.
2. FC Cincinnati (8-2-3), 27 pts.
3. NY Red Bulls (6-2-5), 23 pts.

Western Conference: Real Salt Lake extends lead

Real Salt Lake opened up a four-point lead in the Western Conference when it beat Seattle 2-0 on goals by youngsters Diego Luna and Andrés Gómez and Minnesota United had to settle for a 2-2 tie with the LA Galaxy.

LAFC moved into third place when it won 2-0 at St. Louis City on a pair of goals by Denis Bouanga.

• Timbers’ comeback: Portland escaped the Western Conference basement when it rallied for four goals late in the second half to beat San Jose 4-2 at Providence Park.

Top 3: Western Conference standings:
1. Real Salt Lake (7-2-4), 25 pts.
2. Minnesota United (6-2-3), 21 pts.
3. LAFC (6-4-3), 21 pts.


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