Seattle Sounders showcased their championship credentials with a convincing 4-2 victory over rivals the Portland Timbers in MLS on Sunday.
Sounders captain Clint Dempsey and striker Obafemi Martins combined for three goals at Providence Park as the Western Conference leaders sent an ominous warning to the rest of the competition.
The win - Seattle's first in two games - helped the Sounders move to 45 points from 24 rounds, three clear of Dallas, who have played an extra match.
The sixth-placed Timbers suffered a blow to their play-off hopes, with the Portland franchise two points adrift of the fifth and final spot.
Portland's defence struggled to cope during the opening stages, and they were eventually breached in the 18th minute after Dempsey hit the post moments earlier.
Brad Evans, after orchestrating the move on the half-way line, glided past former West Brom defender Liam Ridgewell before firing the ball across the six-yard box for Martins to tap in and silence the vocal home crowd.
After Diego Valeri's attempt on goal deflected over the crossbar for a corner on the half-hour mark, Seattle went up the other end and doubled their advantage following a swift counter-attacking move in the 34th minute.
Martins picked up the ball in his own half, pressed forward and waited for Dempsey's run before playing in the United States international, who tucked the ball past Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for his ninth goal of the season.
Chad Barrett got in on the action with a goal of his own in the 70th minute after Ricketts failed to keep the ball out of the net, despite getting a hand on it.
Portland were given a glimmer of hope, when substitute Fanendo Adi got a boot to Rodney Wallace's cross with 27 minutes remaining.
Martins, however, quickly dashed Portland's hopes of a remarkable comeback as he netted his second of the game three minutes later.
Adi was on target again in the 90th minute, which proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Union accounted for the San Jose Earthquakes by the same scoreline, despite surrendering a two-goal lead on Sunday.
Andrew Wenger and Sebastien Le Toux had given the Union a 2-0 buffer inside the first 14 minutes at PPL Park, only for the Earthquakes to hit back after the interval through Simon Cronin and Chris Wondolowski.
But Philadelphia - seventh in the Eastern Conference - were not to be denied their second win in three games, thanks to Sheanon Williams and Wenger who both found the back of the net in the final 18 minutes.
|Coach: C. Porter|
for G. Fernández 67'
for M. Urruti 71'
for D. Nagbe 80'
|UEFA Champions League Review: Ajax crash out after home defeat|
|Blackpool handed suspended deduction|
|Bayern Munich 3 Milan 0: Guardiola and De Jong lock horns in tunnel|
|Akpom, Ojo and Solanke on the move|
|McClaren: No Newcastle bid for Austin|
|Real Madrid 2 Tottenham 0: Bale on target against former club|
|Mangala vows to improve on debut campaign|
|Tomlin completes Bournemouth switch|
|Astra v West Ham: Page hungry for first-team action|
|Di Maria arrives in Qatar for PSG medical|
|Vitesse v Southampton: Caulker prepared to wait for his chance|
|UEFA rejects Fenerbahce´s Fred appeal|
|Watford show support for assaulted fan as police charge six|
|Ibrahimovic to miss PSG opener|
|Klopp suited to Bayern job - Watzke|
|Eredivisie season-opener postponed due to police strike|
|Dortmund v Wolfsberger: Tuchel set for home bow|
|Griezmann at the double in Atletico win|
|Japan v South Korea: Halilhodzic calls for ´pride´|
|Mourinho enjoying improved relationship with Abramovich|
|Gradel agrees Bournemouth return|
|Inter switch an ´easy decision´ for Miranda|
|Bojan eyes early comeback|
|Vitesse hopeful over Solanke loan deal|
|Pedro will decide his own future - Luis Enrique|
|Iniesta handed Barcelona armband|
|Kukesi punished after Europa League abandonment|
|Leno hints at Leverkusen exit|
|Benitez explains Ronaldo absence|
|Pochettino backs Kane to be among world´s best|
|Messi not ruled out of Mexico friendly - Martino|
|China v North Korea: Kim´s side look for another win|
|River Plate v Tigres UANL: Copa Libertadores final evenly poised|
|Real target Ceballos focused on Betis - Mel|
|Torres: I´d give my life to win La Liga with Atletico|
|Platini can lead FIFA change - Fernandez|
|Mel: Betis won´t be signing Osvaldo|
|Ferrero defends Samp boss Zenga|
|Pochettino expects Spurs improvement|
|Bale ideal for United - Robson|
|Ferdinand: Di Maria will regret United failure|
|Benitez pleased with goalkeepers as De Gea transfer saga continues|
|Guardiola tips fit Schweinsteiger to shine|
|Confident Oxlade-Chamberlain hits back at Keane|
|Ferdinand: Stones would be ´a lunatic´ to join Chelsea|
|Qarabag v Celtic: Gordon wants positivity from Scottish champions|
|Higuain rejects extension from Napoli|
|Zamora returns to Brighton|
|West Ham can cope without Valencia - Gold|
|Wickham loses on Palace debut|
|Guardiola: No problem with Matthaus and Effenberg comments|
|Cartabia excited by Deportivo loan|
|Lyon confirm Rafael deal|
|Hysaj agrees deal to follow Sarri to Napoli|
|Rafael says his goodbyes to Manchester United|
|Dos Santos ready to get going with Galaxy|
|Pochettino rejects Soldado exit talk|
|Metatarsal misery for Mulumbu|
|Benitez: Benzema and Bale going nowhere|
|Mihajlovic: Ibrahimovic would make Milan title contenders|
|Hughes not taking any risks with Bojan|
|Guardiola relishing Audi Cup test|
|Di Maria ´taking a step up´ - Silva|
|Leicester bring in defender Benalouane|
|Deulofeu doubtful for Premier League opener|
|West Ham striker Valencia out for three months|
|UEFA: Qarabag-Celtic to go ahead|
|Palace seal Wickham swoop|
|Ronaldo and Benzema to miss Audi Cup|
|Marotta: Juventus could lose Pogba|
|Kante completes Leicester switch|
|Khedira ruled out for two months|
|FA accepts Mourinho criticism of Wembley surface|
|Robben rubbishes injury talk|
|Marchisio expects Milan title challenge|
|Rafael set for Lyon move|
|Celtic ´seeking reassurances´ over Qarabag pitch|
|Wenger beating Mourinho does not affect Chelsea - Zouma|
|Rooney moved by Everton welcome|
|Mancini not worried by lack of Inter goals|
|Coloccini wants to finish career at Newcastle - McClaren|
|Ramsey: Pressure to win trophies is nothing new|
|Terry: Wembley defeat could be a ´blessing in disguise´|
|Blatter not running for IOC re-election|
|Bendtner: Wolfsburg can challenge Bayern for Bundesliga honours|
|Liverpool relishing Britannia return, says Henderson|
|Everton big enough to keep Stones - Martinez|
|MLS Review: Fire stun Dallas as goals dry up|
|New Atletico signings excite Raul Garcia|
|Cahill expects Arsenal title challenge|
|Jovetic happy with Inter debut|
|Luis Enrique: Barca defence must improve|
|Yanev calls for calm after ugly scenes in friendly|
|Coppa Italia Review: Cittadella romp to victory, Brescia rely on penalties|