Last weekend was historic in U.S. sports and Major League Soccer observers won't forget it quickly.
D.C. United forward Patrick Mullins entered the MLS record books with a breakout game for the ages. Actually, he needed just over a half-hour to bury the San Jose Earthquakes.
The U.S. Open Cup final took place during Week 29, with the winner emerging as a dominant force in U.S. Soccer's premier knockout competition.
Finally, MLS didn't ignore the wave of NFL protests against police brutality and racial injustice and the U.S. president's targeting of athletes' rights to free speech.
We examine all this and more in our weekly MLS review.
Latest MLS Scores
U.S. Open Cup Final: Sporting Kansas City 2-1 New York Red Bulls
Atlanta United 4-0 Los Angeles Galaxy
Toronto FC 3-5 Montreal Impact
New York City FC 1-1 Houston Dynamo
New England Revolution 2-1 Toronto FC
D.C. United 4-0 San Jose Earthquakes
Philadelphia Union 3-1 Chicago Fire
Columbus Crew 3-2 New York Red Bulls
Minnesota United 4-1 FC Dallas
Real Salt Lake 2-0 Seattle Sounders
Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Colorado Rapids
Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Los Angeles Galaxy
Atlanta United 2-0 Montreal Impact
Portland Timbers 3-0 Orlando City
Key talking points
Atlanta United won twice in Week 29 but lost Miguel Almiron's services for at least three weeks when he suffered a hamstring injury Sunday in his team's win over the Montreal Impact.
The Paraguayan playmaker had featured in all of Atlanta's games to that point but he'll struggle to return before the final regular-season game and also will miss his nation's final two 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Portland Timbers forward Diego Valeri extended his MLS-record streak of scoring goals in consecutive games to nine. The Argentine has notched ten goals during this epic hot streak.
Mullins hadn't scored in 15 games for D.C. United in 2017, but he exploded Saturday, scoring four goals in 31 minutes. He joins ten other players in MLS' four-goal-game club but he accomplished the feat faster than the others.
The 31-minute span between the four goals (57, 60, 68, 88) is the fastest in #MLS league history. Old mark 38+ minutes, Diego Serna 9/2/2000
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) September 24, 2017
MLS players can protest during the playing of the U.S. national anthem, as many in the NFL and other sports have done.
“The march of players, officials and children into our stadiums and singing of the anthem has been a pre-match tradition since our first game in 1996,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement, per MLSSoccer.com.
“The national anthem provides our clubs and fans an important and time-honored opportunity to salute our country and stand up for its principles — whether in the United States or in Canada.
“At the same time, freedom of speech – and the right to peaceful protest – are the hallmarks of both countries. Though we encourage our players to stand during the national anthem, we respect and support their right to express their personal beliefs.”
The MLS Players Union backed their players' free-speech rights more forcefully than the league did.
"All players have every right to exercise their Constitutional rights and we will do everything in our power to defend those rights…" pic.twitter.com/piPlCfdi2R
— MLSPA (@MLSPA) September 25, 2017
Week 29 is in the 📚. Here is where we stand. pic.twitter.com/qikrhAWUNN
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 26, 2017
And these are the playoff probabilities:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 26, 2017
Upcoming MLS games
Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union (Wednesday, September 27)
Montreal Impact vs. New York City FC (Wednesday, September 27)
New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United (Wednesday, September 27)
Orlando City vs. New England Revolution (Wednesday, September 27)
FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids (Wednesday, September 27)
Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (Wednesday, September 27)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids (Wednesday, September 27)
Orlando City vs. FC Dallas (Saturday, September 30)
Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls (Saturday, September 30)
Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United (Saturday, September 30)
New England Revolution vs. Atlanta United (Saturday, September 30)
Chicago Fire vs. New York City F.C. (Saturday, September 30)
Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United (Saturday, September 30)
Colorado Rapids vs. Montreal Impact (Saturday, September 30)
Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (Saturday, September 30)
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake (Saturday, September 30)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers (Saturday, September 30)
Philadelphia Union vs. Seattle Sounders (Sunday, October 1)
Week 30 will be busy, with most teams playing twice.
Toronto can clinch the Supporters' Shield, which goes to the team with the most regular-season points, with a win or if New York City FC loses or draws.