RAZOV'S REPLY. By beating Kansas City, 2-1, at Home Depot Center Chivas USA did more than clinch a playoff spot and preserve its unbeaten home mark. With Jesse Marsch suspended and Maykel Galindo subdued, Ante Razov scored two classic goals to up his team's record to 14-6-5.
Neither team scored in the first half but a decided Chivas USA edge in possession and intensity led to Razov's first goal in the 69th minute. He stuffed it high into the net from inside the six-yard box on a feed from Francisco Mendoza, who'd been sent down the left flank by a ball from substitute Ramon Nunez and bent a low cross behind the Wizards back line for Razov to put away.
That roused Kansas City's own goalscorer supreme, Eddie Johnson, who stormed into the Chivas USA penalty area and struck a shot that deflected off defender Claudio Suarez and onto the crossbar. Eloy Colombano, whose replacement of an injured Ryan Pore had sparked the Wizards' attack, smacked home the rebound to earn a just reward for his inspired play.
Kansas City (10-10-6) managed the game reasonably well for about 20 minutes but not long enough. It fought off an attack but couldn't clear its defensive third, and Sacha Kljestan and Lawson Vaughn worked the ball to Razov, who curled a superb 22-yarder over Kevin Hartman and into the top corner.
He tore off his jersey and raced to the stands to celebrate, incurring a caution in the process. It mattered not.
FIRE FIZZLES AGAIN. As it did Thursday, when Carlos Ruiz scored in stoppage time, Chicago (8-10-8) conceded a late goal to tie D.C. United, 1-1, instead of win.
A 1-0 lead taken with a Chad Barrett goal in the 18th minute evaporated when keeper Matt Pickens let a curling shot from Jaime Moreno sneak between him and the near post to leave Chicago a point ahead of the Crew in the race for eighth place. D.C. (15-6-5) leads the Eastern Conference by three points over New England.
Cuauhtemoc Blanco ran the show in midfield during the first half, and repeatedly breached the D.C. back line with crosses and long balls, one of which Barrett ran onto to drill underneath D.C. keeper Troy Perkins. Chicago held the lead with saves by Pickens on Moreno and Dominic Mediate, and a goal-line clearance by Wilman Conde on a Luciano Emilio header.
A clever set play nearly doubled the lead in the 60th minute; Blanco faked serving a free kick into the goalmouth and instead chipped into the path of Conde, whose ferocious shot cannoned off Perkins' chest as the keeper sprawled bravely. Pickens matched his counterpart's quality by stretching to palm away a hard shot by Clyde Simms.
Moreno scored after Rolfe got a little too fancy in his own defensive third and lost the ball in a tussle, but Pickens should have saved Moreno's shot from well out on the right flank. Instead, because he was blinded by the sun or just misjudged the ball's flight, it snuck into the top corner for the 111th goal of the all-time MLS scorer's career.
CREW CALL. TFC finally got a goal but it frustrated its suffering fans again by blowing an early lead and losing, 2-1.
Miguel Canizalez snapped Toronto's appalling scoreless streak at 824 minutes when he punished a poor clearance by rolling a shot from close range past keeper Will Hesmer and two of his own teammates, who had they touched the ball would have annulled the goal by being offside.
Yet worse defending prompted Columbus (7-9-10) to equalize in the 63rd minute when a wide-open Jason Garey, well inside the penalty area, knocked home Eddie Gaven's cutback ball. Garey, who scored five goals last season as a rookie, netted his first of 2007 in his second consecutive start in place of injured Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Hesmer saved at the feet of Andrea Lombardo as TFC (5-14-6) pressed for a winning goal. Instead, Jacob Thomas thundered half the length of the field to hammer a low shot past keeper Kenny Stamatapoluous and inside the far post.
FANTASTIC FOUR. Shoddy shooting is one of the criticism often leveled at MLS, yet a quartet of fine finishes left the Red Bulls and Revs tied, 2-2, and eight points apart in the Eastern Conference.
Taylor Twellman headed home a Steve Ralston corner kick and latched onto a scuffed Chris Leitch clearance to drill a low shot inside the post for his 13th and 14th goals of the season, but despite several flying saves by Revs keeper Matt Reis New York (11-10-5) came back twice from one-goal deficits.
Francis Doe, making just his second MLS start, tormented the Revs (13-6-7) throughout the match. He played a ball that Dema Kovalenko forced Reis to push aside, and in the 37th minute redirected a Dane Richards cross just inside the far post for his first MLS goal. He ran onto a through ball to score again in the final seconds of the first half but an erroneous offside decision nullified the goal.
Twellman netted his 89th career goal with 20 minutes left to restore a lead the Revs again failed to hold. Jeff Parke headed a cross down off the turf and up against the crossbar before the back line was caught napping. Doe flicked on a long Dave van den Bergh kick as Juan Pablo Angel glided into the penalty area, and Angel had all day to stroke his shot past Reis.
BROWN OUT. Negligible its playoff chances may be but Real Salt Lake played (5-13-8) as if it, and not the Rapids, is locked in a three-way fight for the final playoff spot.
RSL downed Colorado, 1-0, on a Kyle Brown goal scored in the 30th minute on the rebound of a shot by Chris Brown, who'd been sent clear by a Kyle Beckerman pass. Bouna Coundoul saved the initial shot but Brown punched home the rebound for his second goal of the season.
Beckerman, traded to RSL by Colorado two months ago, wore the captain's armband and led a strong midfield performance that controlled play for long intervals. Coach Jason Kreis left Eddie Pope and Carey Talley out of the starting lineup, though, and occasional breakdowns forced Nick Rimando into action.
His most important save came in the final minutes when Jose Cancela launched a free kick that Rimando turned aside for one of his five stops on the night.
The Rapids' (7-11-8) winless streak is four games and they trail eighth-place Chicago by four points. RSL's win tied the Rocky Mountain Cup series at 1-1-1 with another meeting set for Oct. 20 on the final weekend of the season; by then, that cup may be the only one both teams are playing for.
CLINICAL KLEIN. There's hope, however faint, at Home Depot Center. Not hope of the playoffs, necessarily, but rather a wish for the worst to be over.
Los Angeles (5-13-6) labored for nearly 50 minutes before taking advantage of a man-advantage to score a spectacular winner and beat FC Dallas, 2-1, for only its second league victory since the All-Star break. Chris Klein collected a pass from Cobi Jones to hammer a rising shot that overpowered FCD keeper Dario Sala and zoomed into the top near corner.
Dallas (12-10-4) took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on Dax McCarty's first goal of the season, but the FCD midfield trio of McCarty, Juan Toja, and Denilson seldom linked the back line with a trio of forwards and as the match wore on, lost stability in midfield.
Los Angeles tied the game midway through the first half on a Landon Donovan penalty kick; he'd served a ball to the far post intended for Klein, who was pulled back by defender Chris Gbandi. Donovan put away the penalty kick and Gbandi, who'd been cautioned just a few minutes earlier and obviously didn't get the message, went off wearing a second yellow.
Sala saved Donovan's initial PK but referee Michael Kennedy ruled he'd moved forward too soon and ordered a re-kick. Kennedy cautioned Sala and after the successful second PK, cautioned Donovan for excessive celebration.
Klein scored in the 72nd minute after rookie Josh Tudela played the ball to Jones on the left flank and Jones sent it across the field to Klein. The Galaxy had squandered a lead in just minutes while tying RSL Wednesday, but this time got all three points.
Sept. 22 in Toronto
Toronto FC 2 Columbus 1. Goals: Canizalez 2;Garey (Gaven, Hejduk) 61, Thomas 83.
Toronto FC - Stamatopoulos, Boyens, Brennan, Marshall, Pozniak, Canizalez, Edu, Robinson, Dunivant, Samuel, Cunningham (Lombardo, 57).
Columbus - Hesmer, Hejduk, Hendrickson, Gonzalez, Grabavoy, Gaven, Oughton, O'Rourke, Herron (Thomas, 58), Moreno, Garey (Kamara, 72).
Referee: Steven DePiero.
Sept. 22 in East Rutherford, N.J.
New York 2 New England 2. Goals: Doe (Richards) 37,?Angel (Doe, van den Bergh) 84; Twellman (Ralston) 22, Twellman 70.
New York - Waterreus, Leitch (Altidore, 73), Parke, van den Bergh, Stammler, Richards, Reyna, Kovalenko, Vide (Mathis, 72), Doe, Angel.
New England - Reis, Heaps, Larentowicz, Parkhurst, John, Joseph, Ralston, Dorman (Riley, 73), Smith, Twellman (Thompson, 92+), Noonan (Cristman, 60).
Yellow Cards: New York - Angel 18.
Referee: Richard Heron.
Sept. 22 in Salt Lake City
Real Salt Lake 1 Colorado 0. Goal: K. Brown 30.
Real Salt Lake - Rimando, Lancos, Kotschau, Mantilla, Wingert, Beckerman, Harris, Williams (Talley, 46), Brown (Morales, 62), Movsisyan (Espindola, 73), Brown.
Colorado - Coundoul, Kimura, Ihemelu, Keel, Prideaux, Cooke (Cummings, 66), Ballouchy (Cancela, 63), Sanneh, Clark, Peterson (Osorno, 74), Kirovski.
Yellow Cards: Colorado - Kimura 21, Sanneh 28, Keel 76; Real Salt Lake - Lancos 52.
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja.
Sept. 22 in Carson, Calif.
Chivas USA 2 Kansas City 1. Goals: Razov (Mendoza, Nunez) 69, Razov (Vaughn, Kljestan) 92+; Colombano 72.
Chivas USA - Guzan, Zotinca (Nunez, 59), Suarez, Thomas, Bornstein, Kljestan, Nagamura, Vaughn, Mendoza, Galindo (Hernandez, 94+), Razov.
Kansas City - Hartman, Jewsbury, Burciaga Jr., Conrad, Garcia (Wahl, 80), Arnaud, Marinelli, Zavagnin, Harrington (Victorine, 53), Johnson, Pore (Colombano, 27).
Yellow Cards: Chivas USA - Kljestan 64, Vaughn 67, Nunez 81, Razov 93+; Kansas City - Colombano 73.
Referee: Shane Moody.
Sept. 23 in Bridgeview, Ill.
Chicago 1 D.C. United 1. Goals: Barrett (Blanco) 18; Moreno 84.
Chicago - Pickens, Brown, Conde, Gutierrez, Robinson, Carr (Soumare, 72), Armas, Blanco, Pause, Rolfe, Barrett (Franks, 81).
D.C. United - Perkins, Namoff (Simms, 43), Boswell, Vanney, Burch, Mediate (deRoux, 69), Carroll (Addlery, 53), McTavish, Gros, Moreno, Emilio.
Yellow Cards: Chicago - Armas 27, Rolfe 72, Franks 87; D.C. United - Carroll 50.
Referee: Alex Prus.
Sept. 23 in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles 2 FC Dallas 1. Goals: Donovan pen. 25, Klein (Jones, Tudela) 72; McCarty (Gbandi) 11.
Los Angeles - Cannon, Kirk (Pavon, 65), Harden, Roberts, Randolph, Klein, Harmse (Vagenas, 67), Tudela, Jones (Glinton, 86), Donovan, Gordon.
FC Dallas - Sala, Moor, Serioux, Yi, Gbandi, McCarty, Denilson (Ricardinho, 81), Toja, Alvarez, Oduro (Pitchkolan, 67), Ruiz.
Yellow Cards: Los Angeles - Harmse 21, Donovan 26; FC Dallas - Gbandi 21, Sala 25, Alvarez 51.
Red Card: FC Dallas - Gbandi 23.
Referee: Michael Kennedy.