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Crew clinches but spoilers just won't go away
by Ridge Mahoney, September 28th, 2009 6:45AM
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[MLS PLAYOFF WATCH] Defending champion Columbus secured a playoff spot by beating the Galaxy, 2-0, but the real news came from the other end of the standings. The bottom three teams - New York, FC Dallas, and San Jose - all dented the hopes of teams in the chase by refusing to lose, and in two cases, actually winning. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney updates the playoff race ...

The Red Bulls pulled out a 1-1 tie against Chivas USA with a 84th minute goal by Juan Pablo Angel; FCD drilled Real Salt Lake, 3-0, to jar RSL's playoff push yet again; and the Quakes came back from a 1-0 deficit to win their first road game of the season, 2-1, and leave United one point out of the playoff tier.

Shalrie Joseph's goal in the 87th minute, his second of the game and eighth of the season, powered the Revs past Seattle, 2-1, and into the eighth overall spot with four weeks of play remaining.

The Galaxy's loss deprived them of a chance to leapfrog Western Conference leader Houston, which didn't play a league match last weekend. The Crew's lead atop the East grew to five points when the Fire again failed to win at home and tied Toronto, 2-2.

League play resumes Wednesday when the Revs travel to Dallas, and there's also a battle of second-place teams Friday when the Galaxy hosts Chicago. Houston, D.C. United and Columbus play midweek in the Concacaf Champions' League.

Here's how the playoff race stands as of Monday (games remaining in parentheses):

Top two teams in each conference: Columbus* 46 points (4), Houston 43 (3), Los Angeles 41+ (3), Chicago 41 (3).

Four wild cards (overall points): Colorado 39 (3), Chivas USA 38 (5), Seattle 38 (3), New England 37 (5).

Close behind: D.C. United 36 (4), Toronto FC 35 (3), Real Salt Lake 34 (3).

Fading: Kansas City 31 (4).

Still in the hunt: FC Dallas 30 (4).

Still kicking: San Jose 25 (5).

Hanging tough: New York 18 (3).

* Clinched playoff spot.

+ L.A. holds tiebreaker edge over Chicago.


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