Galaxy stays alive; Crew bids adieu

The teams that had to win to stay alive in the playoff hunt did, but for the Crew, beating the Revs, 3-2, wasn't enough because the Fire picked up a precious point by tying D.C., 0-0. Three games finished 2-1: Colorado staved off elimination by ending Chivas USA's home unbeaten record; Los Angeles downed 10-man Toronto for its fifth straight win; and New York blasted another hole into Kansas City's sinking ship. Ridge Mahoney explains the playoff picture and recaps the all the weekend's MLA action ...

THE RUNDOWN. Columbus can't qualify for the playoffs despite its win. It has 34 points and even it it beats D.C. United next Saturday and finishes even with Chicago and Kansas City with 37 points, it loses a three-way tiebreaker against those teams. Since six teams have already qualified for the playoffs, it would finish no better than ninth after the tiebreakers.

Los Angeles will qualify for the playoffs by beating New York Thursday and Chicago Sunday to finish with 39 points. If it ties New York and beats Chicago, it will tie Chicago with 37 points and could also be tied with Kansas City, if the Wizards lose their season finale to Dallas.

Kansas City can clinch outright only by winning, as it loses tiebreakers against both Chicago and LA. A tie with Dallas could leave it even with Colorado at 38 points and the Rapids and Wizards tied both of their meetings this season. Goal difference in all games is the second tiebreaker.

Colorado (35 points) has only a slim chance and doesn't control its destiny. It must beat Real Salt Lake in its final game to reach 38 points, and Kansas City and Chicago must lose their weekend matches against FC Dallas and the Galaxy, respectively.

The penultimate weekend of the 2007 season could be subtitled "Two Days of the Joker." In German soccer, a "joker" is a sub who scores a goal, and several subs did just that.

SUPER-SCHELOTTO. He won't win many MVP votes but Guillermo Barros Schelotto surely ranks as one of the top Newcomers of the Year. He came off the bench at halftime, at which time Columbus trailed New England, 1-0, to score a late winner in a 3-2 victory.

Eddie Gaven scored and then set up a fierce Stefani Miglioranzi volley to wipe out a 1-0 lead the Revs had taken when Taylor Twellman headed home a Steve Ralston corner kick for his 15th goal of the season. Crew keeper Will Hesmer had deflected another Twellman shot onto the crossbar to keep the deficit at one.

Gaven scored onto the rebound of a shot by Robbie Rogers, who'd been played into space by a clever ball from Schelotto, then saved a ball about to run out of play to loop a cross that Miglioranzi slammed into the net.

Ralston tied the game again at 2-2 by trading passes with Shalrie Joseph and shooting low inside the far post. Miglorianzi's pass from midfield slipped Schelotto through the Revs defense to score his fifth goal of the season.

The Crew's collapse in the second half of the season can partially be blamed on poor home form. It failed to win any of its last five games at Columbus Crew Stadium.

PERKINS PERFORMS. Chicago needed at least a point Saturday at RFK to advance its postseason prospects yet came out firing instead of bunkering, but United keeper Troy Perkins stoned the Fire several times in a 0-0 tie.

Perkins thwarted Chad Barrett repeatedly and finished with nine saves as Chicago outshot D.C., 14-8.

Barrett played up top with Paulo Wanchope and Cuauhtemoc Blanco in a 4-3-3 alignment that applied a lot of pressure to United's midfield and back line.

United's best chances came when Luciano Emilio rang a shot off the goalpost and Fire goalie Matt Pickens turned away a 20-yard Christian Gomez blast. Playing for the first time on a new grass surface laid down following the conclusion of the baseball season, United ran its unbeaten streak to 13 games in front of its biggest MLS crowd of the season (25,404) aside from the visit of the Galaxy.

Substitute Calen Carr headed a Gonzalo Segares cross over the bar with the game's final chance. The 0-0 scoreline is Chicago's fifth tie in the last six matches. Its goals-allowed average of 1.24 ranks fifth in MLS but it ranks 11th in scoring with only 30 goals in 29 games (1.03).

D.C. (16-6-7) has clinched the overall best record with 55 points even if it loses its last game and Chivas USA beats Houston, since United wins the head-to-head tiebreaker (1-0-1).

JOKERS WILD. Coach Frank Yallop didn't follow the definition of a joker to the letter but still pulled out yet another vital victory.

Sub Gavin Glinton won a penalty kick that Landon Donovan converted, and Edson Buddle scored a minute after coming into the game as the Galaxy beat Toronto FC, 2-1, at Home Depot Center. The Galaxy (9-13-6) is still four points out of the eighth spot occupied by Kansas City and Chicago but has a game in hand against both those teams.

A TFC lineup weakened by injury rebuffed numerous Galaxy attempts in the first half and rallied to tie the game after Marco Reda pulled down Glinton on a breakaway and was sent off.

Chris Pozniak
's through ball ran for Collin Samuel to smash home just his second goal of the season in the 68th minute.

The Galaxy renewed its attacks. Cobi Jones cut inside but shot weakly with his left foot and Carlos Pavon headed a swerving Glinton serve right to TFC keeper Kenny Stamatopoulos.

Buddle replaced midfielder Josh Tudela and just seconds later Donovan slid a great pass that Chris Klein drove low across the goalmouth to the far post, where Buddle hit the skipping ball first-time high into the net.

TFC (6-17-6) finishes its inaugural season next Saturday against New England at home, where its average attendance of 20,112 ranks third in the league but first in atmosphere.

RAPIDS' RECIPE. Let's see, what's the best potboiler formula of a team desperately needing to win a game?

Start with going down to 10 men against a team unbeaten at home, add a defender scoring his first goal of the season on his former stomping grounds, throw in a conceded equalizer, and wrap it all off with a substitute scoring in the final minute.

Viola! Chivas USA 1, Rapids 2 at Home Depot Center, and everything still to play for!

Coach Fernando Clavijo gave midfielder Jose Cancela just his fourth start of the season and fielded three forwards, but the Rapids created few dangerous chances in the first half.

Just after halftime, got the red Brandon Prideaux dragged down Chivas USA striker Maykel Galindo, necessitating further revisions. But Chivas USA failed to take advantage right away and in the 64th minute, ex-Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu knocked home a loose ball for a 1-0 Colorado lead. Keeper Bouna Coundoul saved brilliantly on a Jonathan Bornstein header and denied Laurent Merlin but couldn't stop Orlando Perez, who equalized with his first goal of the year from Sacha Kljestan's league-leading 13th assist of the season. Twelve minutes remained.

Clavijo sent on Jacob Peterson and Cummings but the cause seemed lost until Conor Casey stormed up the left flank and squared a ball to the far post, where a wide-open Cummings tapped it in.

DOWN TO THE WIRE, AGAIN. Kansas City squandered another chance to clinch a postseason spot by losing to New York, 2-1, and for the third straight season will go into its final game needing a result.

The Wizards (10-12-7) equalized two minutes after going behind, then fell behind again after another three minutes and never caught up, despite being awarded a penalty kick.

Jack Jewsbury headed in Davy Arnaud's free kick to answer Juan Pablo Angel's penalty in the 19th minute, but Angel struck again a few minutes later.

Wizard Jose Burciaga gave away the penalty with a handball and his slip on the ball enabled Dane Richards to set up Angel for New York's winning goal.

Keeper Jon Conway turned aside Eddie Johnson's penalty eight minutes into the second half. Scott Sealy nearly tied it up for Kansas City in the 75th minute but Conway got a piece of his point-blank shot and Dave van den Bergh cleared it from under the crossbar.

The Red Bulls (12-11-6) won for only the second time in the last nine matches and finished the season 9-3-3 in the Meadowlands.

Oct. 13 in Washington, D.C.
D.C. United 0 Chicago 0.

D.C. United - Perkins, Namoff, McTavish, Vanney, Burch, Gomez, Simms, Fred (Dyachenko, 64), Olsen, Emilio, Kpene (Carroll, 46).
Chicago - Pickens, Robinson, Brown, Segares, Rolfe (Thorrington, 88), Armas, Blanco, Pause, Conde (Soumare, 78), Barrett (Carr, 81), Wanchope.
Referee: Kevin Stott.
Att.: 25,404.

Oct. 13 in Foxboro, Mass.
New England 2 Columbus 3.
Goals: Twellman (Ralston) 26, Ralston (Joseph) 83; Gaven 61, Miglioranzi (Gaven) 77, Schelotto (Miglioranzi) 86.
New England - Reis, Heaps, Parkhurst, Ralston, Riley, Thompson (Dorman, 82), Joseph, Larentowicz, Smith (Cristman, 77), Twellman, Noonan.
Columbus - Hesmer, Hejduk, Gonzalez, Ward (Pierce, 89), Hendrickson, Gaven, Miglioranzi, O'Rourke, Rogers, Moreno, Herron (Schelotto, 46).
Yellow Cards: New England - Riley 16, Thompson 59; Columbus - Schelotto 74, Moreno 91+.
Referee: Michael Kennedy.
Att.: 22,295.

Oct. 13 in East Rutherford, N.J.
New York 2 Kansas City 1.
Goals: Angel pen. 19, Angel (Richards) 24; Jewsbury (Arnaud) 21.
New York Red Bulls - Conway, Freeman, Mendes, Parke, van den Bergh, Richards, Kovalenko, Stammler, Altidore (Wolyniec, 91+), Doe (Mathis, 74), Angel.
Kansas City - Hartman, Jewsbury (Colombano, 74), Conrad, Garcia, Burciaga Jr. (Victorine, 46), Morsink (Marinelli, 70), Arnaud, Zavagnin, Harrington, Johnson, Sealy.
Yellow Cards: New York - Doe 12, Kovalenko 46+; Kansas City - Zavagnin 14, Johnson 56.
Referee: Mark Geiger.
Att.: 20,083.

Oct. 13 in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles 2 Toronto FC 1.
Goals: Donovan pen. 56, Buddle (Klein, Donovan) 78; Samuel (Pozniak) 68.
Los Angeles - Cannon, Klein, Jazic, Roberts, Randolph, Jones, Tudela (Buddle, 77), Vagenas (Harmse, 69), Martino (Glinton, 53), Donovan, Pavon.
Toronto FC - Stamatopoulos, Braz, Marshall, Reda, Gala (Canizalez, 67), Hemming, Wynne, Pozniak, Dunivant, Cunningham, Samuel.
Yellow Cards: Toronto FC - Braz 35.
Red Card: Toronto FC - Reda 54.
Referee: Terry Vaughn.
Att.: 27,000.

Oct. 14 in Carson, Calif.
Chivas USA 1 Colorado 2.
Goals: Perez (Kljestan, Lopez) 78; Ihemelu 64, Cummings (Casey) 90.
Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Alex Zotinca (Rodrigo Lopez 72), Claudio Suarez, Shavar Thomas, Orlando Perez, Sacha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch (Lawson Vaughn 63), Paulo Nagamura, Jonathan Bornstein, John Cunliffe (Laurent Merlin 57), Maykel Galindo.
Colorado - Coundoul, Kimura, Ihemelu, Petke, Prideaux, Cancela (Sanneh, 91+), Erpen, Clark (Peterson, 83), Cooke (Cummings, 82), Casey, Kirovski.
Yellow Cards: Chivas USA - Suarez 31, Thomas 55, Bornstein 84, Perez 88; Colorado - Clark 65.
Red Card: Colorado - Prideaux 46.
Referee: Alex Prus.
Att.: 12,276.

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