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.
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.
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.
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.
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.