Sunday's big winner is ... the Crew

[MLS REWIND: Week 31] It might not qualify for the playoffs, but the Columbus Crew came out the big winner of four MLS games played Sunday. Conference leaders New York and Seattle played to a 1-1 tie to leave the Supporters’ Shield race extremely tight, Portland edged Los Angeles, 1-0, to claim third place in the Western Conference, but the Crew boosted its playoff chances and all but snuffed those of FC Dallas by winning, 4-2, at Toyota Stadium. San Jose also stayed alive with a 1-0 win at Chivas USA on Chris Wondolowski's late goal.

Goals: 23/9 GP (2.56 avg.)
Video: Weekend Timeline
Rewind: Saturday

RED BULLS RALLY. A game lacking a bit of star power didn’t disappoint for intensity, and as a result the Red Bulls still rule the roost atop the overall standings.

Designated Player Tim Cahill’s equalizer in the 76th minute enabled New York to secure a 1-1 tie against Seattle Sunday night in a game lashed by wind and rain at CenturyLink Field. Jamison Olave and Thierry Henry sat out, as did the Sounders’ Clint Dempsey, and though the home team took a 1-0 lead the final seconds of the first half it couldn’t ride that momentum to the finish line.

New York held firm throughout the first half yet still fell behind in the 45th minute when Brad Evans converted a penalty kick after his cross had caromed off the arm of Marcus Holgersson. The Red Bull defender and several of his teammates protested furiously and Evans waited patiently before drilling his penalty past the dive of keeper Luis Robles, who guessed correctly but came up short.

New York pushed hard for the tying goal and persevered despite twice hitting the woodwork on set plays. Holgersson bounced a back-header off the crossbar from a free kick and Fabian Espindola, who worked relentlessly before running out of gas, headed a corner off the post two minutes later.

Cahill punished a couple of fluffed clearances by working the ball free and striking an excellent shot into the top far corner. Seattle (15-8-6, 51 pts.) and Real Salt Lake (15-10-6, 51 pts.) trail overall leader New York (15-9-7, 52 pts.) by just one point and the Sounders have two games in hand over both teams.

DRUBBING IN BIG ‘D.’ Hosting a crucial match, FC Dallas did just about everything wrong, and thus its playoff hopes are just about extinguished. It fell behind early at home and never caught up.

The Crew seized command at Toyota Stadium by scoring twice within the first 17 minutes and also netting a vital third goal after FCD had cut its 2-0 lead in half. Goals by Federico Higuain, who blocked an attempted clearance with his head back into the net, and Jairo Arrieta opened up the 2-0 lead.

FCD replied quickly with a Mauro Diaz through ball that released Blas Perez to score in the 21st minute. The Crew held onto the advantage, then increased it a minute before halftime when Dominic Oduro, who had assisted on Arrieta’s goal, glided past two defenders to score his 12th goal of the season. Diaz showed off some slick skills and accurate finishing to again cut the deficit to a goal but Bernardo Anor’s goal in the 86th minute cemented victory for the Crew.

Columbus (12-14-5, 41 points) moved into sixth place in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind Philadelphia (11-10-9, 42 pts.), which occupies the final postseason spot and had strengthened its own playoff hopes with a big road win of its own at Kansas City Friday night. The Crew is tied on points with New England (11-11-8) but holds the edge in the first tiebreaker, most victories.

GUT-CHECK AT JELD-WEN. Some fans have worried the Timbers’ ability to beat good teams in crunch situations; thanks to newcomer Maximiliano Urruti, they did just that against the Galaxy on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Urruti, who arrived in a shock trade from Toronto three week ago, glanced home a Will Johnson corner kick with his right foot seven minutes into the second half. Urruti cut inside Sean Franklin to the near post and flicked the knee-high serve between Landon Donovan, who was guarding the post, and keeper Jaime Penedo.

The Timbers’ defense kept a tight rein on Donovan and Robbie Keane, limiting the pair to just one shot on goal. Keane headed a Donovan free kick into the top corner in stoppage time but a correct offside decision nullified the apparent equalizer. That didn’t stop Keane and head coach Bruce Arena from angrily berating the officials.

WONDO RESCUES QUAKES. San Jose, last year's Supporters' Shield winner, has struggled to keep up in the Western Conference but suddenly finds itself just one point out behind the Galaxy and Colorado in the battle for the two wild-card spots.

Wondo scored five minutes after Steven Lenhart was sent off for picking up his second yellow card of the game.

Sunday, September 29
Portland 1 LA Galaxy 0.
POR: Maximiliano Urruti (Will Johnson) 52
Att.: 20,674.

Sunday, September 29
FC Dallas 2 Columbus 4.
CLB: Federico Higuain 9
CLB: Jairo Arrieta (Dominic Oduro) 17
DAL: Blas Perez (Mauro Diaz) 21
CLB: Dominic Oduro (Chad Barson) 44
DAL: Mauro Diaz 54
CLB: Bernardo Anor (Federico Higuain) 86
Att.: 11,442.

Sunday, September 29

Seattle 1 New York 1.
SEA: Brad Evans (pen.) 45 
NY:  Tim Cahill 76
Att.: 39,083.

Sunday, September 29

Chivas USA 0 San Jose 1.
SJ: Chris Wondolowski 87
Red card: San Jose Steven Lenhart 71.
Att.: 7,751.

Saturday, September 28
Toronto FC 4 D.C. United 1
DCU: Jared Jeffrey 15
TFC: Darel Russell 25
TFC: Bright Dike (Mark Bloom) 67
TFC: Conor Shanosky (own goal) 71
TFC: Alvaro Rey (Justin Braun) 87
Att.: 15,879.
Saturday, September 28

Vancouver 0 Real Salt Lake 1
RSL: Devon Sandoval (Lovel Palmer) 9
Att.: 21,000.

Saturday, September 28

New England 1 Houston 1
NE: Saer Sene (Lee Nguyen) 64
HOU: Will Bruin (Boniek Garcia) 76
Att.: 21,297.

Saturday, September 28

Chicago 2 Montreal 2.
MTL: Marco Di Vaio (Davy Arnaud) 25
CHI: Mike Magee 57
CHI: Mike Magee 73
MTL: Maxim Tissot  87
Att.: 18,173.

Chicago-Montreal Highlights:

Friday, September 27
Sporting KC 0 Philadelphia 1.
PHI: Conor Casey 36
Att.: 19,243.
Eastern Conference:

52 (31) New York 15-9-7 48/37
48 (30) Sporting KC 14-10-6 43/29
46 (29) Montreal 13-9-7 48/44
44 (30) Houston 12-10-8 38/37
42 (30) Philadelphia 11-10-9 38/39
41 (31) Columbus 12-14-5 40/41
41 (30) New England 11-11-8 42/34
40 (30) Chicago 11-12-7 38/45
26 (31) Toronto FC 5-15-11 29/45
15 (30) D.C. United 3-21-6 20/52

Western Conference:
51 (31) Real Salt Lake 15-10-6 54/39
51 (29) Seattle 15-8-6 39/29
49 (30) Portland 12-5-13 46/31
45 (30) LA Galaxy 13-11-6 46/37
45 (30) Colorado 12-9-9 37/31
44 (31) San Jose 12-11-8 32/41
41 (30) Vancouver 11-11-8 42/39
40 (30) FC Dallas 10-10-10 42/46
26 (31) Chivas USA 6-17-8 29/55
19+1 Marco Di Vaio (Montreal)
18+2 Mike Magee (Los Angeles/Chicago)
16 Camilo (Vancouver)
12+1 Dominic Oduro (Columbus)
12 Robbie Keane (Los Angeles)
11+1 Federico Higuain (Columbus)
11+1 Blas Perez (FC Dallas)
11 Diego Fagundez (New England)
10+1 Conor Casey (Philadelphia)
10 Claudio Bieler (Sporting KC)
10 Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
10 Jack McInerney (Philadelphia)

MLS WEEK 32, Schedule:
Friday, October 4
8 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Chicago NBCSN
8:30 pm ET
Houston vs. Montreal

Saturday, October 5
7 pm ET
New York vs. New England
7:30 pm ET
Columbus vs. Sporting KC
Philadelphia vs. Toronto FC
9 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas
10 pm ET
Colorado vs. Seattle NBCSN

Sunday, October 6
5 pm ET
LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA UniMas
8 pm ET
Vancouver vs. Portland

MLS WEEK 33, Schedule:
Wednesday, October 9
8:30 pm ET
Houston vs. Sporting KC
10 pm ET
Seattle vs. Vancouver
10:30 pm ET
San Jose vs. Colorado

Saturday, October 12
2:30 pm ET
Montreal vs. New England
7 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Philadelphia
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Chicago

Sunday, October 13
9 pm ET
Portland vs. Seattle ESPN

MLS WEEK 34, Schedule:
Wednesday, October 16
10:30 pm ET
LA Galaxy vs. Montreal

Friday, October 18
8 pm ET
Sporting KC vs. D.C. United NBCSN

Saturday, October 19
2 pm ET
Montreal vs. Philadelphia
3 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Seattle NBCSN
6 pm ET
Colorado vs. Vancouver
7:30 pm ET
New England vs. Columbus
8:30 pm ET
Chicago vs. Toronto FC
10:30 pm ET
Portland vs. Real Salt Lake

Sunday, October 20
4 pm ET
Houston vs. New York UniMas
9 pm ET
LA Galaxy vs. San Jose ESPN

MLS WEEK 35, Schedule:
Wednesday, October 23
9 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Chivas USA

Saturday, October 26
3 pm ET
Philadelphia vs. Sporting KC NBCSN
4 pm ET
Toronto FC vs. Montreal Univision Dep.
5:30 pm ET
San Jose vs. FC Dallas NBCSN
10:30 pm ET
Chivas USA vs. Portland

Sunday, October 27
1:30 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Houston NBC
4 pm ET
Columbus vs. New England
5 pm ET
New York vs. Chicago UniMas
8 pm ET
Vancouver vs. Colorado
9 pm ET
Seattle vs. LA Galaxy ESPN
1 comment about "Sunday's big winner is ... the Crew".
  1. Andrea Hana, September 30, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.

    Close call for the Supporter's? Hmmmm. I'm a Sounders Fan. I'm biased. However, we have 5 games: 3 away with Rapids, Timbers and FC Dallas (in the bag), and 2 at home with Whitecaps (no problem) and Galaxy (we tied last game). Red Bulls, sorry America, only has 3 more: 2 at home with New England and Chicago and 1 away with Houston. Even if the Red Bulls won all 3 games, that only gives the a total of 61 points. They can't get anymore than that. The Sounders have a potential of getting 15 points to add, a total of 66 points. Even if they tied with the Galaxy, they've got it made. The other teams are toast. They're going for it. It's in the bag.

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