D.C. United tops East, Crew gets in

[MLS: Saturday] D.C. United wrapped up a remarkable run by downing Chicago, 2-1, to win the Eastern Conference regular-season title a year after it was last in MLS with the fewest wins in league history. Columbus claimed the final Eastern Conference playoff spot when Toronto FC couldn’t beat cellar-dweller Montreal at home, and Vancouver matched a 0-0 tie played by Portland Friday to regain its one-point edge in their Western Conference battle.

Saturday, October 18
Toronto FC 1, Montreal 1
TFC: Warren Creavalle 20
MON: Felipe Martins (Andres Romero, Patrice Bernier) 39
Red cards: TFC -- Jonathan Osorio 90+3; MON -- Heath Pearce 82, Hassoun Camara 90+5
Att.: 18,329.

Philadelphia 2, Sporting Kansas City 1
PHL: Brian Brown (Cristian Maidana) 45
SKC: Dom Dwyer (pen.) 54
PHL: Pedro Ribeiro (Cristian Maidana, Sheanon Williams) 71
Att.: 18,073.

Colorado 0, FC Dallas 1
FCD: Blas Perez (pen.) 55
Red card: COL -- Jared Watts  79
Att.: 15,274.

D.C. United 2, Chicago 1
DC: Chris Pontius (Eddie Johnson, Nick DeLeon) 31
DC: Eddie Johnson 53
CHI: Harrison Shipp (Patrick Nyarko) 67
Att.: 20,162.

San Jose 0, Vancouver 0
Att.: 10,525.

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT. D.C. United completed its remarkable worst-to-first saga by beating Chicago, 2-1, to wrap up the Eastern Conference regular-season title with a game to spare. Its 42-point improvement from last year’s pathetic three-win season is the sharpest turnaround in league history.

Chris Pontius, playing just his sixth game this season following a long recovery from hamstring surgeries, scored his first goal in more than a year to put United in front. He connected with an excellent cross from Eddie Johnson, who early in the second half doubled the lead by pouncing on a poor Patrick Ianni back pass and sticking it in the top corner.

Rookie of the Year candidate Harry Shipp cut the deficit in half by swapping passes with Patrick Nyarko to net his seventh goal of the season. Chicago nearly tied it a minute later when a deflected Shipp shot nudged the base of the post, after which United regained command to claim its first conference title since it won the Supporters’ Shield in 2007.

MORE REDS THAN GOALS. Toronto FC fans will spend another postseason watching teams other than their own after a 1-1 tie with Montreal at BMO Field eliminated it from playoff contention and assured the Crew of finishing no lower than fifth.

The failure record is a perfect eight misses in as many seasons after this result, in which TFC -- needing victory to keep its tenuous playoff chase alive -- took an early lead with Warren Creavalle’s first goal for the club. Montreal equalized before halftime, and despite a red card to Heath Pearce in the 82nd minute that gave TFC a man advantage it was unable to get the goal and points it needed to stay within striking distance of the Crew. If not for three fine saves by keeper Joe Bendik and Jack McInerney shot that beat the keeper but hit the crossbar, the suspense would have ended long before TFC’s Jonathan Osorio and the Impact’s Hassoun Camara were also sent off in stoppage time.

CHAMP STUMBLES AGAIN. A 2-1 loss at Philadelphia means defending champion SKC can finish no higher than third in the East and could still drop into a wild-card slot.

He probably won’t get many votes for Newcomer of the Year, yet Argentine midfielder Cristian Maidana has played very well in spurts this season, and his two assists set up the strikes by which rookies Brian Brown and Pedro Ribeiro sandwiched the 22nd goal of the year for SKC’s Dom Dwyer. Maidana leads the Union with 11 assists and is one of only nine players to have hit double-digits so far this year. Brown and Ribeiro both scored their second goals in MLS.

The loss dropped SKC’s record in the past five games to 2-2-1 and put out a clear target for New York and Columbus, which meet at Red Bull Arena Sunday. The Red Bulls trail SKC by two points, the Crew is three back.

WESTERN TALES. FC Dallas took a big step towards edging Real Salt Lake for third place in the Western Conference by beating Colorado, 1-0, on a Blas Perez penalty kick. FCD holds a one-point edge as well as an insurmountable advantage in the first tiebreaker, most wins. Yet RSL can regain the lead by beating Chivas USA Wednesday in its final game of the season; Portland closes out 2014 at FC Dallas next Saturday.

FCD got its penalty kick when Rapids defender Chris Klute was whistled for intentionally handling the ball in the 55th minute and Colorado’s hopes of getting that goal back vaporized when Jared Watts was shown a second yellow card in the 79th minute. The Rapids managed just one shot on goal as their winless streak increased to 13 games.

BYE-BYE TO BUCK SHAW. The Quakes' winless streak is 14 games after they closed out their seven-year stay at Buck Shaw Stadium on the Santa Clara University campus by tying Vancouver, 0-0. Former Quake Steve Beitashour nullified one of San Jose’s best scoring opportunities by clearing a Chris Wondolowski cross, and keeper David Ousted saved a Wondolowski shot just before halftime. Counterpart Jon Busch did his part in the double shutout by charging out to block a Kekuta Manneh attempt in the 75th minute. Ousted leads MLS keepers with 12 shutouts.

Last-place San Jose needs to beat Chivas USA in its final game next Sunday to have any chance of avoiding the cellar. The Quakes move into their new stadium next season. The 'Caps regained fifth place in the Western Conference ahead of Portland and will clinch if they beat Colorado at home. Portland has a much tougher road, traveling to FC Dallas -- after going to Honduras for their Concacaf Champions League match against Olimpia.

Friday, October 17
Portland 0 Real Salt Lake 0.

Thursday, October 16
Houston 1 New England 2.
HOU:  Giles Barnes 37
NE: Lee Nguyen (Kevin Alston, Jermaine Jones 4) 65
NE: Lee Nguyen (Darrius Barnes) 86
Att.: 22,332.

Sunday, October 19
3 p.m. ET
New York vs. Columbus, UniMas
8:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle, ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes

MLS Standings:


58 (33) *D.C. United 17-9-7 51/36
52 (33) *New England 16-13-4 50/46
49 (33) *Sporting KC
14-12-7 48/39
47 (32) *New York 12-9-11 52/47
(32) Columbus 12-10-10 47/40
42 (33) x-Philadelphia 10-11-12 50/49
41 (33) Toronto FC 11-13-8 44/53
39 (33) x-Houston 11-16-6 38/56
33 (33) x-Chicago 5-10-18 39/50
27 (33) x-Montreal 6-18-9 37/57

(32) *Seattle 19-10-3 61/48
60 (32) *LA Galaxy 17-6-9 67/33
54 (33) *FC Dallas 16-11-6 55/43
53 (33) *Real Salt Lake 14-8-11 52/39
47 (33) Vancouver 11-8-13 41/40
46 (33) Portland 11-9-13 59/52
32 (33) x-Colorado 8-17-8 43/61
30 (32) x-Chivas USA 8-18-6 28/59
30 (33) x-San Jose
6-15-12 35/49
*Clinched playoff berth.
x-Eliminated from playoffs.
MLS: Leading Scorers
25 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
22 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
19 Robbie Keane
, LA Galaxy
17 Obafemi Martins
, Seattle
17 Lee Nguyen, New England
16 Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy
15 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
14 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
14 Chris Wondolowski
, San Jose
13 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake

Wednesday, October 22
9:30 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Chivas USA
Friday, October 24
8 p.m. ET
Chicago vs. Houston
Saturday, October 25
2:30 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. LA Galaxy, NBC
4 p.m. ET
Montreal vs. D.C. United
7:30 p.m. ET
New England vs. Toronto FC
8:30 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Portland
10 p.m. ET
Vancouver vs. Colorado, UDN
Sunday, October 26
3 p.m. ET
Chivas USA vs. San Jose
4 p.m. ET
Columbus vs. Philadelphia, UniMas
8:30 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. New York, ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes

1 comment about "D.C. United tops East, Crew gets in".
  1. Gus Keri, October 19, 2014 at 5:59 a.m.

    Also, by winning the eastern conference regular season, DC United qualified to next season CCL. The new regulation gives an automatic birth to both conference regular season winners, the Supporter's Shield winner is one of them.

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