Crew and Impact clinch playoff spots

The final weekend of the MLS regular-season won’t be a lame-duck day as far as the playoffs are concerned. At least three spots will be up for grabs Sunday when all 10 teams wind up their schedules. Montreal and Columbus eased the angst of their fans by securing their slots during the weekend, but failing to close the deal were Sporting Kansas City and New England. Portland took a giant leap to the playoff doorstep by crushing the Galaxy, 5-2, two days after the Quakes beat Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, to stay in the hunt.
Seattle could have clinched with a win but instead had to rally just to get a point at Houston. That point wasn’t enough for the Dynamo to stay in the postseason race and also eliminated was Real Salt Lake, which misses the playoffs after seven straight appearances.

FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls stayed tied in the Supporters Shield race with 57 points by winning. RSL fell at home to FCD, 1-0, and the Red Bulls simply destroyed Philly, 4-1, to take a big lead in the second tiebreaker, goal difference. If the teams finish tied on points at the end of season, the tiebreakers used to determine the Shield are the same as those used to separate tied teams in other positions.

Supporters Shield Race Tiebreakers
1. Red Bulls 57 pts. Wins: 17. Goal difference: 18. Goals for: 60.
2. FC Dallas 57 pts. Wins: 17. Goal difference: 12. Goals for: 50.

EASTERN CONFERENCE. As recently as a month ago, it would have seemed crazy for Montreal to clinch before New England, but that’s just what the Impact did Saturday by posting a 1-0 win at Gillette Stadium on a fabulous goal by Ignacio Piatti.

The meeting of two teams heading in opposite directions and Orlando’s defeat of New York City FC in the final meeting of 2015 expansion teams gives an insight into which teams have racked up points down the stretch:
 
Streaking
1. Orlando City (WWWWW).
2. Toronto FC (WWWWL).
3. FC Dallas (LTWWW).
4. Montreal (WLLWW).
5. Portland (LWLWW).
6. Red Bulls (LWWLW).
 
It took Mike Grella a long time to find his way to MLS, but the native of Glen Cove, N.Y., got his name in the record books by scoring the quickest goal in league history -- seven seconds -- to spark a 4-1 rout of Philly. Grella, 28, pounced an errant back pass from the Union’s kickoff to trigger a four-goal burst in the first half.
 
Columbus soured the mood at BMO Field three days after TFC clinched its first playoff spot in nine MLS seasons by securing its own berth, 2-0. The duel between the top goalscorers fizzled when neither Sebastian Giovinco nor Kei Kamara scored to break their tie at 22 goals, but a nice goal by Ethan Finlay and a moment of magic by Federico Higuain settled the outcome.
 
The Lions roared to a fifth straight victory Friday night but a 2-1 defeat of NYCFC still let them barely clinging to playoff hopes. Two more goals for Cyle Larin increased his rookie record to 16.
 
Despite a 4-0 pummeling of Chicago, D.C. United is holding just a one-point lead in the race for second place heading into the final weekend. Four different players scored as United won a second straight game after laboring through six games without a victory.
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE. The Timbers overpowered the Galaxy by scoring five goals in 25 minutes – including a pair from Fanendo Adi - to win for the first time at StubHub Center since joining MLS in 2011. They can clinch with a tie when they host Colorado Sunday.
 
Obafemi Martins’ late equalizer knocked out the Dynamo but left the Sounders perhaps needing a result in its final home game against RSL. In a tougher spot is SKC, which hosts the Galaxy still not assured of a postseason spot after losing in San Jose, 1-0 as David Bingham chalked up his 12th shutout.
 
FCD keeper Jesse Gonzalez and his teammates notched his fifth shutout in just 10 appearances to eliminate RSL. In rather limited action (23 games), Mauro Diaz has four game-winning assists. The league leader has five.
 
MLS Results, Week 33
Sunday, Oct. 18
LA Galaxy 2, Portland 5.
LAG: Robbie Keane (Juninho) 36.
POR: Fanendo Adi (Lucas Melano, Diego Valeri) 65.
POR: Fanendo Adi (penalty kick) 68.
POR: Diego Chara (Rodney Wallace, Fanendo Adi) 74.
LAG: Robbie Keane (Jose Villarreal) 84.
POR: Darlington Nagbe (Maximiliano Urruti, Jorge Villafana) 85.
POR: Maximiliano Urruti (Jorge Villafana) 86.


 
Houston 1, Seattle 1
HOU: Ricardo Clark (Brad Davis) 65.
SEA: Obafemi Martins (Andreas Ivanschitz) 82.
 
NY Red Bulls 4, Philadelphia 1.
NY: Mike Grella 1.
NY: Bradley Wright-Phillips (Damien Perrinelle, Sacha Kljestan) 4.
NY: Mike Grella (Dax McCarty) 17.
NY: Kemar Lawrence (Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam) 44.
PHL: Sebastien LeToux (Tranquillo Barnetta) 55.
Att.: 21,080.
 
 
D.C. United 4, Chicago 0
D.C.: Chris Pontius 39.
D.C.: Bobby Boswell (Fabian Espindola) 67.
D.C.: Fabian Espindola (Nick DeLeon) 71.
D.C.: Alvaro Saborio 80.
Att.: 20,104.
 
Saturday, Oct. 17
Toronto FC 0, Columbus 2
CLB: Ethan Finlay (Tony Tchani, Federico Higuain) 40.
CLB: Federico Higuain 90+1.
Att.: 24,253.
 
New England 0, Montreal 1.
MTL: Ignacio Piatti 55.
Att.: 42,947.


 
Real Salt Lake 0, FC Dallas 1.
FCD: David Texeira (Mauro Diaz) 57.
Att.: 19,899.
 
Friday, Oct. 16
SJ: Anibal Godoy (Chris Wondolowski, Shea Salinas) 80.
Att.: 18,000.

MLS Schedule, Week 34:
Wednesday, Oct, 21
Colorado vs. Sporting KC, 8:30 pm

Sunday, Oct. 25
Columbus vs. D.C. United, 5 pm
Montreal vs. Toronto FC, 5 pm
New York City vs. New England, 5 pm
Philadelphia vs. Orlando, 5 pm
Chicago vs. NY Red Bulls, 5 pm
FC Dallas vs. San Jose, 7 pm
Portland vs. Colorado, 7 pm
Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy, 7 pm
Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 pm
Vancouver vs. Houston, 7 pm
All times ET.

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE

57 (33) *NY Red Bulls
 17-10-6 60/42
Schedule: 10/25 @CHI
51 (33) *D.C. United 15-12-6 43/40
Schedule: 10/25 @CLB
50 (33) *Columbus 14-11-8 53/53
Schedule: 10/25 DC

49 (33) *Toronto FC 15-14-4 57/56
Schedule: 10/25 @MTL
48 (33) *Montreal 14-13-6 46/43
Schedule: 10/25 TFC

47 (33) New England 13-12-8 45/45
Schedule: 10/17 MTL 10/25 @NYC

--------------------------------------
44 (33) Orlando City 12-13-8 46/55
Schedule: 10/25 @PHL
37 (33) x-New York City
 10-16-7 48/55
34 (33) x-Philadelphia 9-17-7 41/55
30 (33) x-Chicago 8-19-6 42/56
*Clinched playoff berth.
x-Eliminated from playoffs.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

PTS (GP) TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
54 (33) *FC Dallas 
17-10-6 50/38
Schedule: 10/25 SJ
51 (33) *LA Galaxy 14-10-9 55/44
Schedule: 10/25 @SKC
50 (33) *Vancouver 15-13-5 42/36
Schedule: 10/25 HOU
47 (32) Portland 13-11-8 37/38
Schedule: 10/25 COL

47 (33) Seattle 14-13-6 41/35
Schedule: 10/25 RSL
48 (32) Sporting KC 13-10-9 46/42
Schedule: 10/21 @COL 10/25 LA

--------------------------------------
47 (33) San Jose 13-12-8 40/37
Schedule: 10/25 @FCD
41 (33) x-Houston 11-13-9 42/456
41 (33) x-Real Salt Lake 11-14-8 37/44
34 (33) x-Colorado 8-14-10 30/39
*Clinched playoff berth.
x-Eliminated from playoffs.

Leading MLS Scorers:
G PLAYER (TEAM)
22 Kei Kamara (Crew SC)
22 Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
19 Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
17 Cyle Larin (Orlando City)

17 David Villa (New York City)
16 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)
16 Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY Red Bulls)
15 Obafemi Martins (Seattle)
15 Fanendo Adi (Portland)
12 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
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