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Football Americana Week 25: Revs stall at home

Week 25 was all set to be a quiet one in Major League Soccer with only three games scheduled. But there was plenty of action, a lot of red and no fewer than eleven goals. An adequate return from three matches, and here's my weekly MLS roundup to bring y'all up to date with the ever-bubbling playoff race.

New England Revolution have been the league's form team in recent weeks but missed a real opportunity to make up some ground on Saturday. Playing at home to a poor Kansas City Wizards side, the Revs went a goal down to an early Claudio Lopez goal. Matters got worse in the 22nd minute when New England's talisman Shalrie Joseph was sent off for a nasty studs-up lunge. A stunningly comical own goal from Jay Heaps made it 2-0 and from that point it was a real uphill battle for Steve Nicol's side.

Edgaras Jankauskas pulled a goal back with a wonderful 25-yard half-volley just after the hour mark, but Josh Wolff made it 3-1 ten minutes later. In-form Kheli Dube fired in a lovely diving header to pull the Revolution back into contention. With the Revolution pushing hard in stoppage time, the Wizards broke and Wolff sealed the victory.

DC United's hopes of a playoff spot are slowly fading away and it's their away form that's costing them dear. A trip to FC Dallas isn't an easy proposition these days, and the game finished 2-2. Jeff Cunningham beat Julius James for strength in the 18th minute and sent a clever lob over Josh Wicks to put Dallas ahead. United full-back Marc Burch hit three long distance free kicks in the first half, all bizarrely struck along the ground. The third, in the 44th minute, caught a deflection and rolled in to give DC the equaliser.

Shortly after half time David Ferreira benefited from another James mistake and controlled Dave van den Bergh's cross before blasting it into the roof of the net to restore FCD's lead. In the 56th minute, Santino Quaranta was bearing down on goal only to be tripped by Daniel Torres, who was promptly dismissed. Jaime Moreno, on for Devon McTavish late in the first half, is as reliable as they come from the spot and made no mistake tucking this one home for 2-2.

By Week 25's standards, Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC were goal-shy at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Toronto's Amadou Sanyang was booked in the first half for clumsy foul which would come back to bite him later. In the 24th minute Colorado were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box and Conor Casey, who scored a delightful chipped penalty a few weeks ago, stepped up to take it. No such delicacy this time, as Casey put his boot through the ball and rocked the crossbar.

But he had a chance to make amends in the 51st minute, planting a classic Casey header into the bottom corner to win the game for the Rapids. Another silly foul by Sanyang in the 76th minute earned him a red card, and Toronto went down to nine when Adrian Serioux, the last man as Omar Cummings raced towards him, chose to barge the Rapids striker over rather than clear his lines. It was a red as stupid as Sanyang's but an easy decision for the referee.

With the final weeks of the regular season approaching, Houston Dynamo (40 points) and Columbus Crew (39) lead the two tables followed by Chicago Fire (38) and LA Galaxy (38) respectively. Colorado Rapids (West, 36) lead the wildcard chase from Seattle Sounders (West, 34). There are four clubs on 33 points, of which two would qualify. New England Revolution and DC United are now level on 33 in the East, while Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA have Seattle in their sights in the West.

Full results and standings here.
For more great football writing by Chris Nee, visit TwoFootedTackle.com...

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