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Football Americana Week 28: Columbus cross the line

A little later than usual, here is your weekly Major League Soccer roundup. It was a great weekend for the Crew while many around them floundered. It's getting mighty exciting on the other side of the Atlantic and the play-offs are fast approaching. So with LA, Seattle and DC all tripping up, here's the lowdown:

It was a tale of two spot kicks at Dick's Sporting Goods Park last Wednesday. Colorado Rapids created all the chances but fell behind when Chris Wondolowski fired his 67th minute penalty for San Jose Earthquakes into the roof of the net. The Rapids couldn't apply the finishing touch until Omar Cummings was tripped in the 92nd minute and Conor Casey coolly placed the penalty - Joe Cannon will be happy not to face a stoppage time Casey penalty again for a while.

Los Angeles Galaxy had to travel to Columbus Crew without David Beckham (achilles injury) and the champions, themselves resting key players for an important CONCACAF Champions League game in midweek, took full advantage. Eddie Gaven headed the Crew in front in the first half and Steven Lenhart pounced on a Donovan Ricketts fumble to double the lead just before the hour.

Stumbling Seattle Sounders headed to New England Revolution and dropped more points. It started well for the Sounders, who led after six minutes thanks to a freakish goal from Fredy Montero, who picked up the ball on the halfway line, skinned Wells Thompson and unleashed a shot from distance which completely fooled Matt Reis and dipped in off the bar.

The Revs were awarded a penalty just after half time and Shalrie Joseph drilled the ball past Kasey Keller for 1-0. And Joseph earned the Revolution a much-needed win late on with a well-taken header having broken the offside trap - maybe.

In their second game of the week, Colorado Rapids battled out a goalless draw with Kansas City Wizards at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The Wizards missed the two best chances of the game in the last ten minutes.

FC Dallas picked up another high-scoring win, this time truimphing 3-0 at home to Real Salt Lake. Jeff Cunningham bagged his 14th of the season in the fifth minute, volleying in to tidy up a spot of goalmouth pinball. David Ferreira's skillful poke made it 2-0 with just ten minutes gone, and Cunningham moved onto 15, thrashing in FCD's third off the post in the 87th minute.

Chicago Fire had to settle for another 2-2 draw at Toyota Park, this time against Toronto FC. Dwayne De Rosario put TFC ahead in the sixth minute, sweeping in after an error in the Chicago defence. The Fire were level eight minutes later thanks to a Nick Garcia own goal.

DeRo found Chad Barrett with a lovely cross in the first minute of the second half and Barrett applied a simple finish for 2-1, but Brian McBride saved Chicago's blushes with twelve minutes to go, heading in a pinpoint cross from Justin Mapp.

And the points were also shared at Home Depot Center, where Chivas USA led after 64 minutes with a dipping 25-yarder from Sacha Kljestan. With six minutes to go Juan Pablo Angel thought he'd earned a point for New York Red Bulls by heading in the equaliser, but Chivas were awarded a stoppage time penalty, missed by Kljestan to rob his team of the win.

On Sunday night, desperate DC United hosted San Jose Earthquakes. Jaime Moreno put them ahead, finding the net after receiving a cross from Chris Pontius, but they were ultimately made to pay for poor finishing. The Quakes had a goal disallowed but Ramon Sanchez scored a free kick after United lost goalkeeper Josh Wicks to a dislocated shoulder and Ryan Johnson won it with 17 minutes left, heading in after the ball came back off Milos Kocic's crossbar.

The Crew's win over the Galaxy secures their playoff spot and puts them in the driving seat for Supporters' Shield. Houston Dynamo, the Galaxy and Chicago currently hold the next three automatic places, followed by Colorado, Chivas, Seattle and New England in the wildcard spots. Stay tuned next week for more exciting MLS action!

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