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Football Americana Week 28: Wondo fires Quakes into playoffs



Seven out of the eight likely playoff participants now have just two matches left as the post-season looms large on the horizon. Here's what happened in Week 28.

After briefly losing first place to Salt Lake, LA Galaxy have snatched back complete control in the space of a few days and are on the brink of winning the Supporters Shield. Their second win of the week was a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia Union, secured by Edson Buddle's 16th MLS goal of 2010. The USA striker headed home a David Beckham corner in the 27th minute and the Union will wish they'd had a man on the post. Donovan Ricketts played well in the LA goal.

Columbus Crew's momentum is faltering since confirming their playoff place and their hopes of topping the East are alive, but in intensive care. They were beaten 2-0 by Chicago Fire, who are now eliminated from playoff contention. Peter Lowry and Brian McBride scored the goals either side of half time. Lowry ghosted into the area and prodded the first past William Hesmer on half an hour, and McBride turned a Patrick Nyarko cross into the roof of the net to double the lead. Marco Pappa hit the woodwork for the home side who really took the Crew apart.

The weekend's highest-profile match saw Real Salt Lake head east to face New York Red Bulls and the two cancelled each other out to put LA in the Supporters Shield driving seat. Andy Williams' effort crashed against the post for RSL but it was the Red Bulls who created the most chances, unable to make them count and almost made to pay on a few occasions as Salt Lake gave almost as good as they got.

Colorado Rapids are on the brink of playoff qualification after a 2-2 draw in Texas against FC Dallas, who continue their long unbeaten streak. Jeff Larentowicz gave the Rapids an early lead at Pizza Hut Park with a lovely low shot after a counter-attack. Dallas hit back quickly, Milton Rodriguez and David Ferreira (pictured) making it 2-1 before half time. Just after half time, Larentowicz levelled it at 2-2 and the teams shared the points.

The match between DC United and San Jose Earthquakes was down to ten-a-side after just eight minutes. Jaime Moreno and Brandon McDonald were dismissed after an ugly confrontation - after the game, Moreno pleaded his innocence and claimed to have been punched before McDonald's headbutt. There doesn't seem to have been any justification at all for the Bolivian's red card. From then it became the Chris Wondolowski show, with the in-form forward blasting in the first and volleyed in the second in a 2-0 Earthquakes win that secured their spot in the playoffs when combined with Kansas City's defeat.

Speaking of which, Kansas City Wizards were taken to the brink of elimination by a home loss against US Open Cup winners Seattle Sounders. Sanna Nyassi (pictured) found the net at the second attempt in the 66th minute and Alvaro Fernandez took the sting out of the game with the Sounders second 12 minutes from time. Davy Arnaud's penalty was scant consolation as the Wizards hit the post in stoppage time and were effectively knocked out of post-season involvement at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

In a dead rubber at Home Depot Center, Chivas USA's 3-0 win gave Toronto FC a bloody nose. All three goals came in the second half after TFC had already created some great chances, with Jorge Flores tapping in the first, Jesus Padilla driving in a late second and Rodolfo Espinoza sealing it from the edge of the box. TFC hit the woodwork twice in a game they might have won had luck been on their side.

And in another game with little riding upon it, New England Revolution defeated Houston Dynamo 2-1 at Robertson Stadium. Shalrie Joseph sprung the Dynamo's defence just before half time to give the Revs a 1-0 lead only for Dominic Oduro to equalise with an hour gone with a well-taken volley at the back post. New England got their winner 15 minutes later, Kheli Dube cracking in their second after a defensive error. A lengthy period of stoppage time turned ugly for the men in orange, who pikced up two red cards. Joseph Ngwenya went for a reckless high tackle in the 92nd minute and four minutes later Geoff Cameron completely lost his mind, flooring Pat Phelan with a vicious forearm smash.

Two weeks to go, and seven sides have now confirmed their playoff spots. LA and RSL lead the West and the combined table, with first wildcard Dallas also on more points than Eastern leaders New York and Columbus. Seattle and San Jose are in and the final spot comes down to Colorado or Kansas City - in stark contrast to last season - although the Wizards need a miracle and more in order to progress. You can keep tabs on the playoff standings here, and check out all the MLS action here.

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