DC United scores late vs. Crew to clinch playoff berth

DC United scores late vs. Crew to clinch playoff berth
October 20, 2012, 9:30 pm
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lewis Neal scored in stoppage time and D.C. United beat the Columbus Crew 3-2 on Saturday night to clinch its first playoff berth in five seasons.

Marcelo Saragosa and Nick DeLeon also scored for United (17-10-6). The Washington club ran its unbeaten streak to six games and helped eliminate the Crew (14-12-7) from playoff contention.

The win also pushed United's club home unbeaten streak to 16 (12-0-4). United won the last of its four MLS titles in 2004.

Eddie Gaven and Jairo Arrieta each scored their ninth goals of the season for Columbus.

But the Crew failed to preserve two leads, and saw their playoff hopes end when the Houston Dynamo sealed a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union about 15 minutes later.

United would've clinched one of five Eastern Conference playoff spots with a draw, but can now finish no worse than fourth and is guaranteed at least one home playoff game.

They moved ahead of the Chicago Fire and into second place in the Eastern Conference, and could win the conference with a win at Chicago and a Sporting Kansas City loss in the season finales next weekend.

Neal sealed the win a minute into stoppage time when he finished off a swift counterattack that began when Chris Korb's long ball found Branko Boskovic on the left. Boskovic quickly played to Neal, who finished past a stranded Andy Gruenebaum. Neal and Boskovic were late substitutes for United.

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