MLS 2012, Midweek 23: D.C. And Columbus Pick Up Wins

Columbus moved closer to a playoff spot with a 2-1 win over Toronto, while D.C. impressed in taking down Chicago 4-2.

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D.C. United Vs. Chicago Fire, 2012 MLS: DCU Picks Up Key Win

D.C. United entered Wednesday knowing that they really needed a win. They were playing the Chicago Fire, who is ahead of them in the table, at the same time that the Columbus Crew were on their way to picking up three points in their match and continuing to gain ground on D.C. That made United's 4-2 win over the Fire all the more important as they went a long ways to securing a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

It took 19 minutes for D.C. to jump out in front of Chicago, albeit with plenty of help from the Fire. First, Chicago failed to make a simple clearance and instead turned the ball over to Chris Pontius 20 yards from goal. Pontius then fired wide of the far post. Sean Johnson, thinking the ball would go out for a goal kick just let the ball go, only Dwayne De Rosario was waiting there to knock the ball into the open net.

Just before halftime, Chicago did get even. Some clever and quick interplay broke down the defense and left Daniel Paladini open from 12 yards to finish for the equalizer.

Chicago's lead wouldn't last long, though. Within a minute of the start of the second half, Lionard Pajoy got on the end of a cross from Andy Najar and powered home a header that restored D.C.'s lead.

Not long after, Brandon McDonald added another goal with a brilliant header off of a Chris Korb ball. He took the diagonal ball and expertly lifted it over Johnson and right into the corner at the far post for a tremendous goal.

Gonzalo Segares did his best to get Chicago back in the match with a 75th minute goal, but it wasn't enough. Long Tan then added a goal in the final minutes and D.C. had themselves three key points.

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Columbus Crew Vs. Toronto FC, 2012 MLS: Federico Higuain Leads Crew To Win

The Columbus Crew got an assist from new Designated Player Federico Higuain in his club debut over the weekend, but that was just a taste of what he would bring to the Crew in his first home match. The Argentinian notched a goal and assist on Wednesday night, lighting up the small midweek crowd as the Crew continued their run at a playoff spot with a 2-1 win over Toronto FC.

Higuain set up Eddie Gaven in the fourth minute to give the Crew an early lead. He stretched the Toronto defense wide before feeding Gaven, whose shot took a deflection before finding the net.

In the second half, Higuain doubled Columbus' lead, but it was very much a team goal. They strung together a series of passes and left the Toronto defense in pieces. Eventually, the ball found Higuain, who finished well from 12 yards and the Crew were on their way to a rather easy win.

Luis Silva did tally late to cut the Crew's lead in half, but the Reds didn't have nearly enough firepower to really scare the home side.

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