Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

MLS, Week 27: Chris Wondolowski Leads Quakes Past Sounders

The league's leading goalscorer pushed San Jose further atop MLS, while Chicago picked up a key win and LA and Salt Lake clinched playoff spots.

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The Earthquakes Bolster Their Position

Two more clubs clinched playoff berths while the San Jose Earthquakes showed their dominance yet again.


Philadelphia Union Vs. Houston Dynamo, 2012 MLS: Freddy Adu Scores Two In Win

This season has not gone as planned for Freddy Adu or the Philadelphia Union. On Sunday, though, they showed they are still perfectly capable of making life tough on teams with playoff aspirations.

With the Houston Dynamo locked in a fight for their playoff lives, Adu scored a pair of goals and the Union won 3-1. The Union also snapped an eight-game winless run and kept alive their paper-thin playoff hopes.

Adu's first goal was particularly encouraging. In the 28th minute, he was able to control a loose ball near the endline, cut it back and then hit a shot near-post as Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was screened. Adu got his second goal on a penalty that followed Sheanon Williams being tackled in the penalty area during a corner kick.

The Union closed out the scoring when Josue Martinez scored his first MLS goal when he found himself unmarked near the goal post in the 70th minute.

Oscar Boniek Garcia scored the only goal for the Dynamo, slamming a shot in from just inside the penalty area in the 44th minute that tied the score 1-1.

The loss leaves the Dynamo just one point ahead of the Columbus Crew for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with four games left to play. The Union lag 16 points behind, but with six matches left to play.


Seattle Sounders Vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 2012 MLS: Quakes Best In The West

The only way the San Jose Earthquakes weren't going to win the Western Conference is if they lost to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night. Well, they didn't, taking down Seattle 2-1 to move 11 points clear of second place in the conference. The math hasn't crowned them the best team in the West yet, but reality has. San Jose are your Western Conference champs.

Of course, it was Chris Wondolowski who scored the winner for San Jose. MLS's leading goalscorer, who is taking aim at the league's single-season scoring record, just ghosted away from his marker in the 30th minute. All alone, he just had to simply redirect the ball home from close range for his 22nd of the season and the eventual match-winner.

The Quakes went in front after just two minutes when they jumped on a giveaway by Steve Zakuani. Eventually Simon Dawkins got on the ball, cut in from the left and unleashed a wicked shot from more than 20 yards to beat Michael Gspurning for the opening tally.

Zakuani made up for that with the equalizer, but most of the credit goes to Sammy Ochoa. He held a defender off, flicked the ball past him and then his the ball across the frame of goal that Zakuani just had to tap into the empty net to make things even.

But eventually, Wondolowski got involved. He scored the winner and the Quakes had themselves a key win. Besides being way out in front of the West, they are now five points clear of Kansas City in the Supporters' Shield race and look like good bets to claim the trophy.

The loss actually drops Seattle all the way down to fourth place, which would require them to play in the wild card playoff game against the fifth place team in the West. The Sounders trail the Galaxy and RSL by one point for second place.


LA Galaxy Vs. Toronto FC, 2012 MLS: Galaxy Clinch Playoff Spot, Into Second Place

Six months ago, Toronto FC eliminated the LA Galaxy from the CONCACAF Champions League, but a lot has happened since then. For example, we learned that LA is a very good team and Toronto are awful. We saw that on Saturday night as the two teams squared off again and this time the Galaxy prevailed 4-2 to clinch a playoff spot, while the Reds remain at the bottom of the MLS table.

Juninho continued his fine run of play in the 11th minute with the opening goal. After a foul just outside the box, Juninho curled the ball around the wall while a bewildered Freddy Hall watched as the ball found the net for the opening tally.

The Brazilian wasn't done, though. In the 33rd minute he hit an absolute rocket from 30 yards that left Hall no chance. The ball found the upper corner for an amazing goal that put LA two goals up.

Robbie Keane got in on the action three minutes later thanks to some fine play by Landon Donovan and Mike Magee. Donovan got down the left before cutting back for Magee, who took a gorgeous first touch the left the TFC defense in his wake. That forced the Reds to scramble and Keane wide open so Magee fed Keane and the Irishman gave LA a three-goal lead.

LA's big lead was completely deserved, too. They completely outclassed Toronto, who didn't even look like professionals, let alone capable of playing with a team in the form that LA is in right now. The Galaxy had all of the possession and chances, while the Reds just hacked away aimlessly and without success.

But once down three goals, TFC somehow found a way back in the match. Terry Dunfield scored from close range when Marcelo Sarvas decided that marking was optional and left him wide open in front of goal and in the 86th minute, Luis Silva scored as well.

Somehow, despite TFC looking truly dreadful and the Galaxy completely controlling the match, the Reds were only a goal down. But any hope that the visitors may have had vanished in stoppage time when Keane whiffed on a perfect pass from Donovan, but got it back and beat a defender before finishing well to ice the match.

The win didn't just clinch a playoff spot for the Galaxy, it put them into second place in the Western Conference. They are tied with Salt Lake on 49 points, but have a superior goal difference in the battle for second, while Seattle sits one point back.

Toronto is on just 22 points this season, five points back of anyone else. They looked even worse than that for most of Saturday night.


Chicago Fire Vs. Columbus Crew, 2012 MLS: Fire Come Back For Vital Win

The Chicago Fire stayed red hot and the Columbus Crew continued their slump in a key playoff battle and it was all because of Chris Rolfe. After Chicago fell behind 1-0, Rolfe scored a pair of goals to lead the Fire to a 2-1 win that has them comfortably in a playoff sport, while the Crew are on the outside looking in.

It took just 15 minutes for Columbus to go in front thanks to one of Sean Johnson's all-too-common mistakes. This time he took a back pass and kicked it right to Jairo Arrieta, who was wearing a yellow shirt and not a red one. He was also just 12 yards in front of the goal so he had no problem beating Johnson for the opening tally.

That just started the Chris Rolfe Show, though. The veteran scored twice in three minutes to give Chicago the lead.

It started in the 23rd minute when Sherjill MacDonald played Rolfe in with a good pass. All alone in on Andy Gruenebaum, Rolfe made no mistake with a clinical finish that level the match at 1-1.

Rolfe showed off his expert finishing again three minutes later. He collected a pass from Patrick Nyarko before curling a shot just around Gruenebaum for a pretty goal and the Fire were a goal to the good.

Columbus had the bulk of the possession the rest of thee way, but they couldn't do much with it. They rarely created chances and when they did, their attempts at goal left plenty to be desired.

In the end, Rolfe's goals held up and earned the Fire their seventh win in eight matches. That run has propelled them to second in the East on 53 points, just two shy of leaders Kansas City with a match in hand. The Crew are one point out of a playoff spot and have played one more match than the fourth and fifth place teams in the conference.


New England Revolution Vs. New York Red Bulls, 2012 MLS: And Then Stoppage Time Happened...

If you watched the first 90 minute of the New York Red Bulls taking on the New England Revolution, apologies. But if you stuck around for stoppage time, you were rewarded for your extreme patience with action and humor. The two teams traded goals in stoppage time, both thanks to some laughable defending, en route to a 1-1 draw.

The only entertainment of the first 90 minutes came just four minutes in when Jerry Bengtson scored, but the goal was called back for offside. After that, it got ugly.

It wasn't much of a surprise that nether team could do much. After all, the Red Bulls started a painfully slow midfield of Jan Gunnar Solli, Teemi Tainio, Rafael Marquez and Dax McCarty, while the Revs played Clyde Simms and Ryan Guy in the center of their midfield. That was never going to go well.

The match was finally worth watching in stoppage time, though. First, Matt Reis collided with his own defender and flailed around at a Wilman Conde cross, leaving it for Joel Lindpere to head home off of a bounce from just a few yards. Then, Bill Gaudette got caught in no-man's land on a Ryan Guy cross, leaving Darrius Barnes with an easy finish to earn New England a point.

The draw extends New York's winless streak at New England to 16 matches. They last beat the Revs away on June 29, 2002.


Real Salt Lake Vs. Portland Timbers, 2012 MLS: RSL Clinch Playoff Spot

Real Salt Lake picked up a big three points with a 2-1 victory over Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium. Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales scored the much needed goals for the hosts.

With only one win in their last six matches, RSL manager Jason Kreis knew he needed something to get his side back to their winning ways with the playoffs only weeks away. Alvaro Saborio was missing the game due to a shoulder injury he suffered midweek in the club's Champions League match, so Kreis turned to Espindola and Paulo Jr to spearhead his attack.

Morales drew a free kick just on top of the Portland penalty area. Kyle Beckerman, Morales, and Espindola stood over it. Morales ran over the ball just touching it behind him. Espindola lashed a low and hard freekick with his left foot that had Joe Bendik rooted to the ground. Just like that, sixteen minutes into the match, Real Salt Lake was winning 1-0.

A few minutes later, Portland won a corner kick. Jack Jewsbury whipped the corner into the area, and Rodney Wallace got his head on it. The ball seemed destined for the back of the net, but Nick Rimando had other ideas and came up with a brilliant diving save. Will Johnson was on hand to clear the danger.

Morales won another free kick outside the penalty area in the 35th minute. This time only he lined up to take the kick. Morales sent in a perfect free kick that struck the back of the net before Bendik lifted a hand. Just like that, Salt Lake was up 2-0.

Portland pulled one back in the 60th minute thanks to Bright Dike. Sal Zizzo whipped in a cross from the right side, and Dike headed the ball back across goal out of the reach of Rimando. The Timbers were right back in the match.

Fabian Espindola had several opportunities to score another goal, but he could not finish to save his life. He found himself one on one with Bendik multiple times throughout the second half, but he couldn't beat him.

Jamison Olave brought down Dike just outside of the penalty area giving Portland a free kick. Franck Songo'o stepped up to take the free kick, but Rimando jumped and tipped the shot over the crossbar. Portland kept attacking and Dike nearly scored an equalizer in the 84th minute, but his header struck the crossbar.

RSL clinched a playoff spot tonight with the victory, and Portland continued their ineptitude of not having won on the road this season.

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