So as it turns out, you need five minutes to turn a game from one of the worst matches ever to be played into what was quite possibly the most thrilling comeback in MLS history. The Chicago Fire and DC United played insipid, uninspired football for 89 minutes, neither team bothering to attack - it was as though nobody told them that the match was a must win for both sides. Playoff hopes hung on the line and a draw simply wasn't going to be good enough for either. A draw, however, is what it looked like we'd get. Until those last five minutes, you could count the number of good scoring chances for both teams on one finger.
And then all hell broke loose.
With no time remaining, Gonzalo Segares clipped DC United's Santino Quaranta in the box for a penalty. It wasn't a particularly egregious foul, but it looked like the correct call, and as Dwayne de Rosario stepped up, everyone watching knew - knew - that if he scored the spot kick the hosts would have the win locked up. He did, sending Sean Johnson the wrong way in the process, and DC had buried Chicago's playoff hopes with three minutes left to play.
If the bulk of the match was any indication, Chicago would respond to this setback by using the considered approach of rolling over and dying. Fortunately (unless one happens to be a DC fan), it wasn't. Instead, the visitors flipped the switch, going into a furious attacking mode that swiftly paid dividends. Within seconds, the score was level as Sebastian Grazzinitook advantage of Bill Hamid being unsighted to send a long range shot to make the game 1-1.
Exuberant celebrations followed, but everyone by this point knew that a draw wasn't going to do, and both teams pressed for an extra goal. DC even went so far as to send Hamid halfway up for a corner, a decision that nearly backfired on them as the Fire broke while Hamid was twenty yards from his own box, but when that threat died down the game looked done.
Of course, there was time for one more twist - a brilliant pass found a runner in behind the United defence, the ball was squared to Diego Chavez, and the substitute slid home into the empty net, scoring what must surely go down as one of the biggest goals in Chicago's history with virtually the last kick of the match. The 2-1 win, of course, doesn't guarantee a playoff spot for the Fire - they're still long shots to make it. But for an evening, at least, they've done the impossible. It's a great win for them, and a great reminder to all of us that this sport can spring some absolutely wonderful surprises on all of us.
Oh, and Segares, the man responsible for conceding that last-minute penalty? He got the assist on both goals. Talk about redemption.