19 October 2014 06:52
DC United wrapped up the Eastern Conference championship in the MLS on Saturday, continuing their impressive revival in 2014.
Goals to Chris Pontius and Eddie Johnson saw DC defeat Chicago Fire 2-1 in the United States’ capital city and although the visitors surged late, Ben Olsen’s side held on for three points to finish first in the East in the regular season just a year after finishing last.
Johnson was the match-winner for the home side at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, setting up Pontius in the 31st minute before taking advantage of a sloppy pass in Chicago’s defence just after half-time to double DC’s advantage.
The victory saw DC move to 58 points, six clear of New England Revolution with a game remaining before the play-offs, while the Fire (33 points) remain second last in the Eastern Conference.
Johnson whipped a perfect cross onto the head of an unmarked Pontius just after the half-hour mark to put the capital club ahead on Saturday, with the 27-year-old midfielder nodding the ball into the net.
In the 53rd minute it was 2-0, as Patrick Ianni’s poor back pass was collected by Johnson, who burst past another opponent before striking his seventh MLS goal of the season.
Chicago pulled a goal back in the 67th minute when prospective MLS Rookie of the Year Harrison Shipp surged onto Patrick Nyarko’s fine through-ball and finished between Bill Hamid’s legs.
Shipp also hit the post soon after but DC held on for victory.
In San Jose, Vancouver Whitecaps were held to a 0-0 draw by the home-town Earthquakes, missing the chance to take a big step towards the play-offs.
The Whitecaps regained fifth position in the Western Conference standings but sit just a point ahead of Portland Timbers with one round remaining in the regular season.
Portland have a superior goal difference, meaning Vancouver will have to beat Colorado Rapids next week to ensure they claim a play-offs berth ahead of the Timbers, who will visit FC Dallas.
San Jose had 13 shots to Vancouver’s 10 but the Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted made three saves to ensure the visitors claimed a crucial point.
In other results, Philadelphia Union defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 to end a five-game winless streak, while Toronto FC and Montreal Impact drew 1-1 in a game that feature three red cards and Dallas won 1-0 at Colorado Rapids.