and in head-to-head matchups -- as all of the protagonists in the drama failed to come away with a victory this weekend.
In the East, the New England Revolution need a victory against the Chicago Fire to claim fourth place after a 1-0 loss to D.C. United on Saturday. The Fire could have gone a long way to clinching fourth on Wednesday, but lost 1-0 at home to the Columbus Crew.
In the West, the Dallas Burn are still alive despite a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. That's because to the north, the San Jose Earthquakes and Kansas City Wizards played to a scoreless draw, leaving San Jose two points ahead of Dallas going into their encounter next weekend at the Cotton Bowl. The Wizards will also play host to the Galaxy next week, with first place in the West still up for grabs.
The Columbus Crew just kept rolling along, extending their MLS record unbeaten streak to 17 games with a 1-1 draw against the MetroStars at Giants Stadium. But that result means the MetroStars and United will play in Washington on the season's final day with second place in the East (and home-field advantage in their impending playoff series) on the line.
At RFK Stadium, D.C. United once again gritted out an impressive result. Christian Gomez scored the game's only goal on 32 minutes, hitting home a flying side volley from Ben Olsen's looping cross into the penalty area.
United 'keeper Nick Rimando made a number of high-quality saves in the first half, then his side survived a tense final 16 minutes after Dema Kovalenko was sent off for a second bookable offense.
That left the Revolution three points behind the Fire, who lost 1-0 to Columbus at Soldier Field at midweek.
Edson Buddle's goal just before the hour, when he hammered home a free kick from just outside the penalty area, was the game's only marker, a beautiful first-time curling strike that bent away from Chicago 'keeper Henry Ring as it settled inside his left-hand post over his outstretched arms (59).
United also pulled to within a point of the MetroStars, after the Crew followed their midweek win with a draw at the Meadowlands to extend their league undefeated streak. Columbus last lost a league game on June 26.
Jeff Cunningham gave the visitors a first-half lead when he was quickest to the rebound of a shot that sailed into the area, poking it over the onrushing Jonny Walker (26).
But the MetroStars pulled level after the break (71), Sergio Galvan Rey converting from the penalty spot after Eddie Gaven was tripped up by Duncan Oughton to keep the Metros ahead of United for the time being. The two will face each other in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
At The Home Depot Center, Jovan Kirovski scored two second-half goals to give Steve Sampson just his second victory in seven matches after taking charge of the Galaxy.
Kirovski opened the Los Angeles account midway through the second half when he nodded home a corner kick at the back post, driven in by Andreas Herzog -- making his first appearance after not playing in two matches -- then flicked to the back post by Jason Kreis (68).
Kirovski then doubled the Galaxy lead five minutes from the end when he bent a free kick around the base of the Burn wall from right on the edge of the area and inside Scott Garlick's near post, his sixth goal in four games against the Burn this season, out of eight goals in all on the season.
The Galaxy pulled to within three points of the Wizards after they played to a scoreless draw with the Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium.
Wizards 'keeper Bo Oshoniyi -- once again filling in for injured Tony Meola -- made seven saves on the night, a number of them desperate efforts, to frustrate the chances of the defending MLS Cup champion in claiming the final playoff berth available in the Western Conference.
But the Wizards head home knowing they have to take at least a point next weekend against the Galaxy to ensure they will have home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs in the West.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.