The Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids secured berths in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but the teams at the foot of the conference tables showed they aren't prepared to give up on their season just yet, as the 2004 Major League Soccer season reached two weeks to go with everything still to play for.
For the Galaxy, it was bittersweet result as a late own goal once again provided late drama with the Kansas City Wizards, the teams playing to a 1-1 draw. And it was a similar result in Denver, as the San Jose Earthquakes also grabbed a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw.
The draw in Los Angeles kept the Wizards from claiming the top seed in the Western Conference, and the same thing happened in the East as a 10-man Chicago Fire twice came back from a goal down to snatch a 3-3 draw with the Columbus Crew. The Crew got the help they needed as D.C. United went a long way in securing their playoff future with a 1-0 victory against the MetroStars at Giants Stadium, while the New England Revolution kept alive their playoff hopes with a 2-0 home victory against the Dallas Burn.
At The Home Depot Center, the Galaxy dominated proceedings from the start, winning an early penalty kick, but Kansas City 'keeper Bo Oshoniyi turned aside Carlos Ruiz's 16th-minute attempt.
The home side finally went ahead through Tyrone Marshall after 65 minutes, when he was left unmarked at the near post to nod home a corner from close range. But the Wizards drew level in the 89th minute thanks to an own goal, Sasha Victorine turning a rolling Josh Wolff cross from the left flank into his own net.
In Denver, Jean Philippe Peguero gave the Rapids the lead on 14 minutes when he rifled home a Matt Crawford cross from the right corner, then Colorado 'keeper Joe Cannon maintained the advantage just before the halftime break when he parried a Landon Donovan penalty after two became tangled in the area.
But the Earthquakes claimed sole possession of fourth place in the West with a leveler eight minutes from time, taking advantage of a quick restart following a substitution for Dwayne De Rosario to get free behind the Rapids rearguard and poke home a long ball from Ryan Cochrane.
At Crew Stadium, the home side needed a victory to claim home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs, but a remarkable fightback from the Fire kept that from happening just yet.
Damani Ralph opened the scoring for the visitors when he converted from the penalty spot after just 14 minutes when he was tripped up going to goal, but the tide of the match changed on 36 minutes when Chicago's Nate Jaqua was sent off for a second bookable offense.
Referee Kevin Terry then had a third major impact on the match just before the interval, whistling for a penalty after Jim Curtin pulled back Duncan Oughton in the area, Kyle Martino hammering home from the spot.
It didn't take long for the Crew to utilize the advantage, Jeff Cunningham getting behind the Fire defense to chip home in the 56th minute, but Andy Herron pulled the Fire back just three minutes with a remarkable strike, curling a tremendous effort into the upper corner from well outside the area.
Cunningham was then credited with his second goal of the night just five minutes later, his low drive across the face of the goal toward the far corner given a final touch by Curtin as he tried to clear from a crowded goalmouth. But Herron canceled that out again with another wonderful goal, heading a pass over a defender to himself before clincally pounding it past Crew 'keeper Jon Busch.
At Giants Stadium, a Freddy Adu goal after 16 minutes was all D.C. United needed to all but ensure a second consecutive trip to the MLS Cup Playoffs after missing out for three consecutive seasons.
Adu's shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection off defender Jeff Parke and left Metros 'keeper Jonny Walker flat-footed on his line, United's defending rarely allowing the home side a chance over the remainder of the match. United can claim a postseason place with just one point over their final two matches of the campaign.
At Gillette Stadium, the Revolution kept alive their playoff dreams while dealing the Burn a blow in a battle of the two fifth-place teams in their respective conferences.
The home side scored goals on either side of halftime, Marshall Leonard helped give New England the lead on 42 minutes as he hit an inch-perfect pass for Taylor Twellman to power home past Dallas 'keeper Scott Garlick.
The Revolution then doubled the lead two minutes after the break, Jose Cancela and Pat Noonan playing a neat one-two before Cancela served a delicate chip from the left side that found Steve Ralston racing at the near post, who tucked home a glancing header just inside the stick.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.