HARRISON, New Jersey (AP) — Chicago's Sherjill MacDonald scored two second-half goals, lifting the Fire to a crucial 2-0 away win over the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer on Saturday.
Chicago jumped three points ahead of the Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference, with two games remaining, and moved closer to earning a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs. Chicago will be in if Columbus loses at home against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
MacDonald broke the deadlock in the 65th minute by getting past two defenders after a fine through pass from Chris Rolfe, then hit his shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
MacDonald, who had only two goals this season before Saturday, made it 2-0 in the 79th minute, taking a pass from Daniel Paladini and sprinting past two defenders to touch it gently past Robles.
D.C. United moved above New York into third place in the East by winning 1-0 at Toronto, with Hamdi Salihi tapping in the winner in the 88th minute when Toronto keeper Milos Kocic mishandled a cross. Toronto has not won in 12 games.
Houston is in the fifth and final playoff spot in the East but missed a chance to pull clear as it was held 1-1 at home by Montreal, with Columbus only two points behind in sixth. Will Bruin put Houston ahead just before halftime, but Sanna Nyassi equalized in the 66th for Montreal, which was eliminated from playoff contention.
In the West, the San Jose Earthquakes clinched the Western Conference title with a 4-1 win at Colorado. Chris Wondolowski scored a hat trick, after setting up Marvin Chavez for the opener just 95 seconds into the game.
Real Salt Lake is in second place in the West, moving five points clear of Los Angeles by winning 2-1 at the Galaxy. Robbie Keane had put L.A. ahead with a brilliant volleyed goal in the 17th minute, but Fabian Espindola scored twice for Salt Lake in less than three minutes midway through the first half.
In Saturday's other game, Philadelphia Union won 1-0 at home against New England Revolution.