Posted: Thursday September 20, 2012 12:50AM ; Updated: Thursday September 20, 2012 12:50AM

Crew top Chivas USA 1-0, bolster playoff hopes

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Justin Meram's fourth goal of the MLS season proved to be the winner for Columbus.
Justin Meram

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Justin Meram scored in the 89th minute to give the Columbus Crew a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA on Wednesday night.

The Crew (13-10-6) broke a two-game losing streak to move into fifth in the Eastern Conference, a point ahead of D.C. United for the final playoff spot. Columbus has five matches left, D.C. has six.

Meram, who entered in the 80th minute, put in a headed back pass from Jairo Arrieta after Arrieta was denied by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. The rebound came back to Arrieta and he lunged to get the ball to Meram for his fourth goal of the season.

Chivas (7-14-7) is 0-6-2 in the past eight games and has lost four straight.

Sporting KC 2, Red Bulls 0

HARRISON, N.J. (AP) -- C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara scored first-half goals and Sporting KC won the matchup for first place in the Eastern Conference and extended its unbeaten streak to seven games.

Graham Zusi added his MLS-high 14th assist of the season as Sporting KC (16-7-6) opened a four-point lead over second-place Chicago and a five-point bulge over third-place New York (14-8-7) with five games left in the regular season.

Sporting KC came in with the MLS' best defense (25 goals allowed) and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen didn't have to make his first save until the 56th minute in recording his league-best 12th shutout. He finished with four saves in handing New York its first loss at Red Bull Arena in 14 games (10-1-3).

The Red Bulls would have moved into first place in the conference with a win.

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