for this game

Dallas tops Chicago to clinch playoff spot

Oct 13, 2011 - 2:53 AM Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - FC Dallas punched its ticket for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs Wednesday night, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-1 at Toyota Park.

The victory not only helped FC Dallas clinch a postseason berth, but it saw the club move to within two points of third-place Real Salt Lake with two games remaining in the regular season. RSL currently holds the final automatic playoff spot in the Western Conference with 51 points on the season.

Jackson and Danny Cruz scored on opposite sides of halftime to secure three points for FC Dallas. Sebastian Grazzini added a late goal for Chicago.

FC Dallas dictated play for much of the opening period, and could have been in front in the 24th minute if not for a brilliant save from Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Jackson eventually opened the scoring for Dallas in the 43rd minute, taking advantage of an unprepared Chicago defense. An FC Dallas throw-in penetrated the Chicago back line, and Jackson punished the slack Fire defending with a goal from inside the box.

Cruz doubled the lead in the 53rd minute from a corner kick. Ricardo Villar crossed the set piece into the box where it was met by Zach Loyd. Loyd nodded the cross down to Cruz, who took a touch with his chest and found the back of the net with an overhead kick.

Grazzini nearly sparked a comeback with his well-taken goal in the 86th minute, but Chicago failed to find a late equalizer.

The win snaps a four-game losing skid for FC Dallas in addition to putting a halt to Chicago's formidable four-game unbeaten streak.

Both teams return to action on Saturday, as Chicago (7-9-16) travels to RFK Stadium to face D.C. United, while Dallas (14-11-7) hosts Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Pizza Hut Park.