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DCU downs Columbus to seal playoff berth

Oct 21, 2012 - 1:50 AM Washington, D.C. (Sports Network) - It has taken five years but D.C. United is finally back in the Major League Soccer postseason.

The fabled MLS club clinched a playoff berth by earning a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium on Saturday.

Columbus wasted no time grabbing the lead as Eddie Gaven pounced on a failed clearance in the penalty area and fired a shot past Bill Hamid in the seventh minute.

D.C. clawed its way back into the match at the 39th minute as Nick De Leon turned in a rebound conceded by Andy Gruenebaum, but Columbus reclaimed the lead two minutes later thanks to a fortuitous bounce as Jairo Arrieta's shot ping-ponged from the post to the back of the net by way of Hamid's heel.

The second half belonged to the home side though, as Marcelo Saragosa brought D.C. level once more when a one-time effort through traffic beat Gruenebaum in the 59th minute.

D.C. United was made to wait until stoppage time for the game-winner as Lewis Neal broke free in behind the Crew defense and slipped a shot past Gruenebaum for his second goal of the season.

The win lifts United (17-10-6) to 57 points on the season, three points adrift of first-place Sporting Kansas City. Should Sporting lose to the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, D.C. can steal the top spot with a win at the Chicago Fire next Saturday.

Columbus (14-12-7) is no longer in postseason contention, sitting sixth in the East with 49 points and trailing the Houston Dynamo by four points with one game to go.