September 2011: Toronto keeps playoff hopes alive

Danny Koevermans is on a roll. The 32-year-old forward struck for both goals to help Toronto FC to a 2-1 victory over the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids at BMO Field on Saturday.

The Dutch native, who made his Toronto debut a scant two months ago, has scored six goals in seven league games to equal Brazilian Maicon Santos, who was traded to FC Dallas in August, and grab the joint lead in team goals.

Since returning from a hamstring injury, Koevermans has scored four goals in his two matches and was named MLS Player of the Week for his efforts.

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Torsten Frings #22 of Toronto FC chases down Omar Cummings #14 of Colorado Rapids during 2-1 victory on September 17. (Photo: Getty Images)


“Every game I am so tired. Such a tough week, also with the Champions League in it, you have to travel so much,” Koevermans said. “I’m tired but a lot of guys are also tired, a lot of guys are struggling. Today we get the points and when you win you don’t feel it.”

Koevermans struck in the 52nd minute. Midfielder Eric Avila sent a pass down the left side to Ashtone Morgan, who launched a cross into the middle of the penalty Koevermans, who scored. Eight minutes later, Koevermans connected with yet another cross -- by Nick Soolsma -- as he headed home a shot past goalkeeper Matt Pickens.

Late in the match, German midfielder Torsten Frings was moved to defense to help preserve the victory.

“Torsten’s a midfield player," Toronto coach Aron Winter said. "We are lucky that he can play also there because when he wants to go up during the game, he’s always free."

Toronto is six points outside of a wildcard playoff berth, but has only four games remaining. So, the Canadian club would have to run the table to have any chance to reach the post-season.

“If you watched the game, we were out there to win. It was a good game, especially after the tough game that we had this week in Mexico City,” Winter said. “It was good what we showed against one of the teams that are going to play in the playoffs.”

Timbers drop outside of final playoff spot

Diego Chara, Kenny Cooper and Darlington Nagbe tallied for the Portland Timbers in their 3-0 home victory over the New England Revolution. However, Portland didn't get much of a boost from other teams in their quest to capture a playoff berth. Two of the teams competing with the Timbers for the eighth, ninth and 10th playoff spots won their games and pushed the Timbers to 11th place in the playoff standings.

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Houston rallied from a one-goal deficit to defeat San Jose 2-1 at Robertson Stadium and move to 39 points, three points ahead of the Timbers. Will Bruin scored in the 80th minute, his first goal since April 29, to give the Dynamo the comeback victory. Jamaican international Khari Stephenson gave the Earthquakes the lead, but Brad Davis converted a penalty kick for Houston.

On the plus side for Portland, Houston has played two more games than the Timbers and two of their final four games are on the road, where they are winless in 15 games this season.

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Khari Stephenson #7 of the San Jose Earthquakes and Geoff Cameron #20 of the Houston Dynamo battle for possession for the ball. Houston won 2-1. (Photo: Getty Images)

The New York Red Bulls won at Dallas 1-0 allowing them to jump past Portland for the 10th and last playoff spot. The Red Bulls and Timbers both have 36 points, but the Red Bulls have the better goal differential.

Despite playing without stars Thierry Henry (Achilles injury) and Rafa Marquez (yellow-card accumulation), New York snapped an eight-game winless streak that lasted 73 days thanks to English striker Luke Rodgers, who started for the first time in more than two months and scored the lone goal in the 36th minute.

Portland’s archival, Seattle, were the only team to help the Timbers. Alvaro Fernandez struck twice as the Sounders cooled off hot D.C. United with a 3-0 home triumph. Mike Fucito added a goal. D.C. United is now two points behind Portland, but they have played two less games than the Timbers. Seattle can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Vancouver next weekend.

LA continues to cruise atop the West as Philadelphia beats best in the East

Mike Magee scored two goals and Irish international Robbie Keane added one and set up another as the LA Galaxy blanked the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0. The win moved Galaxy coach Bruce Arena into sole possession of second-place on the MLS all-time coaching wins chart with 125 as LA registered its 16th shutout this season.

Sebastien Le Toux tallied in the 32nd minute and the Philadelphia Union made sure the goal stood up in a 1-0 home victory over the Columbus Crew, which broke an eight-game winless streak. On Wednesday, the Crew and Houston Dynamo both snapped two-game losing streak in a 2-2 draw in Columbus, Ohio. Calen Carr connected for the equalizer in the 82nd minute for Houston, which also had a goal from Jamaican Je-Vaughn Watson. Argentine Andres Mendoza converted two penalty kicks for the Crew.

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Andres Mendoza #10 of the Columbus Crew celebrates after scoring a goal against the Houston Dynamo on September 14. Match finished with a 2-2 draw. (Photo: Getty Images)


Defender Nat Borchers connected the lone goal in the 54th minute in Real Salt Lake's 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, which was denied an opportunity to move into the Eastern Conference lead. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando made late saves on Jefferson and on C.J. Sapong. Salt Lake could secure a playoff spot by beating New York on Wednesday.

Dominic Oduro connected in the 85th minute to lift the host Chicago Fire to a 3-2 win over Chivas USA Saturday at Toyota Park. Cory Gibbs and an own goal by Chivas USA striker Juan Pablo Angel boosted Chicago to a 2-0 lead, but the visitors equalized behind Angel and Nick La Brocca.