WASHINGTON (AP) — Lucas Zelarayán scored two goals, Pedro Santos added another and the Columbus Crew beat D.C. United 3-1 on Saturday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Columbus (12-13-8) and D.C. United are tied with 44 points, two back of the New York Red Bulls for the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Crew have staved off elimination with each of their back-to-back wins while D.C. (13-15-5) has lost four of its last six games and scored just five goals during that span.
Darlington Nagby lofted a pass near midfield to Santos that was misjudged by D.C. United’s Andy Najar and Santos raced upfield before chipping in over goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who had come off his line, to give Columbus a 2-1 lead in the 66th minute.
Felipe Martins lofted a pass from near midfield to Paul Arriola for a half-volley finish from about 10 yards out to give D.C. United a 1-0 lead in the third minute.
Zelarayán, who had a goal and two assists in the Crew’s 3-2 win over Orlando City on Wednesday, converted from the spot to make it 1-1 just before halftime after he drew a foul in the area conceded by Tony Alfaro. Zelarayán ran onto a pass from Miguel Berry and blasted a one-touch shot from well outside the area that bent inside the post to give Columbus a 3-1 lead in the 76th minute.
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