Eddie Johnson turned in his most effective, dynamic turn as DC United’s star with a goal and an assist in a 3-1 home win over Chivas USA.
A second penalty kick goal for Johnson in as many weeks gave him just his third goal of the season.
DC United now has more points-per-game than the East’s first place team, Sporting KC, and would jump into first place by winning its game-in-hand.
Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres scored a 84th minute penalty for Chivas USA’s only goal after Steve Birnbaum took down Mauro Rosales for a suspect PK call.
Chivas USA missed a chance to leapfrog the Portland Timbers, but will stay in eighth place with the loss. The Goats are one point behind Portland with a game-in-hand of their own.
The DC United PK goal came after Oswaldo Minda put a hard barge into Chris Rolfe just inside the 18. It was a silly foul that turned into a deficit for the Goats.
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Johnson nearly had two goals as he put the half’s second-best chance solidly off the crossbar in the 42nd minute.
The crossbar bailed out Chivas USA defender Eriq Zavaleta in the second minute of first half stoppage time when his strong backwards header clanked fortuitously off the bar.
DC United doubled its advantage in the 59th minute, when Eddie Johnson’s headed down a free kick just inside the 18. Perry Kitchen first-touched a left-footed shot into the corner of the net for a good-looking goal.
Luis Silva finished the scoring, much to the consternation of Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy, but curling the ball around the netminder with nary a defender near him. Chris Korb picked up the assist.
The group stage of qualification is complete, as 20 teams have clinched a berth at EURO 2016, which kicks off next summer in France.
The top-two finishers in each group automatically qualified, as did the best third-place side out of all the groups (Turkey). France qualified automatically as the host nation.
[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]
That leaves eight third-place teams to battle for the final four spots through a play-off. The draw for the matchups will take place on October 18, and those matches will be held from November 12-17 as a home-and-home play-off.
- Czech Republic
- Turkey (automatically qualified as best third-place side)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (qualified for play-off)
- Ukraine (qualified for play-off)
- Republic of Ireland (qualified for play-off)
- Slovenia (qualified for play-off)
- Northern Ireland
- Hungary (qualified for play-off)
- Sweden (qualified for play-off)
- Norway (qualified for play-off)
- Denmark (qualified for play-off)
The group stage of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship has come to a close, and one of the top teams in the world will not be playing in France next summer.
Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic
The Netherlands finished second at the 2010 World Cup and third at the 2014 World Cup, but have failed to qualify for EURO 2016. Playing in front of a home crowd in a must-win match against the Czech Republic, the Dutch got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 2-0 as manager Danny Blind was forced to make a substitution within the opening 40 minutes. The Czech Republic was sent to ten men before the break, but an own-goal from Robin Van Persie made it 3-0 as the Dutch couldn’t recover. A disastrous result for the Netherlands, as big changes will surely come from the top down.
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Italy 2-1 Norway
Italy finishes atop Group H without a loss after defeating Norway 2-1 today. Norway took the lead through Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey, but late goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle gave the Italians all three points.
Malta 0-1 Croatia
With Norway’s loss, Croatia jumped into second place in Group H and secured qualification to EURO 2016 with a 1-0 win away at Malta. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic scored the game’s only goal, as Croatia advances despite having one point deducted due to inappropriate actions from their fans.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Latvia 0-1 Kazakhstan
Belgium 3-1 Israel
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria 2-0 Azerbaijan