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Chivas USA in giving mood, score on itself to help Fire clinch playoff spot

Eduardo Lillingston's header on a corner kick by Chicago gets by goalkeeper Zach Thornton for the only goal of the game, helping the Fire to a 1-0 win.

October 23, 2009|Associated Press

BRIDGEVIEW, ILL. — The Chicago Fire clinched a playoff spot by beating Chivas USA, 1-0, in their season finale Thursday night.

The Fire (11-7-12) got an own goal from Chivas' Eduardo Lillingston in the 68th minute. The forward accidentally headed Cuauhtemoc Blanco's corner kick -- Chicago's 14th of the game -- past goalkeeper Zach Thornton.

The victory ended the Fire's stretch of six games without a win, and secured Chicago's fifth consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup playoffs, where it will hold the second seeding in the Eastern Conference. The Fire's opponent will be determined this weekend as six teams are vying for the last two spots.

The loss by Chivas also allowed defending MLS Cup champion Columbus to clinch the Supporters' Shield for having the best regular-season record.

The Fire outshot Chivas 12-5 and goalkeeper Jon Busch made two saves for his 10th shutout, tying a career high set with Columbus in 2004.

Chivas USA has already clinched a playoff berth and is tied with Houston and the Galaxy atop the Western Conference standings with Seattle is one point back in fourth place.

Chivas hosts the Dynamo on Sunday, a day after the Galaxy faces San Jose and the Sounders meet Dallas.

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