Meram leaves it late for Columbus against Chivas USA

Justin Meram's goal in the 89th minute handed the Columbus Crew a 1-0 home win against Chivas USA on Wednesday, which moves the club past D.C. United and into the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Crew were the marginally better side throughout most of the game, but failed to take advantage until the final minutes, when Jairo Arrieta helped to set up Meram's crucial goal.

Chivas entered the contest on a three-game losing skid and was searching for its first win in eight games. But the Goats started positively with Miller Bolanos forcing a diving save from goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum in the first five minutes.

Columbus was also in need of three points having lost back-to-back games, and Dilly Duka nearly provided the opening goal for the hosts a few minutes later, but he saw his shot from 10 yards roll inches past the left post.

After a lively first 10 minutes the game fizzled out a bit, and it wasn't until the 89th minute that the winning goal arrived.

Arrieta got to the front of goal and redirected a low cross on target, which was saved by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. However, the rebound came back to Arrieta, who flicked the ball behind him to Meram for a first-time strike.

The Crew was determined to hold on for the win and nearly added to its total in stoppage time when Arrieta hit the crossbar.