MLS top goalscorer Kei Kamara propelled Columbus Crew to a 2-1 win over DC United and top spot in the MLS Eastern Conference.
Kamara added to Ethan Finlay’s 27th-minute opener in the second half as the Crew trumped DC despite a consolation penalty late in Washington on Saturday.
Back-to-back wins lifted the Crew to 47 points from 30 rounds and the East summit, two points clear of DC and New York Red Bulls, who have three games in hand.
New England Revolution – one point behind the Crew – missed the chance to go top after crashing to a 3-0 defeat at Didier Drogba’s Montreal Impact.
The visiting Crew stormed out of the blocks at RFK Stadium in the US capital, Tony Tchani rattling the crossbar from close-range in the second minute.
DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid was forced into fine saves by Tchani and Kamara in quick succession, while at the other end, Steve Clark pushed Alvaro Saborio’s free-kick over the bar.
The Crew eventually opened the scoring approaching the half-hour mark, when Finlay outmuscled two defenders on the turn and fired the ball beyond Hamid.
Kamara doubled the Crew’s advantage four minutes into the second half with his 21st goal of the season, sprinting past defender Steve Birnbaum and tucking the ball underneath Hamid.
Chris Rolfe gave DC some hope with a 67th-minute spot-kick after Chris Klute was penalised for a handball but Columbus held on for three points.
The Revolution’s winning streak and quest for top spot was halted by the Impact, who posted a comprehensive 3-0 win and consolidated the sixth and final play-off spot in the East in Montreal.
New England came into the match on a six-match winning streak – unbeaten in eight games overall – but former Chelsea star Drogba scored a goal and set up another as the Impact prevailed with 10 men.
Drogba, Johan Venegas and Dilly Duka found the back of the net before team-mate Marco Donadel saw red for a second bookable offence with 18 minutes remaining.
The Impact (36) are a point clear of Orlando City in the East after the expansion franchise edged cellar-dwelling Chicago Fire 1-0.
New York City are a point further back after almost surrendering a three-goal lead as they overcame play-off-chasing Western Conference outfit San Jose Earthquakes 3-2.
Italy international Sebastian Giovinco bagged a brace to lead Toronto FC to a 3-1 win at home to lowly Colorado Rapids.
Seattle Sounders extended their unbeaten streak to four matches courtesy of a 3-0 win at Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps.
Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake’s play-off hopes received a boost after downing reigning MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy 3-0.