COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Eddie Gaven's header in the first minute of stoppage time gave the Crew a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, salvaging an important point for Columbus as it tries to land a playoff spot.
With 49 points, the Crew are one out of playoff position. Houston is fifth in the Eastern Conference on 50 points, and each has two games left to play.
"You're not satisfied with one point," Crew defender Julius James said. "We wanted the three points but we'll take it. It's still forward progress."
Gaven scored to the near right post off a pass from Emilio Renteria to continue a trend of late dramatics. The Crew's past five winning goals have come in the 86th minute or later.
"I made run to the near post and Emilio made a great pass," Gaven said. "He did all the work. All I had to do was hit it.
Sporting Kansas City (17-7-7) took the lead in the 10th minute when C.J. Sapong headed home his own rebound.
"We kind of had the game," KC coach Peter Vermes said. "Being away from home, the significance for them in trying to stay alive for the playoffs, I thought we played pretty well."
That is until Gaven spoiled Nielsen's bid for his 15th shutout.
"We didn't give them too many opportunities throughout the game until the end when they had that one really good chance," Vermes said. "All in it was a good performance by us but we should have closed that game out.'
Kansas City has clinched a spot and opened a three-point lead over second-place Chicago in the East but is five back of San Jose for the overall points lead and home-field throughout the post-season.