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MLS Standings 2012: DC United's Playoff Hopes Clouded By Montreal Loss

DC United's 3-0 loss to the Montreal Impact was crucial, as the DC squad will need every last point in hopes of fending off the expansion franchise for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Montreal's three points bring them to within one of DC, who still have nine games to play. That remaining schedule is the good news: while a strong run by the Impact has earned them five straight wins and allowed them to climb up to sixth place in the standings, they've already played 28 games, the most in the league. DC has three games in hand on the Impact, so they shouldn't panic just yet even as Montreal plays phenomenally.

Of course, United could still climb higher in the standings with the MLS Cup Playoffs approaching: DC (40 points) is bunched together tightly with Houston, who sits in third place in the 42 points but have played an extra game, and Chicago, who is in fourth with 41 points. United will close their season with a matchup against the Fire which could be crucial for postseason placement.

For more on DC United, check out Black and Red United and stick around SB Nation DC as the MLS season winds down.