Inter Miami's dying play-off hopes, plus Zelarayan's five star performance

The MLS season is winding down with next weekend representing the end of the regular season.

The only play-off spot secured last week was claimed by Nashville SC. The Six-Strings scored four unanswered goals to beat FC Cincinnati 6-3 and record their first win in seven games.

Nashville are now in second place in the East with 52 points and have clinched a play-off spot alongside Supporters Shield winners New England Revolution.

Miami lose as play-off hopes take serious hit

Coming off their 5-1 win over FC Cincinnati, Inter Miami made a good start in their must-win game at Atlanta United. In the 28th minute, Atlanta keeper Brad Guzan collided in the box with Lewis Morgan after the latter won the ball. Gonzalo Higuain drilled the ensuing penalty kick to give the Herons a 1-0 lead.

But the rest of the game belonged to Atlanta. Luiz Araujo delivered a free-kick goal while former MLS MVP Josef Martinez delivered the winner with 15 minutes to play. Victory for Atlanta moved them into sixth place with 46 points to their name.

Atlanta midfielder Luiz Araujo (19) and midfielder Matheus Rossetto (9) react following the conclusion of the MLS match between Inter Miami CF and Atlanta United FC on October 27th, 2021

Meanwhile, the 2-1 defeat puts Phil Neville's squad on the brink of missing out on the post-season. The Herons can max out at 44 points which is what the final play-off spot currently has. They also need to jump Red Bulls (43), Montreal CF (43), and Columbus Crew (41), who all have at least two games left.

On Saturday, Miami hosts New York City FC in their home finale, before they finish at Supporters Shield winners New England in a week. Planet Sport Bet has Miami at 5/2 to beat NYCFC and keep their play-off hopes alive. NYCFC are 10/11 while the draw is 2/1.

Zelarayan magic leads Crew past Orlando

Playing a must-win game to keep their play-off aspirations alive, the defending champions Columbus Crew came out strong at home on Wednesday.

Taking on third-place Orlando City, the Crew got a big performance from Lucas Zelarayan to win 3-2. Orlando would have clinched a play-off spot themselves with a win but instead, they fell to fifth place.

Zelarayan found his playmaking form with assists in the 20th and 31st minute, both on corner kicks. He provided for Miguel Barry for the first goal while his second corner was tapped in at the back post by Derrick Etienne Jr.

All-Stars midfielder Fernando Gorriaran (11) battles for the ball with MLS All-Stars midfielder Lucas Zelarayan

Orlando City cut the deficit in half with a Daryl Dike penalty early in the second half. However, Zelarayan wasn't done as he blasted a screamer into the top left corner from 25 yards out for a 3-1 Crew lead.

Columbus are three points behind DC United - a side they play against on Saturday. Planet Sport Bet has the Crew at 15/4 with United at 8/13 and a draw at 5/4.

Orlando hosts Nashville on Saturday, looking to clinch a play-off spot with a win. Planet Sport Bet has Nani and the Lions at 6/5 to win while Nashville are 21/10 and a draw is 21/10.

Russell puts Sporting KC top of Western Conference

Johnny Russell was the hero Sporting KC needed on Wednesday night as his brace sent LA Galaxy home without a point in a 2-0 win.

The Galaxy are now in fifth place and just two points away from missing the play-offs. They will be at second-place Seattle on Monday.

Sporting, meanwhile, travel to Minnesota United on Sunday where they are priced at 9/4 to win. United are available at 1/1 while the draw is 5/4.

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