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Crew Shuts Out Fire, 2-0

September 15, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Eric Denton and Jeff Cunningham scored first-half goals as the Columbus Crew beat the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff spot.

Columbus goalkeeper Jon Busch stopped Hristo Stoitchkov’s penalty kick in the 73rd minute and finished with four saves for his fifth shutout of the season.

Columbus improved to 11-11-5 to become the first Eastern Division team to secure a playoff spot with one game left in the regular season.

The Crew have a three-point lead over second-place New York-New Jersey and New England, with teams receiving three points for a victory and one point for a tie. The Crew will close Sept. 22 at Chicago, and New York-New Jersey and New England will complete their seasons against each other Sept. 21.

Denton scored his first goal of the year in the 15th minute, and Cunningham scored off a rebound in the 22nd minute.

Chicago dropped to 10-13-4.

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