Corey Baird's brace gave visiting Real Salt Lake a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, RSL's second consecutive win after conceding the first goal.
Coming down the left side in the 70th minute, Baird chested down a cross from Jefferson Savarino before rocketing a left-footed half-volley into the far corner for the winner.
Real Salt Lake defeated NYCFC 3-1 last Saturday after not winning in that situation all season.
RSL (11-9-4, 37 points) dealt Sporting a crushing blow in pursuit of their ninth straight playoff berth. Sporting Kansas City (7-10-7, 28 points) fell to 4-5-3 at Children's Mercy Park this season and stayed in 10th place in the Western Conference, eight points behind the seventh and final playoff spot.
With Sporting KC trying desperately to pull back the tying goal, Daniel Salloi was given a straight red card in the 84th minute.
Johnny Russell's goal in the 31st minute broke a stalemate in a testy first half. A constant flurry of fouls culminated in Felipe Gutierrez being pushed from behind a half-yard outside the box. But Russell made the free kick look like a penalty kick. He split the wall and fired it past RSL keeper Nick Rimando before he could react.
A similar turn of events evened the match on Baird's rebound goal in the 38th minute. Andreu Fontas picked up the foul on Baird just outside the box. Albert Rusnak's free kick caromed off the left post to the feet of Baird, who sent it past SKC keeper Tim Melia for the equalizer.
Russell was pulled down from behind by Donny Toia inside the box in first-half stoppage time, setting up a penalty kick for Gutierrez. But the PK clanged off the left post and bounced almost to midfield, and the match went to halftime tied a 1-1.
Sporting's game plan was hurt early as forward Gerso Fernandes left the game with an apparent leg injury in the sixth minute. Fernandes was clipped by Marcelo Silva on a clean tackle earlier. He was down on the field for a couple of minutes before returning to the action. He went down untouched moments later and was replaced by Salloi.