Daniel Gazdag scored from the penalty spot for his team-high-tying 10th goal of the season and the Philadelphia Union cruised to a 3-1 win against host D.C. United on Saturday night.
Mikael Uhre and Jack McGlynn also scored before halftime for the Union (13-7-4, 43 points), who won their third straight match in league competition.
Andre Blake made five saves for Philadelphia, which has the second-most points in the Eastern Conference along with the New England Revolution and Orlando City.
The Union's win was soured only by losing defensive midfielder Jose Martinez to an apparent hamstring injury before halftime.
Gazdag and Julian Carranza each had an assist, and Carranza also drew the late first-half penalty that effectively put the match out of reach before the break.
D.C. United conceded multiple goals at home for the seventh time in 12 league matches, while the Union scored multiple goals for the seventh time in 13 away fixtures.
The Black and Red (8-12-6, 30 points) have lost three matches in a row and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season after beginning the night two points out of the final postseason spot in the East.
Theodore Ku-DiPietro scored a late consolation goal for D.C. Starting goalkeeper Tyler Miller exited at halftime with what appeared to be a leg injury picked up late in the first half.
Uhre put Philadelphia in front after only five minutes on a play that began when Gazdag turned over a D.C. defender near his own corner flag.
Gazdag quickly found Carranza, who in turn slotted the ball left to Uhre for a first-time finish past Miller from close range.
McGlynn doubled the advantage on a counter that began from a D.C. set piece. Martinez eventually got the ball streaking down the right and played a cross toward Carranza.
Instead, it deflected off a D.C. defender and to McGlynn for a back-post putaway.
It was Carranza in behind again who induced Miller into a penalty foul just before halftime, allowing Gazdag to convert from the spot for the ninth time this season without a miss.
—Field Level Media