Benji Michel's 84th-minute goal sent Orlando City SC to a 1-0 win at home over the struggling Columbus Crew Saturday night.
The Lions have points from three of their last five matches and moved into the seventh position in the Eastern Conference standings, which would put them in the postseason.
The Crew pressed for the equalizer in the final minutes. Lions goalkeeper Brian Rowe kept his team in front with a critical save of Harrison Afful's shot in the 88th minute, and moments later Afful's cross found Gyasi Zardes in the first minute of added time of the second half, but Zardes headed the ball down instead of on target.
Zardes also missed wide with another header before the final whistle.
Columbus, which is winless in nine straight games with five consecutive losses, had one last chance with a man advantage after Orlando City's Dom Dwyer was sent off for a violent challenge in extra time. But the Crew couldn't convert off a corner kick.
Zardes, the Crew's leading goal scorer in his first game since scoring four goals in the Concacaf Gold Cup, hit the crossbar in the fifth minute for the Crew's best chance of the first half. The Crew outshot Orlando City 11-4, had more possessions and took 10 corner kicks to the Lions' one, but could not get a result.