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 Saturday, October 25, 2003 22:10 EST

Kansas City 1, DC United 1 (OT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hristo Stoitchkov's header in the 57th minute gave D.C. United a spot in the MLS playoffs with a 1-1 tie against the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night.

Bobby Convey's crossing pass from the left corner sailed over the head of goalkeeper Tony Meola and Stoitchkov leaped high to head the ball into the open net for a 1-1 tie.

The United are in the playoffs for the first time since they won the MLS Cup in 1999. D.C. (10-11-9) needed at least a tie to secure the final Eastern Conference spot. They will host the Chicago Fire Nov. 1 at RFK Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Kansas City (11-10-9) will meet the Colorado Rapids in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Preki, the oldest player in MLS at age 40, scored his league-leading 12th goal of the season in the 17th minute off an assist from Carey Talley to give the Wizards a 1-0 lead.

The Wizards are 0-5-4 in their last eight visits to RFK Stadium since winning here 4-2 on Aug. 4, 1996.

Preki entered the game with 39 points and a four-point lead over Los Angeles Galaxy's Carlos Ruiz for the MLS scoring title in the final weekend of the season.

Preki, the league's all-time scoring leader, leads the MLS with 17 assists this season. He's the only player in the league with at least 10 goals and 10 assists.

Having won MLS scoring and most valuable player honors in 1997, Preki could become the first two-time season scoring leader in the league's eight seasons. If selected as the league's most valuable player, Preki will be the oldest league MVP in the history of American professional sports.

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