D.C. United played New York City FC this past Sunday and beat them 3-1, securing their spot in the 2018 Major League Soccer Cup playoffs next weekend.
In mid-August the team ranked last place in the Eastern Conference, but they have since risen to a record of 14 wins, making their current standing number five, just below Philadelphia Union.
Eight minutes in, midfielder Luciano Acosta used controlled footwork to maneuver around defenders surrounding the goal and kicked it behind him to team captain Wayne Rooney who shot it in, giving D.C. their first point of the game.
Before the end of the first half, Rooney had the ball under control as he neared the goal but he sent it backwards to keep it from defenders and Acosta took the shot, making it into the right corner of the goal and bringing the score to 2-0.
The final shot occurred after NYC FC received a handball call from the referees, giving D.C. a chance at an open free kick. As per usual, the team chose their captain to take the shot. Rooney set it up cautiously and then sprinted towards the ball, knocking it straight into the bottom corner and bringing the score to 3-0.
The game ended with NYC FC making one shot against goalie Bill Hamid, but D.C. United ultimately took the victory and guaranteed a chance in the playoffs. Beyond the win, the game was significant for Acosta who, with the successes of his performance during this game, became the eighth D.C. United player in history to have over 10 goals and assists in one season.
In addition, Rooney proved once again his age does not define his ability as he lead the team through the game’s pressure and contributed to every goal. Since D.C. United signed him in June the team has skyrocketed to the playoffs, which fans refer to as “The Rooney Effect”.
D.C. United will play Chicago Fire, currently in tenth standing, next Sunday.