DCU beats FCD late, takes over East’s final playoff spot

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
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The game in 200 words (or less): With four games still to play in the regular season, it’s looking more and more likely D.C. United will complete their unlikely comeback to finish sixth in the Eastern Conference, thus sneaking into the playoffs as the red-hot team with momentum that no one wants to play. Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Western Conference-leading FC Dallas put Ben Olsen’s side into the sixth spot, with a game in hand on now-seventh-place Montreal Impact. 13 points out of the playoffs (and last place in the East) before Audi Field opened on July 14, Wayne Rooney has received a healthy share of credit for the turnaround, but it’s the breakout performances of two players in particular — Luciano Acosta (8 goals, 9 assists since the end of July) and Russell Canouse (defensive work rate mixed with a stellar passing percentage in central midfield), most notably — which have elevated the Black and Red to their current standing. Canouse bagged the only goal of the game on Saturday, when it was just beginning to look like United would lose a bit of their momentum on home soil.

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Three moments that mattered

2′ — Rooney pulls his shot wide early on — The first touch let him down a bit, which made the subsequent corralling, not to mention the actually shooting, of the ball all the more difficult.

62′ — Gonzalez tips Rooney’s free kick wide — Inches from the opening goal.

86′ — Canouse turns a mad scramble into a goal — No one in a white shirt could get near the ball, therefore no one in a white shirt could clear the ball from danger. Canouse got a second crack at it after his first effort his the crossbar.

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Man of the match: Russell Canouse

Goalscorers: Canouse (86′)