The game in 100 words (or
less more): If you’ve been waiting for New York City FC’s (seemingly) inevitable collapse as they breezed through the second half of the 2016 season — locking up a place in the playoffs and making a serious push for the Eastern Conference’s top spot perhaps a year ahead of schedule, in Patrick Vieira’s first season — happy Sunday to you. Entering Sunday, no team occupying a playoff place had conceded more goals than NYCFC (53), which will ultimately be their season’s deathblow. On Sunday, they ran into a buzzsaw D.C. United side (yes, you read that right) which had won three straight, by a combined score of 9-2. The goals kept flowing in this one, as Patrick Mullins, Bobby Boswell and Rob Vincent made it 3-0 to the home side before the halftime whistle. The victory sees United clinch their place in the playoffs, guaranteeing no worse than a fifth-place finish, and leapfrog the Montreal Impact for fourth place in the race to host a knockout-round game. NYCFC, meanwhile, fall to three points back of the New York Red Bulls for the top spot in the East, but remain second thanks to Toronto FC’s draw with the Impact.
[ MORE: Playoff Picture — 6 teams can clinch playoff berth this weekend ]
Three moments that mattered
27′ — Mullins arrives late at the back post for 1-0 — Luciano Acosta plays Lloyd Sam down the right flank, and Sam slides the ball across the face of goal for Patrick Mullins, who hammers it past the goalkeeper. United’s opening goal is exactly how they drew it up.
31′ — Boswell heads the corner home for 2-0 — Speaking of just how they drew it up, here’s Sam floating a free kick into the penalty area, and Boswell, the biggest player on the field, going up and getting it to double the lead.
45′ — Disaster at the back for NYCFC, and it’s 3-0 — See, what happened here was… it was bad. Just bad.
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Men of the match: Lloyd Sam
Goalscorers: Mullins (27′), Boswell (31′), Vincent (45′), Villa (72′ – PK)