D.C. United’s playoff outlook brightened Saturday evening with a powerful 4-0 victory over Chicago that not solely ended a three-game dropping streak however pushed Wayne Rooney’s aspect forward of the Hearth for the final postseason berth in MLS’s Japanese Convention.
In pressing want of factors coming into the stretch run of the season, United roared to a three-goal lead within the first half. Christian Benteke scored for the primary time in nearly three months, 21-year-old Ted Ku-DiPietro continued his breakout marketing campaign, and a weird personal objective all however secured the result at Audi Discipline. Benteke added a objective in second-half stoppage time as United loved its highest-scoring recreation of the yr.
“It was a consequence we would have liked,” Rooney stated. “We all know it’s on us to maintain placing on performances like we did tonight and win video games. The place we’re, tonight’s recreation will give us lots of confidence.”
D.C. (9-12-6, 33 factors) rose to ninth place, one level forward of Chicago (8-11-8) and two behind No. 8 Montreal (11-14-2) with seven matches left. Three others are in rivalry as properly.
Except for climbing the standings — and bettering its hopes of qualifying for the postseason for the primary time in 4 years — United wanted to play properly after a collection of uninspiring performances. From the beginning, it carried out itself with renewed vitality and function orchestrated by new playmaker Gabriel Pirani. United additionally made strides at Audi Discipline, the place, with a 4-4-4 file earlier than Saturday, it was among the many worst house groups in MLS.
Within the buildup to the match, Rooney emphasised the significance of beginning sturdy in opposition to an opponent that performed Wednesday.
Benteke, United’s $4.25 million-per-year striker, had gone eight straight league matches and 11 general with out scoring. However within the ninth minute, Mateusz Klich delivered a spotless lengthy ball out of midfield. Benteke chested it down within the field, in the reduction of on defender Rafael Czichos, then pounded in an eight-yarder.
“If you don’t rating for a number of video games, it may be irritating,” he stated. “However I used to be simply occupied with doing the suitable factor. In case you do the suitable factor, it results in objectives.”
Benteke was the facilitator within the twentieth minute. Along with his again to the objective, he chested down Cristian Dájome’s lengthy ball. With two defenders occupied, Benteke touched the ball right into a gaping channel for the hard-running Ku-DiPietro to attain his fifth of the season.
Captain Steven Birnbaum known as Ku-DiPietro a “field-tilter for us. His runs in behind, his creativity within the field has been nice for us.”
The forwards mixed once more within the fortieth minute, with Benteke establishing Ku-DiPietro charging into the field. Chicago defender Carlos Terán barreled over Ku-DiPietro from behind, which might have prompted a penalty kick. However within the technique of his misdeed, the falling Terán inadvertently struck the ball with every foot, and the latter contact resulted in an personal objective.
United misplaced its method within the second half however wasn’t punished for it. In stoppage time, Benteke added his tenth of the yr by simply depositing Chris Durkin’s cross.
D.C. goalkeeper Alex Bono made his second common season begin, changing Tyler Miller, who is sidelined four to six weeks with a rib injury. Bono, an MLS veteran in his first yr in Washington, sparkled within the thirty eighth minute with a response save on Kei Kamara’s depraved strike and made a kick save on a Seventy fifth-minute deflection.
“Down the stretch right here, we’ve received to drag off lots of wins,” Bono stated. “It was a very good begin for us and may give us confidence going into the final stretch to maintain it going.”
Right here’s what else to learn about United’s victory:
Fletcher to Swansea Metropolis
Kristian Fletcher, an 18-year-old attacker in his first full professional season, was loaned to Swansea Metropolis within the second-flight English Championship till Dec. 31, individuals accustomed to the deal stated. (United and Swansea have the identical homeowners.) The Bowie native and Landon School graduate appeared in 10 common season matches for D.C., beginning as soon as and posting two assists.
Three worldwide call-ups
Each of United’s beginning exterior backs, Éric Davis and Andy Najar, and reserve ahead José Fajardo had been summoned for international duty and can miss subsequent Saturday’s house match in opposition to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Davis and Fajardo will be part of Panama for Concacaf Nations League matches in opposition to Martinique and Guatemala, whereas Najar will report back to Honduras for Nations League video games in opposition to Jamaica and Grenada.
MLS scheduled 5 video games throughout this FIFA window, a interval when first-division leagues world wide usually go on break.
Roster deadline nears
Citing wage cap points, Rooney stated United is unlikely to signal any free brokers earlier than the MLS roster deadline Sept. 13. (The switch and commerce window closed Aug. 2.)
Rooney wished to reacquire midfielder Ravel Morrison, who had been coaching with the membership currently. “He’s been good,” Rooney stated. The membership left Morrison off the roster at the beginning of the yr and purchased out his $850,000 assured contract this summer season.
Based on an individual near the state of affairs, United additionally engaged in talks with Ghanaian World Cup ahead Andre Ayew and Jesse Lingard, the previous Manchester United winger who was looking for a long-term assured contract.