D.C. United’s 3-1 win in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals

Brenner scores 3 to beat D.C United, putting Cincinnati in MLS playoffs for first time since 2016 D.C United’s first-ever victory on opening-day field came only after a goal from the man who’s called…

D.C. United’s 3-1 win in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals

Brenner scores 3 to beat D.C United, putting Cincinnati in MLS playoffs for first time since 2016

D.C United’s first-ever victory on opening-day field came only after a goal from the man who’s called “The Kid.”

Rudy Gestede scored for the first time in eight months after coming off the bench in his first appearance of the year, and his goal turned a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 win and sent the team into Saturday’s MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals at Columbus’s Nippert Stadium.

The win eliminated D.C. United from the playoffs for the first time since 2016, as the Black-and-Red lost 2-0 at home to RB Leipzig in the fourth round in November. Since then, D.C. have advanced out of the playoffs in successive seasons once (2017-18) and once (2016-17).

“It’s a lot,” United goalkeeper Zac MacMath said of the three points. “It means a lot. I get so nervous before games. I usually don’t play that much, so I would get my game plan in by the third game, but I tried to relax today.

“I feel good and I feel good about how this game turned out. I want to be in the playoffs. We’re playing to keep the streak alive. I’m very proud of how we played today.”

D.C. opened the year on the wrong leg of their MLS schedule, dropping a 3-1 road decision to Toronto FC in their opener Aug. 29. There’s a good chance the new stadium was not as loud as the former MetLife Stadium before that game, and D.C. have not lost in open play to a team that plays in MLS since then.

Two of the goals — a brace from Gestede and a header from Josh Sargent — came on the opening day of the season.

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