D.C. United aims for playoffs


Last season, D.C. United was the laughingstock of Major League Soccer. Though MLS fans and experts predicted that the squad could contend for the league title in 2013, the team’s campaign was one of the most ill-fated in club history as United managed just three victories in 34 league games. This dismal record tied United for the least amount of league wins in any season in MLS history. 

Eager to rectify last season’s woes, the club’s management elected to reconstruct the team’s roster in the offseason. The club released several beloved veterans, including long-time captain Dwayne De Rosario, and attempted to sign a younger core of players via transfer. In the first match of the 2014 season, only four players from the 2013 starting lineup remained with the club. 

After a difficult first three games this year in which the team lacked cohesion, D.C. lost just one of its next eight games and sat atop the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2012. The team continued to streak through their league campaign and currently have a six-point cushion atop the Eastern Conference table with just four regular season games to play. 

After he felt himself on the hot seat following the dismal 2013 season, Head Coach Ben Olsen is reaping the rewards of United’s success this season and signed a contract extension last week with the club through the 2019 season. Forwards Fabián Espindola and Luis Silva have taken on vital leadership roles for the squad and have anchored the United attack, scoring 20 goals and tallying 11 assists in 25 games this season.

United will host Sporting Kansas City on October 10, which may serve as the club’s last true test before the playoffs begin in November. With just four games remaining in the season, United needs just one win and one tie to secure their first Eastern Conference title since 2007. The club looks poised for a deep playoff run this season, and the United players and management hope to bring an MLS Cup trophy back to the District for the first time since 2004. 

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Robbie Ponce

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