D.C. United won the battle, but the New York Red Bulls won the war. Finally.
Despite a 2-1 win for DC at sunny RFK Stadium on Saturday, the Red Bulls advanced past their Atlantic Cup rivals for the first time in five postseason meetings, winning 3-2 on aggregate goals in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the MLS Cup Playoffs, Presented by AT&T.
New York's Major League Soccer team has never advanced past D.C. United in four MLS Cup playoff series.
But the New York Red Bulls took a huge step towards turning over all that history with a 2-0 defeat of their Atlantic Cup rivals at Red Bull Arena on Sunday in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals in the MLS Cup Playoffs, Presented by AT&T.
Needing just a point to secure a first-place conference finish, D.C. United met the Chicago Fire on a brisk Saturday evening at RFK Stadium.
United did that and more, securing a 2-1 win over the Fire and pulling six points ahead of the second-place New England Revolution with only one game remaining. D.C. will finish atop the Eastern Conference for the first time since their Supporters’ Shield-winning 2007 campaign.
A pair of teams keen on claiming conference glory met at RFK Stadium on Friday evening as D.C. United welcomed Sporting Kansas City, and though neither found it, United were able to celebrate a tremendous turnaround and claim the East's first playoff berth.
Both teams struggled to break through as the two sides played to an entertaining, scrappy 0-0 draw in front of a rain-soaked crowd. The result pushed United’s point total to 52, good enough to guarantee a playoff berth one year removed from a historically bad season in which they claimed just 16 points.
With the season winding down, D.C. United met the Philadelphia Union with playoff implications for both teams./p>
The Union entered the match two points below the “red line,” badly needing a result to keep pace with Toronto FC, who leapfrogged the Union with a win just moments before kickoff. D.C. took the pitch eager to extend their conference lead and climb even closer to clinching a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Draw specialists the Chicago Fire had to dig deep to earn a record-equaling 16th tie of the season as they held Eastern Conference pacesetters D.C. United 3-3 in a rip-roaring contest at Toyota Park on Saturday evening.
A heroic performance from Bill Hamid
The Vancouver Whitecaps and D.C. United were forced to share the spoils after their interconference, cross-country showdown ended in a scoreless draw Saturday night at BC Place.
The game also marked the continued offensive futility for the Whitecaps, who have not scored in their last four games to stretch their goal-less streak to 411 minutes.
On a day that D.C. United honored members of its 2004 MLS Cup-winning side -- the last United team to win the league title -- the club's current incarnation made a statement about its intentions to end that decade long drought.