Team salutes fans after Eastern Conference Final

The Best of 2012

While Sunday brought the end to D.C. United’s 2012 season, supporters of the Black-and-Red have much to be proud of – and, perhaps more importantly – a lot to look forward to. While it will take a few days for the sting of defeat to wear off, D.C. United seems poised for big things.

“We talk about laying a foundation here and having something special for years to come and I believe its here – I really do,” said Head Coach Ben Olsen after Sunday’s match. “This group is a bunch of great, young guys who are willing to fight and do what it takes.”

While everyone will begin to look forward in the coming days, we look back at some of the best moments from the 2012 season that was. What was your favorite moment from the year?

Ben Olsen said before the season the goal was to make playoffs. Not only did United vault itself into the post-season for the first time in five years, but the squad made it to the Eastern Conference Championship by defeating the New York Red Bulls in stunning fashion. The team achieved a playoff berth in large part due to acquiring the most home points (40) in all MLS, accumulating a Regular Season 12-1-4 record and going on a 16-match unbeaten streak at RFK.

United captain Dwayne De Rosario became only the seventh player in League history to hit the century mark, scoring his 100th goal against Atlantic Cup rival New York Red Bulls. Interestingly enough, former New England Revolution player Taylor Twellman – the last MLS man to reach a triple-digit goal mark – netted his 100th against New York as well.

Nick DeLeon became the fourth United man in as many seasons to be named an MLS Rookie of the Year finalist, making D.C. the only club to achieve this feat. Perry Kitchen (‘11 finalist), Andy Najar (‘10 winner) and Chris Pontius (‘09) all were amongst the three finalists for the annual award. Pontius and Head Coach Ben Olsen were 2012 year-end award finalists as well – for Comeback Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.

On a blistery-cold, rain-soaked April afternoon at RFK, Chris Pontius netted his first-ever MLS hat trick, leading the squad to a 4-1 win over I-95 rivals New York Red Bulls. The 25-year old had his best season to date, putting in a team high 12 goals and wearing the captain’s armband in De Rosario’s absence.

With his sixth strike of the season – against the Columbus Crew on October 20 – Nick DeLeon propelled himself to the top of the United rookie goal-scoring category. Santino Quaranta (2001), Freddy Adu (2004) and Andy Najar (2010) were the previous record-holders, netting five goals apiece in their respective inaugural MLS campaigns.

On July 10, D.C. United announced Jason Levien and Erick Thohir as its new managing partners. With general partner Will Chang still on board, the ownership group underlined its commitment to finding the team a permanent home. The future looks bright both and on off the field for the Black-and-Red.

What more can be said about D.C. United’s supporters? La Barra Brava, Screaming Eagles, District Ultras, La Norte, as well as the team’s Season Ticket Holders, showed their class throughout the season, but especially over the last month. Crowds of 19,647 (sellout), 17,556 and 20,015 (over capacity) packed RFK Stadium for the team’s final three home games of the year, and more than 700 traveled to New York only to see a game canceled by the snow. When in full voice and at full strength, there is no better group of supporters in MLS.

2013 is going to be fun.