Mattocks' go-ahead goal lifts United to 2-1 victory over Minnesota

Darren Mattocks secured a massive three points for D.C. United when he scored the winning-goal in a 2-1 victory over Minnesota United Wednesday night at Audi Field. The victory lifted United up to seventh place in the East, just two points away from the final playoff spot with six of their final seven matches at home at Audi Field. 

Minnesota pushed the attack early and tested the United backline. In the seventh minute, Minnesota’s Angelo Rodriguez took a close-range shot from inside the penalty area that was blocked by Kofi Opare. Miguel Ibarra quickly pounced on the rebound but was again blocked, this time by Steven Birnbaum. 

Bill Hamid was then tested in 32nd minute when he denied a curling effort from Ibarra. United then came close to breaking the deadlock in the 38th minute when Wayne Rooney connected with Luciano Acosta on a one-two pass play into the penalty area. Though Acosta quickly gathered the ball after the clever exchange, his effort went over the crossbar.

United controlled the majority of the first half, holding the lead in shots with 11. Rooney led the way for D.C. with four of his own. Birnbaum was a perfect 26 for 26 in first-half passes, which allowed United to build from the back and alleviate pressure in their defensive third.

Minnesota broke the stalemate early in the second half, though, when Rodriguez found the back of the net for the Loons in the 47th minute.

United buckled down and found the equalizer when Ulises Segura collected a pass from Rooney just inside the penalty area. With a defender draped over him, Segura calmly turned and fired a low shot past Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. 

The Black-and-Red would get the go-ahead goal shortly after in the 69th minute when Joseph Mora ran into space on the left flank and feathered a pass into the path of a streaking Mattocks, who redirected the goal past Shuttleworth to make it 2-1. 

Mattocks’ goal was his team-leading 10th of the season and marked the first time a United player has reached double-digit goals in a season since Chris Rolfe notched 10 in 2015. 

United will continue their home stand on Sunday, Sept. 16 for their final Atlantic Cup clash with the New York Red Bulls at 1 PM ET on ESPN.