At this point in the MLS season, every win is important. In a week with three games in ten days, tired legs can make those crucial points all the more difficult to earn. But in D.C. United’s midweek match against Minnesota United, the fans stepped up and helped motivate their team to a 2-1 comeback win.
From the opening whistle, the supporters were banging their drums, waving their flags, and singing their support for the Black-and-Red. But their support became particularly important after United went down at the start of the second half. A goal in the 47th minute from Angelo Rodriguez woke up the fans and the players alike.
“[The support] was huge,” Head Coach Ben Olsen said after the match. “We needed some motivation there. I’ve been in those situations, long weeks, Wednesday night game, and [the fans] came alive in the second half and I think the players responded in the right way.”
“They were great,” defender Steven Birnbaum added. “The fans kept cheering and getting us going and they played a part in us coming from behind and winning. It’s important. We needed a home-field advantage and we got it tonight.”
The energy of the fans helped United overcome their deficit and score two quick goals in the second half—a 65th minute strike from Ulises Segura, and a 69th minute tap-in for Darren Mattocks. As the Black-and-Red settled in to control in the second half, the fans became livelier and livelier, shifting momentum to the home side's favor.
The support of the local fans will continue to play a big role in the coming weeks. With six out of the seven remaining games of the regular season at Audi Field, and the Black-and-Red aggressively vying for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, United can rely on a raucous home crowd to help lift them above the line. With the energy and passion of the fans behind them, the team knows they must all be locked-in every match if they expect to go the distance and earn a postseason berth.
“The race in the East in tight,” Birnbaum said. “There’s not a lot of room for error in these games and we’re playing a lot of good teams. Basically, all these games are must-wins for us. That’s how we’re looking at it. We’re in the playoffs right now, this is what we have to do. We have to win each game, especially at home. Tonight was a good stepping stone.”