This weekend at Audi Field, the Black-and-Red have a chance to complete their amazing season turnaround.
United will face off against New York City FC for their final home match of the regular season this Sunday, Oct. 21, at 3 PM ET. With a four-point lead over Montreal in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, a win on Sunday would punch United’s ticket to the postseason. But they will have to go through a team that has given them trouble in the past: NYCFC.
“We’re playing a very good team, one of the best teams in the East,” Head Coach Ben Olsen said after the match against Toronto FC. “My hope is that we have a great turnout, which I’m pretty sure we will, and we can solidify a playoff spot and treat our fans to another home win.”
Over the weekend, Wayne Rooney spoke about the excitement that comes with the mounting pressure of the last stretch of games. Despite the pressure, Olsen insists that his players are keeping a calm mind and simply focusing on the next task at hand.
“I think these guys understand, they’re mature, and over the last two and a half months, they’ve been very mature about not getting caught up in the emotion of this,” Olsen said. “Just keep grinding, and keep pushing, and getting more points. I’m looking forward to it.”
If United lose on Sunday, they still have other chances to clinch their spot in the postseason. If they win against Chicago the following weekend, or if Montreal lose either of their remaining games, the Black-and-Red are in. But United will want to thank the fans for the support through their incredible run by locking things up at home in front of them this Sunday, leading up to what should be another epic matchday in the District.
“One game at a time, that’s what we’ve been doing,” Steven Birnbaum said about the team's approach to Sunday’s match. “We want to win it, we don’t want to leave anything up in the air. We win and we’re in, and we know that. It’s another must-win game for us. I know we keep saying that, but that’s how we feel. We’d like a nine-point week and that’s what we’re going to do.”