United captain Wayne Rooney, midfielder Luciano Acosta and defender Steven Birnbaum were all named to MLS' Team of the Week for Week 34 of the regular season after their playoff-clinching 3-1 victory over New York City FC Sunday afternoon.
Rooney scored a brace while Acosta recorded a goal and an assist while Birnbaum led the backline in a spectacular defensive performance against New York. The win completed United's climb from last in the Eastern Conference to 5th place with a confirmed spot in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Rooney opened the scoring in the 8th minute after a spectacular run from Acosta that tore through the NYCFC defense. After weaving his way through to goal, Acosta sent the ball to Rooney for a simple tap-in. The goal was the seventh time this season that Rooney and Acosta have combined for a goal.
Acosta was not done, though, as he fired found the back of the net himself in the 24th minute after New York tipped the ball away from Rooney to a waiting Acosta on the edge of the penalty area who then fired it into the top corner to make it 2-0.
The goal brought Acosta to 10 goals and 17 assists in 2018, making him the first United player since Jamie Moreno in 2008 to reach the 10 goal 10 assist milestone in a season. Acosta is also now the eighth player in club history to accomplish the feat.
Meanwhile, Rooney struck again from the penalty spot to seal the win for the Black-and-Red. Rooney's penalty kick goal was his team-leading 12th of the season in just 19 appearances with the club since debuting on July 14. The goal also gave United three double-digit scorers on the year with Darren Mattocks (10) and Acosta (10). It is the first time the Black-and-Red have featured three double-digit scorers since the 1998 campaign when Roy Lassiter (18), Jamie Moreno (16) and Marco Etcheverry (10) all scored double-digit goals.
On defense, Birnbaum led the backline in a superb performance against NYCFC. The United backline limited New York only four shots on target and kept the dangerous David Villa in check for most of the match. Though Villa scored late in the second half, his goal was too little too late for the visitors.
This is the third time this season that Rooney has been named to the MLS Team of the Week while Acosta will be making a whopping ninth time in 2018. This is the second time that Birnbaum has been named to the Team of the Week. The full MLS Team of the Week can be seen below.
F: Salloi (SKC), Ibrahimovic (LA), Rooney (DC)
M: Acosta (DC), Lodeiro (SEA), Yotun (ORL), Blanco (POR)D: Marshall (SEA), Birnbaum (DC), Besler (SKC)
GK: Melia (SKC)
Bench: Robles (RBNY), Escobar (ATL), Calvillo (SJ), Kaku (RBNY), Piatti (MTL), Baird (RSL), Rossi (LAFC)
Coach: Peter Vermes (SKC)