United's homestand at Audi Field to finish out their regular season campaign at home was one to remember. With six wins and one draw in seven-consecutive home games, the Black-and-Red completed their turnaround to burst into the Eastern Conference playoffs and showed the league that Audi Field is one of the most challenging venues to visit in MLS. Take a look back at the top moments from United's homestand ahead of their 2018 MLS Cup Playoff run.
5. Acosta’s late goal against the New York Red Bulls
D.C. United’s second match against the New York Red Bulls at Audi Field was a high-scoring affair. The teams went back-and-forth on goals, but arguably the best goal of the day came from Luciano Acosta in the 87th minute. Yamil Asad slipped a ball past New York's back line for Acosta, who danced around the goalkeeper before chipping a shot into the back of the net. Head Coach Ben Olsen said "it deserved to be a game-winner," but the Red Bulls were able to equalize three minutes later and the match ended in a 3-3 draw.
4. Comeback against the Chicago Fire
On October 7, United played a sluggish match against the Chicago Fire on a hot Sunday afternoon at Audi Field. The Fire took the lead early in the second half with a goal from Raheem Edwards, but the Black-and-Red were able to dig deep and fight their way back for another massive three points in their playoff push. The comeback began when Wayne Rooney equalized in the 62nd minute by tapping in a ball that rebounded off of Chicago's goalkeeper. A penalty kick from the captain in the 81st minute sealed the victory and gave United another confidence boost in their ability to come from behind to win matches.
3. Blowout of the Montreal Impact
September 29 was arguably United's biggest match of the year—the Black-and-Red hosted the Montreal Impact in what was a must-win to keep United's playoff hopes alive in their chase of the Impact for the last spot in the East. Earlier in the season, United drew against the Impact on the road in a sloppy game from both sides, and they knew they would have to put together a stronger performance in order to pick up all three points and starve Montreal of points of their own. United got exactly what they needed that night: a brace for Wayne Rooney, a brace for Paul Arriola, a goal and three assists for Luciano Acosta, and a clean sheet for Bill Hamid. The rout was a treat for the home crowd, but it also proved the Black-and-Red were playing some of their best soccer of the year in a stretch when it mattered the most.
2. Wayne Rooney’s rocket against Toronto FC
Wayne Rooney provided a much-needed moment of brilliance in D.C. United’s match against Toronto FC on October 17. In the 18th minute, the forward took a free kick from 33-yards out and sent a jaw-dropping strike past the defensive wall and Toronto's goalkeeper for the lone score of the night. It was a classic Rooney moment that lifted the Black-and-Red to their fourth consecutive victory.
1. Clinching a playoff spot
The Black-and-Red saved the best for last in their regular season finale at Audi Field. The entirety of United's unforgettable moments culminated in the most rewarding moment of their homestand: clinching a playoff spot. The Black-and-Red punched their ticket to the postseason after an emphatic 3-1 win over New York City FC that featured goals from Luciano Acosta and Wayne Rooney. The victory brought their unbeaten streak to nine games—a streak they are hoping to carry on through their final game of the regular season and into the playoffs.
While United made the most of their first season at Audi Field, they are striving to get back to their home fortress at least one more time in 2018. A win in Chicago this Sunday would propel them into fourth place spot in the Eastern Conference and would allow them to host their Knockout Round match at Audi Field and, hopefully, create more incredible moments in their new home in front of their local fans.