D.C. United used a flurry of second-half strikes to move four points clear of the New England Revolution on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium.
Lloyd Sam, Lamar Neagle and Alvaro Saborio scored in the 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew that essentially knocked the Crew out of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Crew were in control for the first half, but they were unable to capitalize on a plethora of set-piece opportunities.
Steve Clark denied D.C.’s biggest chance in the first half with a save off the line on a Patrick Mullins header in the 31st minute.
The momentum started to swing to United’s favor in the second half as tired legs began to strike the Crew, who were playing on two days rest.
Sam struck for the opener with his last touch of the game in the 71st minute as he used a half-turn to get around a defender and hit the top-right corner of the net with his left boot.
Sam’s replacement, Lamar Neagle, padded D.C.’s lead in the 86th minute as he knocked in a pass from fellow substitute Julian Buescher.
Neagle shifted into the role of provider in the 90th minute as he fed Alvaro Saborio for the final tally of the victory that put D.C. in control of the race for sixth place.
The three points moved D.C. to 40 points with three matches left to play. New England is United’s closest competition at 36 points in seventh place. The Crew dropped eight points behind United with the loss.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lamar Neagle entered in the 72nd minute and contributed to a pair of goals that sealed up the victory for D.C.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Lloyd Sam‘s 71st-minute strike took the air out of Columbus’ sails. The goal came after the Crew put a decent amount of pressure on the D.C. net for the opening 70 minutes.
MATCH TO FORGET
Ethan Finlay failed to show up on the right wing for the Crew. The American was one of the best attackers in the Columbus lineup of late, but he was shutout in the club’s most important contest of the season.