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D.C. United clinch top spot in East with win over Fire


Photo by Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sport



After spending last season buried in the doldrums of the league’s cellar, D.C. United have clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

D.C. United locked up the conference’s number one seed Saturday with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 31st minute through Chris Pontius, who was left wide open on the backpost to head home to push D.C. United ahead.

Following a goalkick, D.C. United quickly moved the ball up field with Eddie Johnson finding space on the right side. The forward looped in a cross to Pontius on the backpost, who was left all alone to score the game’s opener.

D.C. United doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute by way of Johnson, whose goal was the forward’s seventh of the season.

Johnson’s finish was a gift from the Fire’s Patrick Ianni, who played a lackadaisical ball back to Jeff Larentowicz. The D.C. United forward pounced, beating the defender one-on-one before firing past Sean Johnson to double the lead.

The Fire pulled one back 14 minutes later through Rookie of the Year candidate Harrison Shipp’s sixth goal of the season

Shipp’s goal came as a result of a perfectly timed run through the D.C. United defense, as the Notre Dame product slipped onto the end of a Patrick Nyarko through-ball. Shipp thens lotted past goalkeeper Bill Hamid to pull the score to 2-1.

However, the D.C. United defended successfully held the league’s draw specialists from leveling the score by holding on for the 2-1 victory.

With the victory, D.C. United clinches the top spot in the Eastern Conference and a bye to the conference semifinal round. D.C. United will close out their regular season Oct. 25 against the Montreal Impact, while the Chicago Fire wrap up their season Oct. 24 against the Houston Dynamo.


  1. How may new people are there in MLS?

    Kaiserlautern went from Bundesliga 2 to Bundesliga 1 CHAMPIONS in 1 year. Only in your nightmares does DC win MLS East.

    Enjoy 4th place, Red bull fan. (and allow DC United fans to enjoy this massive hop from crap to first, please)

    • Why is this a problem? For comparison’s sake, let’s take the EPL and let’s eliminate the top six teams that are essentially the same each year. So from 7-20, do these teams not move around in that range quite a bit from year-to-year? Isn’t relegation more of a reality each season for these teams than Champion’s League? Is it equally as unbelievable that a team in the almighty EPL (the best league in the world) can go from relegation to top 10 (which is basically top 4 in the land of reasonably priced) or the opposite in one season?

      This happens all the time in sports when money is not a controlling factor. MLS is not unique.

    • It’s just more parity than European leagues experience. The difference between the top and the bottom of a European table is big in terms of playing ability, money spent to buy that playing ability, etc. In MLS, you can add a few players to the worst team, and if they gel with the guys already there and all that, it can become the best team (not saying United is now the best team, but certainly more dangerous than a year ago). From a fan perspective, this isn’t a bad thing, I don’t think.

    • Yes, how terrible, a league where any team has a legitimate chance at the beginning of the year. Kind of like 2010, when the red bulls went from seventh (relegation?) to first.

      Much better to have a league where four or five teams have a shot, and everyone else is fighting for pure survival.


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