MLS Playoff Race: D.C. United clinches thanks to 'Senor Wayne' and 'La Joya'

D.C. United completed its improbable run into the MLS's Eastern Conference top six, clinching a playoff berth on Sunday with a 3-1 win over NYCFC.

Once again, Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta were the stars, combining for all three goals as United raced out to a 3-0 lead after 74 minutes before David Villa scored a consolation goal for NYCFC.

Rooney -- "Senor Wayne" to Acosta -- has totaled 12 goals and seven assists since joining D.C. United while Acosta -- "La Joya" (the Jewel) -- has scored 10 goals to go along with 17 assists -- tied for the MLS lead with Philadelphia's Borek Dockal.

D.C. United was 3-9-5 at the halfway point of the season. It is 11-2-3 since then, using a predominantly home schedule at new Audi Field to climb into fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference ...

1. The race for the 2018 Supporters' Shield will go down to the final day. Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls both won narrowly and remain separated by one point. Atlanta set the MLS record for points in a season (69) with a 2-1 win over Chicago. The three points also clinched a berth in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League as Atlanta has the best overall record over the last two MLS seasons. It heads to Toronto FC next Sunday while the Red Bulls host Orlando City.



2. The two home teams in the Knockout Round remain undecided. NYCFC will clinch one of them with a win or tie against Philadelphia but it could drop all the way down to fifth place with a loss. D.C. United and Columbus also could grab home-field advantage with the right results.

3. The final playoff berth will go to Columbus or Montreal. The Crew, which would have clinched with a win on Sunday, blew a second-half lead at Orlando City, allowing the Lions to win for the first time in 14 games on a stoppage-time penalty kick. Columbus will need to beat Minnesota United at home next Sunday or it will open the door for the Impact, which stayed alive thanks to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC and plays at New England on the final day of the season.

Eastern Conference:
69 (1) Atlanta (21-6-6)
68 (2) NY Red Bulls (21-7-5)
53 (3) NYCFC (15-10-8)
50 (4) Philadelphia (15-13-5)
50 (5) D.C. United (14-11-8)
48 (6) Columbus (13-11-9)
46 (7) Montreal (14-15-4)
38 (8) New England (9-13-11)
33 (9) Toronto FC (9-18-6)
31 (10) Chicago (8-18-7)
28 (11) Orlando City (8-21-4)

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