4 Games Left To Decide D.C. United's MLS Playoff Standing

The last time D.C. United took the field in a competitive MLS game, they did their playoff chances a world of good. In a crucial showdown against the Montreal Impact on August 31, the Black-and-Red repeatedly punched their opponents in the mouth over the first 45 minutes of the game, picking up a 3-0 win that massively helped ease the pressure on a playoff race that was rapidly tightening up.

After a two-week break for international play, United get back in action this Sunday to start the stretch of their final four games of the season. Though the win against the Impact helped increase the margin of error, United will need to pick up some points against the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, New York Red Bulls, and FC Cincinnati to ensure their playoff spot, especially if they want to host their first-round game.

United will greatly benefit from the return of Wayne Rooney for the final four games of the regular season. The captain has missed several games recently, due to being home with his family in England, then illness, and finally because of a red-card suspension. Rooney hasn't quite hit the same heights that he did in 2018, but the former Manchester United man still leads the team in goals and assists; he will be crucial to any deep playoff run this year.

In his stead, Ola Kamara has come in and quickly showed why D.C. paid big money for the Norweigan striker. His first-half brace against the Impact was just what the doctor ordered for a United side desperate for three points. Whatever Ben Olsen has planned for his two strikers over the next four games, the head coach will be confident that either is capable of supplying timely goals when needed.

The final stretch of games will provide the Black-and-Red with a playoff-like atmosphere, facing off against three teams that will likely be participating in MLS' second season. A trip to Portland this Sunday against a Timbers side teetering on the edge of a playoff spot will provide a stern test for Olsen's team.

Likewise, the Sounders' first-ever visit to Audi Field on September 22 will pit two probable playoff teams against each other. United don't have the best record against the Sounders since Seattle's introduction into the league in 2009, but Audi Field could provide the difference in a game of two equally matched teams.

Thanks to the win over Montreal, United currently occupy the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, the last spot that hosts a playoff game in the first round of the playoffs. The Red Bulls sit a point behind with a game in hand, but the September 29 showdown at Red Bull Arena could be the ultimate decider between who hosts the playoff game as the No. 4 seed.

If all else fails, United host Cincinnati on the final day of the season. Barring a miracle, the expansion side will set the MLS record for most goals conceded in a season, having already let 72 goals in this year. Back in July, United took advantage of Cincy's leaky backline, netting a 4-1 win in Ohio. A similar result on the final day of the season could be a nice boost for United heading into the playoffs.

A second consecutive playoff appearance is far from a certainty for United, but the final four games of the season will give them plenty of opportunities to secure their spot. And a strong finish to the season for the Black-and-Red could set them up nicely to get past the first round of playoffs for the first time since 2015. 

Kluivert, Zaniolo & The 5 Second-Year Players Who Could Save Roma

For a club that has been near the top of the league for several years — while also producing magic on the European stage — Roma could not have ended the 2018-19 campaign in a much worse fashion. 

Scouting D.C. United's Potential 1st-Round Playoff Opponents

With three games left in the regular season, D.C. United currently sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference ahead of Sunday's game against the Seattle Sounders. The Black-and-Red haven't yet punched their playoff ticket yet, but two results could ensure their qualification this weekend even before they take the field at Audi Field. 

After Champions League Draw, Conte's Inter Milan Can Prove Quality In Derby

Three matches, three victories. 

Handicapping The Race For The MLS Golden Boot

For most of the 2019 season, the MLS Golden Boot has seemed like a forgone conclusion. Los Angeles FC superstar Carlos Vela burst out of the gate with eight goals from the first seven games and has essentially kept that form throughout the year. Vela leads the circuit with 28 goals, just four short of setting a new MLS season record after Atlanta United's Josef Martinez set the record with 31 last year.

After Long-Awaited Win, FC Cincinnati Hopes To Keep Momentum vs Atlanta

Sweet, sweet victory.

Film Room: Analyzing D.C. United's Road Win vs Portland Timbers

A couple of weeks ago D.C. United were struggling through a three-game losing streak and teetering on the edge of the playoff race in MLS' Eastern Conference. After spending much of the year near the top of the division, United came close to almost falling out of a playoff spot, as wins were tough to come by for Ben Olsen's side. 

Concaclusions, Ep. 2: Lozano Comfortable With Napoli & Dest Growing At Ajax

The opening two rounds of the Concacaf Nations League are in the rearview mirror, and when action resumes we will see the likes of Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, and Honduras join the competition. For many of the region’s top players, next up is a healthy serving of UEFA Champions League fixtures beginning Tuesday. 

10 Things In Italy: Racism, Juventus Crackdown & League Leaders Inter Milan

As usual, the action on the field struggled to keep up with the incredible news happening away from the pitch, but fear not, because “10 Things” is here to keep you up to date with the most important moments from the last seven days in Italian football.

First-Half Own Goal Gives D.C. United Huge Victory Over Portland Timbers

In 90 minutes of rain, D.C. United emerged victorious in the Pacific Northwest, benefitting from an own goal in a 1-0 win against the Portland Timbers. Bill Tuiloma knocked in Ulises Segura's cross in the 25th minute, giving United their second consecutive win, both of which came away from the friendly confines of Audi Field. The win elevated the Black-and-Red to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, a position that could change depending on other results on Sunday.

D.C. United In Position To Solidify Playoff Position With PDX Trip

After two weeks off for the international break, D.C. United are back in action on Sunday afternoon as they travel cross-country to take on the Portland Timbers. A win could see the Black-and-Red vault back into fourth place in the Eastern Conference after they were surpassed midweek by Toronto FC, who moved into fourth on the goal differential tiebreaker. Both teams currently occupy a playoff spot at the moment but need a win to cement their standing.