WASHINGTON – So good for the second half of the season that the dynamic duo of Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta of D.C. United fell silent at the worst times. And now the magical run of black and red players is just another game in the playoffs of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup. While DC scored two more goals, on Thursday night's knockout round, he dropped out with Columbus Crew SC, an intervention from Half of this duo could have seen the Black and Red beyond this level.
"It's disappointing," Rooney later said. "But for us as a team, we can be proud of what we have achieved in recent months. I think today's game, the crowd, the atmosphere as it was, it was fantastic. It has been shown that the team has come a long way and we can be proud of our achievements. Obviously we are now trying to expand this for next season. "
United had denied the postseason in an unbeaten run of 1
But Columbus outsmarted the pair just as much as any team has done so far. Jonathan Mensah was an excellent marketer for Rooney, and Artur and Wil Trapp were the main culprits in the disappointment of Acosta.
"We focused on a plan on how to stay compact and how to prevent central passes," said Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter. "And the guys did a really good job. There was no room. There were not many options for her. You remove two high-profile players from the game, and this increases your chances of winning. "
D.C. Coach Ben Olsen had a slightly different attitude.
"I do not know if it was really something they did," Olsen said. "We were good at times. We were not great. I think we complicated the game in the last third. I think we went to the house race as we continued to secure the ball and make it work. "
Acosta's flank played a role in the opening game of D. C., a header by Frederic Brillant after Zack Steffen's mishap. And Rooney's long diagonal free-kick in extra time led to Nick DeLeon, who scored a half-volley in the 116th minute with a half-volley.
However, these games took place on the periphery rather than in the center of DC gates. And in penalties Steffen denied both Acosta and Rooney, both times dived right before DeLeon pushed the last attempt of the tiebreak over the crossbar.
"PKs are for the birds," Olsen said. "Especially if you lose her."
It was a second exit at this stage in as many playoff games after a team from DC, also hot towards the end of 2016, dropped out of the RFK stadium against Montreal Impact. Unlike 2016, it may have felt like it had stopped a very deep run this time.
"I think that's the best thing I've participated in," said defender Steve Birnbaum. "It's just that, I've never been part of a penalty kick in MLS. And that hurt. You do not want to end your season this way.
Bill Hamid said, "I really wanted a trophy in the opening season. We can build on that. But to get a cup at Audi Field in the opening season, I just thought of it. "