This victory gives Shatzer confidence that the United are on their way to clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
With just 10 matches left in the season, United is in fine position to essentially lock up their playoff spot in the coming weeks...This United team is undefeated when leading at the half. This United team knows how to close out a game. This United team knows what it takes to win.
Brandon McDonald scored his second goal of the season in the second half and Long Tan his first goal for United as the Black-And-Red made a move toward solidifying their place in the MLS Eastern Conference playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium.
The win kept D.C. United in 5th place in the East, but pulled them four points clear of the sixth-place Montreal Impact with three games in hand. In addition, United moved to within one point of fourth-place Chicago and third-place Houston with a game in hand on each.
McDonald scored in the 51st minute with a looping header that just eluded the despairing dive of Chicago goaltender Sean Johnson. The cross that set McDonald up came from Chris Korb, with whom McDonald exchanged shoves following Sunday's 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union.
As in the first half, United had the better portion of territory and possession, but the Fire still posed a threat. Minutes after McDonald scored, Marcelo Pappa whipped a shot that hit the post to Bill Hamid's left. With 15 minutes to play, Chicago pulled to within a goal when Gonzalo Segares was left unmarked in the area and headed a cross from Pavel Pardo along the ground and into the net.
Chicago had one more chance to pull even, but Hamid reacted quickly to push Chris Rolfe's shot around his right post. Minutes later, De Rosario scampered down the left wing and rolled the ball to Tan, who hit a weak shot that somehow managed to deflect off Johnson's gloves and roll into the net.
Dwayne De Rosario scored his first goal since May 19, and Lionard Pajoy has scored his first goal in a D.C. United shirt as the Black-and-Red lead the Chicago Fire, 2-1 at halftime of a crucial Eastern Conference contest at RFK Stadium.
De Rosario's goal in the 19th minute was a back post finish into an open net after a low shot by Chris Pontius pulled Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson out of his net. The goal was De Rosario's 99th regular season tally in MLS. Only 6 players have scored 100.
In general, United were the better side in the first half, and they could have gone two up at the half-hour mark when Pajoy ran onto a pass and found himself one-on-one with Johnson. However, Pajoy chose to pull up his run and look for help rather than attempt to round the Chicago keeper and the ball was cleared away.
Chicago equalized in the final minute of normal time through Dan Paladini, who started and finished a lovely set of passes near the top of the United penalty area. The final pass of the sequence found Paladini all alone at the top of the box and he finished past Bill Hamid.
The draw lasted about 90 seconds. In the first minute of first half stoppage time, a cross to the back post by Andy Najar found Pajoy who planted a downward header past Johnson.