Second-half goals from Marcelo Saragosa and Lewis Neal propelled D.C. United to their first MLS Cup playoff berth since 2007 and guaranteed that the Black-and-Red would host at least one playoff match at RFK Stadium after a 3-2 defeat of the Columbus Crew Saturday night.
Saragosa's 59th-minute strike came after Columbus failed to adequately clear an Andy Najar free kick. Brandon McDonald was able to control the loose ball enough to square it to Saragosa, who swung his leg and sent the ball flying past Andy Gruenebaum, who may have been screened by the mass of humanity in his penalty area.
Moments earlier, Lionard Pajoy had missed a glorious chance to equalize for D.C. by glancing Saragosa's cross wide of the far post with his head. United enjoyed the bigger share of possession as they pushed for a winning goal, which finally came in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
A long ball clearance found Branko Boskovic, who touched it to a streaking Neal, who finished past Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to secure the victory.
The win propelled United into second place in the MLS Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Chicago Fire, three points ahead of the New York Red Bulls, and four ahead of fifth-place Houston. The Black-and-Red close their regular season next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. with a road match against the Chicago Fire.