With playoffs approaching, DC United are playing well at the right time

WASHINGTON – It took 31 games, but D.C. United finally have their first winning streak of 2016.

D.C. used a dominant second-half performance to fend off a desperate but exhausted Columbus Crew SC side Wednesday, tallying a trio of goals late in the second stanza to put them away, 3-0 at RFK Stadium. The win follows a similarly energetic performance against another playoff contender this past weekend – a 4-1 thrashing of Orlando City SC on Saturday.

Their recent run of good form could not come at a better time. The victory over Columbus leaves United four points clear of the playoff line with three games to play.

“I think the momentum is good right now,” United ‘keeper Bill Hamid said after the match. “We had a good performance against Orlando, that’s a good showing at home and we just wanted to piggy back off of that and continue the form.

“Columbus, they throw numbers at you from every angle, so the first half we just had to figure that out, we had to figure out how to deal with all those numbers and all that possession that they were gonna have. But you could see that our momentum carried through in the second half. We figured it out and we punished them.''

Columbus did manage to keep pace – and even boss the game at points – through a forgettable first half, but the visitors faded in the second 45 as United began to apply pressure. Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta combined nicely with former New York Red Bull Lloyd Sam on United’s first goal of the evening in the 71st minute. Lamar Neagle netted an all-important insurance tally 15 minutes later and the game was practically over by the time Alvaro Saborio netted a third in the 90th minute.

“I thought in the first half we weren’t real cohesive in the way we were pressing,” D.C. head coach Ben Olsen told the media in attendance. “However, when we did drop we were very disciplined in the way we did it and we kept them from having great opportunities.

“The second half, I thought we did a much better job of picking our spots and when we could press and stay higher up the field. And we were just braver with the ball in the second half. We just had a few guys start to understand that we had to pass our way out of this game and I think you saw that in the second half, and then the subs come in and do a very good job.”