Nicolas Lodeiro - Osvaldo Alonso - Seattle Sounders - 2016 MLS Cup final - Trophy
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MLS Cup run for DC United? Seattle Sounders' history shows it’s possible

The 2018 version of D.C. United shares striking similarity with the MLS Cup-winning 2016 Seattle Sounders

D.C. haven't clinched a playoff berth yet, and that is quite obviously the club's immediate focus, but history shows a run culminating in lifting MLS Cup isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Just two points behind the Montreal Impact for the Eastern Conference's final playoff place with two games in hand, D.C. are on the cusp of completing a memorable second-half sprint from bottom of the conference to above the playoff line.

Both D.C. and the 2016 Sounders started stunningly slowly and yet gained seemingly unstoppable momentum by Decision Day. Here's how each looked from the beginning of March up until nearly the end of July:

Dates Team Record PPG
Mar. 6 to July 24, 2016 Seattle Sounders 6-12-2, 20 pts 1.00
Mar. 3 to July 25, 2018 D.C. United 3-9-5, 14 pts 0.82

And here's how those clubs fared for the rest of the regular season: 

Dates Team Record PPG
July 31 to Oct. 23, 2016 Seattle Sounders 8-2-4, 28 pts 2.00
July 28 to present D.C. United 8-2-3, 27 pts 2.08

D.C., of course, still have those four games remaining to better their point total.

Another parallel between the sides is each had a huge midseason acquisition jump-start their upturn in form. Nicolas Lodeiro arrived in Seattle during 2016's Secondary Transfer Window, and Wayne Rooney joined D.C. at the same juncture this year. Both players have proven invaluable to their teams' rise: Lodeiro had 4 goals and 8 assists in 13 games; Rooney's at 9 goals and 7 assists in 16 games.

More importantly, Lodeiro kept up his productivity in the playoffs, scoring 4 goals in 6 games en route to his side's eventual triumph over Toronto FC. Lodeiro, crucially, scored his penalty kick in that game's decisive shootout. If D.C. complete their run with a playoff clincher in the coming weeks, Rooney will get his chance to show he's equally ready to rise to the moment.