D.C. United 3-2 Columbus Crew: D.C. clinches playoff spot

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Pontius relishing second shot at U.S. Open Cup title
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Pontius relishing second shot at U.S. Open Cup title

D.C. United will participate in the postseason for the first time since 2007 thanks to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew in a sold out RFK Stadium on Saturday night. The Crew were eliminated from postseason contention.

The Crew opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Dejan Jakovic blocked a Jairo Arrieta header, but Eddie Gaven swooped into the box to clean up the scraps. The goal was Gaven's ninth this year, a season high in his decade-long career.

The teams traded back-to-back goals to end the first half. First, Lionard Pajoy feigned past two defenders in the box and put a hard low shot on frame. Andy Gruenebaum could only palm the ball into the path of Nick DeLeon's late run. DeLeon's sixth goal of the year set a club record for most scored by a rookie.

Straight away, on a swift counterattack, Arrieta put Columbus ahead again. He curled a shot from the top of the box which rebounded off the post, off goalkeeper Bill Hamid's back and into the net.

Midway through the second half, D.C. equalized again. Brandon McDonald slid to keep a free kick alive. Marcelo Saragosa one-timed a left-footed shot which deflected past Gruenebaum.

With the frantic game headed toward a conclusion, Lewis Neal scored in stoppage time. Branko Boskovic deftly lifted a long ball over the head of a Crew defender to put Neal in on goal. The English midfielder slotted home to slot D.C. into the playoffs.

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