Brenner scores 3 to beat D.C United, putting Cincinnati in MLS playoffs for first time in 13 years
The last time Cincinnati played in the MLS playoffs was in 2004 when it lost in the Conference Finals to D.C.United. That franchise was still trying to find its way as the team was a year away from MLS Cup, and then lost to the eventual Champions, Toronto FC in the 2006 Conference Finals, a game that marked the first loss in the franchise’s playoff history. That’s how far the franchise had come.
For years, teams that had joined a league that wanted to be more than just a collection of teams with similar histories were able to compete for playoff spots, win some, and not the ones that matter most. But the past few years Cincinnati has been a team that has found that it needed to be more than that. The United States was so big last year that it was easy for teams like Columbus to grab the top spot without really competing. When Columbus is in second they are more like a mid table team that has the chance to win. The only thing that sets Cincinnati apart is that the team was able to get in the playoffs.
Cincinnati did that with a 3-1 victory over D.C. United on Saturday, and now gets a shot at making its first postseason appearance in 13 years. It’s the first time the team has made or entered MLS playoff contention since the inaugural 1996 season when the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Since then, Cincinnati has won and lost a total of 15 playoff games, five of which have been in the MLS Cup. In that period, they have four playoff appearances and failed to win two.
That is the past, though. Now Cincinnati has to find the success it needs. For that it’ll need to go out and compete for the remaining playoff spots. There’s a lot of teams in the league and they are all good, and it’s not as easy as looking at the standings and saying that the team that has lost the fewest games wins. If you look at winning