Former England captain Wayne Rooney scored two goals and an assist as D.C. United gave their playoff push a boost with a 5-0 rout of the Montreal Impact on Saturday night.
Luciano Acosta finished with a goal and three assists and Paul Arriola added two goals for United who moved a step closer to the sixth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
United are now in firm control of their destiny after coming into the game five points behind Montreal with two games in hand.
“I think the last few weeks we’ve been building momentum at the right time,” Rooney said. “We’ve put ourselves in a great position and we knew we didn’t want to let all the hard work slip tonight.”
The Impact now have to win their final three games to hold on to their postseason berth.
Rooney got his first goal in the 48th minute on a nifty move while going one-on-one with an Impact defender to make it 2-0 in front of a crowd of 20,500 at Audi Field in Washington.
Arriola scored again to make it 3-0 at the 61-minute mark on a dynamic passing play.
Rooney made a no-look pass to Acosta who slid the ball over to Arriola, who got a foot on it before crashing into the back of the Montreal goal.
The United players mobbed Arriola and celebrated inside the goal while the Impact netminder Evan Bush dejectedly looked the other way.
Rooney capped the scoring in the 81st minute with an empty-netter from 40 yards out.
“It’s obviously great to score five goals,” he said. “It’s very important because it gives us more confidence and especially it’s great tonight to have so many attacking players score goals.
“It gives you confidence and when you do that on a regular basis, you finish teams off.”