D.C. United look to extend improbable playoff run

  • D.C. United midfielder Nick DeLeon celebrates at the end of the MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game as New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles watches on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. DeLeon scored the only goal of the game as D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)D.C. United midfielder Nick DeLeon celebrates at the end of the MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game as New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles watches on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. DeLeon scored the only goal of the game as D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)
  • New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill (right) pushes D.C. United midfielder Branko Boskovic during the first half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer match on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. (Associated Press)New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill (right) pushes D.C. United midfielder Branko Boskovic during the first half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer match on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. (Associated Press)
  • New York Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson controls the ball in front of D.C. United forward Lionard Pajoy (26) and Branko Brskovic (8) during the first half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. (Associated Press)New York Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson controls the ball in front of D.C. United forward Lionard Pajoy (26) and Branko Brskovic (8) during the first half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. (Associated Press)
  • D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (right) makes a save on a shot by New York Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty during the second half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (right) makes a save on a shot by New York Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty during the second half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)
  • New York Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper (left) battles for control of the ball with D.C. United defender Dejan Jakovic during the second half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)New York Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper (left) battles for control of the ball with D.C. United defender Dejan Jakovic during the second half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)
  • New York Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper (right) sails over D.C. United  goalkeeper Bill Hamid during the second half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)New York Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper (right) sails over D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid during the second half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. D.C. United defeated the Red Bulls, 1-0, to advance to the next round. (Associated Press)
  • D.C. United midfielder Nick DeLeon (top) leaps over New York Red Bulls defender Rafa Marquez during the first half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. (Associated Press)D.C. United midfielder Nick DeLeon (top) leaps over New York Red Bulls defender Rafa Marquez during the first half of an MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff soccer game on Nov. 8, 2012, in Harrison, N.J. (Associated Press)
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At 17-10-7, United boast a better mark than the remaining Western Conference sides, the Seattle Sounders and the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy.

But there still is plenty of work to be done before United can think of such things.

“The emotions are running high here — everyone’s very excited,” midfielder-forward Chris Pontius said amid the postgame joviality. “We’ll enjoy it tonight, and then everything has got to be focused on Houston.”

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