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D.C. United playmaker Luciano Acosta has thrived in a new formation while veteran midfielder Lamar Neagle (center) has developed into a lethal presence off the bench. (Associated Press)

Dark-horse D.C. United riding into playoffs hot at just the right time

As fourth-seeded D.C. United faces the fifth-seeded Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference knockout round Thursday at RFK Stadium, there's reason to believe Ben Olsen's team fits the description of a dark horse threat.

D.C. United playmaker Marcelo Sarvas is available to shield the four-man back line in the team's 4-1-4-1 formation. (Associated Press)

United rallies for draw with Red Bulls

Associated Press

Marcelo Sarvas and Patrick Mullins scored three minutes apart in the second half and D.C. United rallied for a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Sunday in a game delayed 75 minutes because of lightning.

Former New York City FC striker and Maryland star Patrick Mullins is in line for more consistent playing time with the D.C. United since joining the team last week. (Associated Press)

Ben Olsen believes additions will inject energy into D.C. United

Since United (5-8-7) is sitting four points out of a playoff spot and owns the league's second-worst attack, the pressure is on for the club's newcomers to produce promptly. United hopes that acquiring players from within the league breeds familiarity.

Despite limited play, rookie Julian Buescher (33) provides a valuable option for a D.C. United attack hampered by injuries. (Associated Press)

Rookie Julian Buescher hopes for lasting impression with United

After playing sporadically in his first six matches, Buescher has worked his way back into the United's rotation and will be a valuable option for an offense that has been plagued by injuries and national team obligations.