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D.C. United opens a pivotal home stretch with a 4-2 win over FC Cincinnati

D.C. United’s playoff prospects will hinge on results at Audi Field, with six of its final nine MLS regular season matches in a Buzzard Point hollow that first-year coach Hernán Losada has charmed with his bold and enterprising style.

Locked in the congested Eastern Conference race, United began the pivotal final stretch Saturday night by maintaining its home excellence and stepping back above the playoff line with a 4-2 victory over FC Cincinnati.

Three goals before halftime — two by Paul Arriola and one by Steven Birnbaum — all but put the outcome to rest as United (11-11-4) won at home for the seventh time in its past eight tries.