Cincinnati Bengals win first-round playoff game in four years

Brenner scores 3 to beat D.C United, putting Cincinnati in MLS playoffs for first time since 2013

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Greg Brenner scored twice Monday night to rally his Cincinnati Bengals to a 3-1 victory over D.C. United and put the team in position to make its first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Bengals (5-8-1) are in first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time in four years, and second-year coach Zac Taylor is celebrating the milestone for the first time in his 18-year career.

Brenner’s two goals capped the fourth-longest scoring streak for the team this season. He scored a goal and assisted two others in the ninth minute and finished another in the 71st minute.

The Bengals were on the brink of a playoff position after a five-game win streak and a 5-3 win over San Jose on Saturday. A win or a draw against D.C. would have sent the Cincinnati club into the playoff hunt and put a number of young players into the national spotlight.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing in Cincinnati on Monday. Neither team was able to score a ton of goals. The Bengals went 1-for-7 on power plays while D.C. was 0-for-3. Both teams were without starting goalie Mitch Hildebrandt, who is out with an oblique injury but has played through it.

Cincinnati improved to 4-0-1 when it wins in overtime when it has the lead.

Cincinnati won the first four of nine meetings this season with the D.C. United franchise. D.C. has the best record in MLS at 6-2-3.

The game got off to a strong start in the 10th minute when Taylor got the ball in the back of Cincinnati’s net. Hildebrandt appeared to be in a good position when he got the ball to make a sliding save on a sliding ball from Jeff Caldwell, but his hand slid up

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