DC visited Charlotte Saturday evening (September 16) and came away with a scoreless draw, 0-0. There were a number of good scoring chances, but the finishing was less than clinical. Benteke had the two best chances, putting one header off the crossbar and another shot off Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina's face. Mateusz Klich had three good open shots for DC but missed the target on all three.
Charlotte had some good chances too but also could not finish. DC was lucky to avoid a penalty in the first half when Pines blocked a shot in front of goal and the ball caromed from his left leg to his right hand, but the referee fortunately called no penalty after a personal VAR review. Alex Bono continues to impress in goal.
Scoreless draws seemed to be in the cards Saturday; Montreal and Chicago (the teams directly above and below DC in the Eastern Conference standings) also ended up 0-0, as did NYCFD and the New York Red Bulls (4 and 5 points below DC in the standings respectively). Atlanta finally ended Miami's Messi era unbeaten streak 5-2, so DC gained a point on the Pink Leos. So the playoff positioning pretty much remained unchanged, with DC in 9th place and holding the final playoff spot . Charlotte of course stayed 3 points behind DC as well.
The run-in to the playoffs has a mixed outlook for DC. On the positive side, except for the game this Wednesday at home vs Atlanta, the remaining games are all against teams at the bottom of the conference tables (NYCFC and NYRB in the East, Vancouver and Austin in the West). On the negative side, DC will not play the last Sunday and teams behind them (if it works out that way) will know what they need to do to pass us in the standings (defeating the whole purpose of a final game day, but there are an odd number of teams and we drew the short straw). Also, most of the nearby clubs in the standings have games in hand on us (1 for Montreal, Chicago and the Red Bulls; 2 for Charlotte and Miami). The defense has been great (3 straight shutouts) but the offense has not (2 straight shutouts). We need some goals and some wins; treading water further will probably not be enough to end our playoff drought. At least the last few games mean something.