WASHINGTON (AP) — Brenner scored three goals and surging Cincinnati wrapped up its first MLS playoff spot, defeating D.C. United 5-2 on Sunday.
Cincinnati, 6-2-12 in its last 20 matches, will be the fifth seed in the playoffs and face No. 4 New York Red Bulls in the opening round.
Luciano Acosta opened the scoring in the sixth minute then Brenner scored all three of his goals before halftime. Cincinnati led 4-1 at the break. Brandon Vázquez scored in the second half and tied for fourth in MLS with 18 goals, matching Jesús Ferreira of Dallas for most among Americans.
Brenner had three hat tricks among his 18 goals this season. Acosta had one assist, increasing his league-leading total to 19.
Ravel Morrison and Kristian Fletcher scored for D.C., which avoided tying the MLS record of 17 goalless games in a season. D.C. allowed a team-record 71 goals and finished with its third-fewest points after 2010 and 2013.
The victory marked the first time Cincinnati (12-9-13) defeated D.C. (7-21-6) in MLS play. D.C. leads the series 4-1-3.
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