Wayne Rooney says D.C. United 'thriving' on pressure of playoff chase
Wayne Rooney said D.C. United is "thriving" on the pressure of trying to reach Major League Soccer's postseason.
D.C. was languishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table with 11 points and just two wins in its first 14 games before Rooney made his debut with the club on July 14 following his move from Everton in the Premier League.
Since then, United have collected 33 points and won 10 times, including a 1-0 victory against FC Dallas on Saturday that moved Ben Olsen's team into the MLS playoff places.
And Rooney hailed his team's effort after the match and their ability to win under pressure: "I think that's where you want to be in soccer -- to have these pressure moments. No one wants to be in the middle or the bottom of the league and just playing for the fun of it.
"You want pressure moments and to feel that pressure, it's important what we're doing. We've got that pressure and we're thriving on it and we're picking up results and wins.
"The players have been brilliant and they've really shown that they can handle the pressure, which if we make the playoffs we'll need."
D.C. is now one point ahead of seventh-place Montreal Impact in the final playoff place and trails the fifth-place Columbus Crew by four points with three games left to play.
And Rooney said the team are now focused on the remaining matches, starting with Wednesday's game-in-hand against defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC.
He said: "We have a big game Wednesday and it's important we recover well, get ready and prepare for the game. If we can pick three points up, the pressure obviously turns to Montreal, they'll need six points.
"We'll have the game against New York City on Sunday. As I've said before, every game is a pressure game and if we can win Wednesday we know we're three points away -- regardless of what Montreal do -- from making that last spot.
"And you never know, we could even catch Columbus, so we keep pushing and see where we finish."