For a relatively subdued start to the first postseason match in Audi Field's history, the ending was nothing short of incredible.
D.C. United and the Columbus Crew went to penalties in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. While the Crew escaped a sellout, raucous crowd in Southeast D.C. 2-2 (3-2), it was not without some crazy whiffs, bounces and poor shots.
First up was Columbus' Federico Higuain, who had scored the only two goals for the Crew in the match. Standing in front of the supporters' end of the field he burried it.
United's new poster boy Wayne Rooney was next. Coming into this setting he was 3-for-3 in penalty kicks since joining the club.
Taking his patented stutter-step run-up, Rooney chose Zack Steffen's right and got blocked.
The Crew's Wil Trapp and United's Yamil Asad both converted on their opportunities.
Then, Bill Hamid kept the Crew off the board for the first time, giving Zoltan Stieber a chance to level it.
He did with a rocket that Steffen had no chance with.
Eventually it gets to 3-2 Columbus, with the Crew's Patrick Mullins up to possibly end the match.
Right into the post. D.C. is alive.
Up with all the pressure was Nick DeLeon, the 28-year-old who's goal in the 116 minute got this game into penalty kicks. It was his first goal of the season in 15 appearances.
A devasting miss ends the match, and as such, United's 2018 season.
DeLeon's goal to level the match and just get to penalty kicks was theatric. All match there was one thing eluding D.C.: shots on net. Finishing the match with only four, two of them being goals, D.C. rarely gave themselves chances to score.
Fans shouted countless times "shoot, shoot!" when Rooney or Luciano Acosta found the ball at their feet. Every second dribble in the attacking third was met with consternation.
The extra time goal probably earned DeLeon a spot taking a PK. He had not scored a goal in MLS play since Aug. 2016.
But with the fate of the match coming down to his boot, he got too much underneath it and ballooned the ball 10 feet over the net.
The game was done. DeLeon's hands were placed on top of his head in shock, and the Crew moved on.