Cincinnati Reds win 1-0 in MLS playoffs

Brenner scores 3 to beat D.C United, putting Cincinnati in MLS playoffs for first time in 20 years

There are few things more satisfying in life than scoring three goals in a 7-0 victory, but that may soon be a thing of the past for Cincinnati.

Kenny Cooper’s three goals, one in each half, put the U.S. national team’s USL affiliate in the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1998, when it made the MLS playoffs in its second year in the league.

The Reds, who play their first playoff game since their only MLS cup appearance in 2008, are playing for the first time in 20 years and the first time ever in the MLS playoffs.

It all started with the one-two punch of Cooper and midfielder Tony Ralston that put Cincinnati on the board in the 27th minute.

Ralston scored the third goal of his MLS playoff career one minute after Cooper pulled his shot around the keeper to put Cincinnati up 1-0.

The goal was reminiscent of Ralston’s famous strike against the Seattle Sounders in the 2001 MLS Cup Final, which featured the two of them and is one of Cooper’s signature goals.

Following that goal, Cooper completed his hat trick by scoring the last goal, and the Reds had won 2-1.

“That is probably the most exciting thing about this game and the most important,” said Cooper, who also added a penalty to his scoring total.

Cincinnati could have been facing a much more difficult first leg in the West Conference final, but still prevailed 1-0 in the first leg of a double headers at Toyota Park on Sunday.

The win puts Cincinnati in a tie, with the first leg set to take place on Wednesday night, for the first time in the club’s history. It also means United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati’s handpicked team will take on the third-place Timbers in the Western Conference final in an MLS playoff game for the first time since the Portland Timbers won the 2005 MLS Cup on its way to the MLS Cup.

The Reds have won four of their last five including a victory in each of the last three

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