Russell Canouse scored his first career MLS goal in the 86th minute, and D.C. United moved above the playoff line for the first time this season with a 1-0 victory over visiting FC Dallas on Saturday at Audi Field.
Canouse's late header moved D.C. (12-11-8, 44 points) a point above the idle Montreal Impact into sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings and stretched its unbeaten streak to seven matches.
United have three matches remaining, beginning with a Wednesday home match against Toronto FC, while the Impact have only two.
Canouse's strike spoiled what would've been a fourth shutout in five games for Western Conference-leading Dallas (16-7-9, 57 points), which saw its own unbeaten run snapped at five. Dallas leads second-place LAFC by only a point, and both teams will face third-place Sporting Kansas City (53 points) over their final two games.
Canouse's game-winner possessed in determination what it lacked in beauty. After Wayne Rooney drove in a free kick from the left, a misplayed clearing header attempt fell to Canouse, who smashed a volley against the crossbar.
In a scramble for the rebound, Canouse eventually reached it between two Dallas defenders and guided a header over charging goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez into the net.
The goal capped an end to a second half of frustration for D.C. and particularly Rooney.
In the 62nd minute, Rooney nearly curled a 30-yard free kick inside the left post, denied at the last moment by Gonzalez's excellent low diving save.
Then in the 75th minute, he appeared to have another clear opportunity inside the penalty area but saw his effort carom off Dallas defender Reto Ziegler and over the crossbar.
Dallas' best chance came off the counterattack that followed D.C.'s corner, but Bill Hamid (five saves) safely pushed Michael Barrios' effort over the crossbar.
D.C. shaded the first half of play, though both sides had their chances.
Only two minutes in, Rooney got free on goal after a blundered clearance but struck his shot wide of the left post. Then in the 15th minute, D.C. looked to have scored from a corner kick, but the goal was disallowed because of a foul by Frederic Brillant.
Barrios had an open look for FC Dallas two minutes after that but saw his shot denied by Hamid at the near post.