D.C. United claims 1st place in MLS Eastern Conference

Luis Silva, left, is greeted by Davy Arnaud after scoring his third goal. (By Eric Bolte -- USA Today Sports)
Luis Silva, left, is greeted by Davy Arnaud after scoring his third goal. (By Eric Bolte — USA Today Sports)

Luis Silva recorded a hat trick in the first half as D.C. United defeated the Montreal Impact, 4-2, on Wednesday night to claim first place in MLS’s Eastern Conference.

Making his fifth start, Silva posted his first goals of the season by scoring in the sixth and 39th minutes and then in stoppage time to cap a six-goal, 45-minute spree by the clubs before 14,135 at Saputo Stadium in Montreal.

United leading scorer Fabian Espindola, making a case for MLS MVP consideration, recovered from last weekend’s missed penalty kick against Columbus to contribute three assists and Nick DeLeon had his first goal of the year.

United (7-4-4) overtook New England atop the standings heading into the league’s two-week regular season break for the World Cup group stage. (Teams will play U.S. Open Cup matches during the stretch.) The Impact (2-7-4) is last in the conference.

Goalkeeper Bill Hamid, defender Jeff Parke and forward Eddie Johnson did not play because of injuries.

United will visit the third-division Rochester Rhinos on Tuesday in the Open Cup’s round of 32. With a victory, D.C. would host the New England Revolution or Richmond Kickers at Maryland SoccerPlex late this month.

In the NWSL, the Washington Spirit’s five-game unbeaten streak ended with a 2-0 loss at last-place Boston. The Spirit (6-5-1) will visit Portland on Sunday.

DCU-Montreal video:

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff | June 11