April 19, 2021

D.C. United CONCACAF Champions League Game 2 Recap: Espindola scores twice in key away win


Fabian Espindola last made news in Major League Soccer for being on the receiving end of a dubious (yet upheld by the league) red card in a 1-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls last week. But while Espindola will miss an MLS match due to New York midfielder Dax McCarty running into the side of Espindola’s boot, United’s leading scorer was available and spectacular in United’s 2-1 win at Waterhouse FC Tuesday night in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The win by United at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica, lifted the club to 2-0 in the group stage, both wins over Waterhouse. United beat the Jamaican side, 1-0, at RFK Stadium on August 20. With six points, United is tied with Waterhouse FC for the lead in the three-team group, as Waterhouse has already beaten Tauro FC (Panama City) twice. United need only a point from two upcoming matches with Tauro (Sept. 24 at home; Oct. 21 away) to clinch Group 4.

Espindola, who will miss Saturday’s league match at Chicago as the result of his red card vs. New York, made the most of his opportunity to appear in the Champions League, opening the scoring with a brilliant individual effort in the 38th minute. Espindola stole a back pass near midfield and alone in the attack, dribbled between two Waterhouse defenders, pushed the ball past a third, then chipped goalkeeper Richard McCallum to the far post from about 16 yards to make it 1-0. You can see the full match highlights here, replete with musical accompaniment. Espindola, who captained United for the night, scored again in the 50th minute, heading home a quality cross from newly acquired defender/midfielder Samuel Inkoom.

United had to sweat things down the stretch after defender Taylor Kemp was sent off for his second yellow card in the 70th minute. Hughan Edwards Gray scored on the ensuring free kick to bring Waterhouse FC within one, but the equalizer never came. Waterhouse FC did log 24 shots, but 12 were off target and another five were blocked. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made six saves, several of which came after the red card.

United have little time to celebrate both the win and being on the brink of advancing to the next round, with the Chicago away match coming Saturday. The Fire are 5-7-15 (30 points) and will be in spoiler mode with their chances of making the postseason looking very unlikely.

NOTES: United are two points clear of Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Eastern Conference. SKC does not play another league match until it hosts New England on Sept. 26. … In other Champions League action last night involving MLS clubs, Portland defeated Deportivo Olimpia (Honduras), 4-2.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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