April 19, 2021

D.C. United Game 19 Recap: United within a point of first place


D.C. United won its third straight match and moved within one point of Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City with a 3-1 win Sunday night over Chivas USA before 13,732 at RFK Stadium. United improved to 10-5-4 on the season (34 points), while Chivas USA failed to help its playoff chances and sit 6-8-5 (23 points), four points out of a playoff spot in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.

United were both boosted and burned by the penalty spot, as Eddie Johnson scored from 12 yards in the 25th minute for the opening goal of the match, and the lone Chivas USA strike also came from the spot, converted by Erick Torres in the 84th minute, but by that time the match was well in hand.

Johnson’s goal was his third of the season, and while some may still quibble about him only scoring once from the run of play this season, his penalty kicks in each of the last two matches have started United along the way toward building multiple-goal leads from which opponents have not recovered. Johnson, who also hit the crossbar on a shot, earned his second assist of the season on Sunday, heading a ball from a free kick back away from goal, where Perry Kitchen bounced on it and gave United a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute.

Kitchen was everywhere for United, scoring a goal, getting a caution, and committing four fouls in his customary 90 minutes of defensive midfield work. Kitchen’s goal was his third of the season, tying him with Johnson (and Chris Rolfe) for third on the team, something no one saw coming when the campaign started. Kitchen’s three goals, seven shots on goal, 13 shots, and seven yellow cards are all career highs for the fourth-year man out of Akron.

United put the match well out of reach in the 70th minute when Luis Silva neatly slotted home a shot to the far post past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy for his fifth goal of the season. Chris Korb’s through ball was perfect and Silva, who could have centered for Nick DeLeon, took it himself, beating Kennedy with a low right-footed shot to make it 3-0.

D.C. rookie central defender Steve Birnbaum conceded the late penalty that Torres converted, but the three points were well in hand by then.

United are back in action Wednesday, July 30, vs. Toronto FC at RFK (7 p.m.).

The Good: Despite not having Espindola, D.C. has scored seven goals in its last three games (2.33 per).

The Bad: Not much to argue with here but you never want to give away a late penalty that leads to a goal. It didn’t hurt United here, but could down the road in a game where the situation is different.

The Ugly: The 8 p.m. start time on a Sunday was unusual and not necessarily fan-friendly. The match was a national Game of the Week broadcast for Spanish-language network Univision, though it was aired locally in English, as well, on Comcast SportsNet.


  • United is 3-1 since losing leading goal-scorer and assist man Fabian Espindola to injury. Espindola was not selected to the MLS All-Star team.
  • Bill Hamid earned the win in his 100th appearance for the club. He has 32 wins as a United goalkeeper, along with 24 shutouts. Hamid reached 100 matches with United at age 23.
  • Due to his yellow card, Kitchen will now be suspended for a game after his next caution. He’s the lone United player currently in that circumstance, according to MLS.
  • Through 19 matches, United have already more than doubled last season’s point total (16). There are 15 matches remaining (45 possible points) this season.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. He covered United for The Journal Newspapers from 1997-2002. 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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