April 18, 2021

D.C. United Game 21 Recap: Early goal not enough as Revs rally for 2-1 win

After a week that promised the biggest off-field change in D.C. United history with Thursday’s announcement of a new stadium plan, Saturday night showed that on the field, not a whole lot was different.

United midfielder/forward Luis Silva scored another nice goal from distance in the first half, giving D.C. the lead only 8 minutes in. But New England began to mount more pressure as the first half closed, and in the second half the dam broke. Dimitry Imbongo Boele and Diego Fagundez scored 9 minutes apart and New England held on to defeat United, 2-1, before 14,122 at RFK Stadium.

The loss dropped United to 2-15-4 on the season (10 points), while New England (8-7-6, 30 points) moved itself into playoff position, tying the Houston Dynamo on 30 points for the fifth and final playoff spot in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. United are 20 points out of a playoff spot with 13 matches remaining, and with Toronto FC’s win over Columbus yesterday, United are seven points behind TFC and Chivas USA, the two other worst teams in MLS. Chivas USA plays at Seattle tonight (11 p.m. Eastern, Direct Kick).

Silva’s goal was United’s 10th of the season – D.C. were the final team in MLS to reach double figures in goals scored in 2013.

The lousy goal-scoring stats and another loss shouldn’t completely overshadow Silva’s work, however. His willingness to have a go at goal from just about anywhere on the field is a lesson in confidence and daring that his United teammates would be wise to follow.

Last night, Silva’s goal started from a turnover, as Stephen McCarthy’s long pass up field was intercepted by United midfielder Nick DeLeon near midfield. DeLeon deflected the ball to teammate John Thorrington, who found Silva ahead of him. Silva had positioned himself nicely between the two Revolution center backs and received the pass, then turned toward goal. Neither defender closed down Silva, and from 25 yards he beat Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to his right side with a on-hopper to make it 1-0.

Silva also scored from outside the penalty area in United’s 4-1 loss last week at Chicago. He was acquired for allocation money from Toronto FC on July 9. His two goals for United are his first two goals of the season, and tie him with Lionard Pajoy and Dwayne De Rosario for the team lead in league play.

United looked the better team for a good portion of the second half and were perhaps unlucky not to extend their lead. United maintained the lead through to halftime, even as the Revs began to push play in the final minutes. United goalkeeper Joe Willis made a couple nice saves to keep United ahead.

The second half began as the first had ended, with the Revs in control. In the 54th minute, New England found its equalizer through Imbongo. Chris Tierney played a cross into the penalty area from Joe Willis’ right. While it was a good cross, it really shouldn’t have created trouble, given that there were six United players in the penalty area to only three for the Revs. But Tierney’s cross went through one duo of a Rev attacker and United defender, and found Imbongo in the top of the 6-yard box, having beaten United left back Taylor Kemp for position. Imbongo tapped it in to make it 1-1.

In the 62nd, United had a golden chance to take the lead back through newly-acquired Conor Doyle. Doyle, a 6’2″ forward from McKinney, Texas, on loan from Derby County (England), was unmarked in the penalty area to receive Kemp’s long free kick. Doyle had a free header but missed the goal well to Shuttleworth’s right.

One minute later, D.C. were made to play when Saer Sene’s shot from about 15 yards out to Willis’ left beat the goalkeeper, but hit the crossbar and far post. Fagundez was fastest to react and headed home the rebound to give New England a 2-1 lead.

Despite having five players in the penalty area to three for the Revs, Kemp, the closest defender, failed to close down Sene and he didn’t receive any help. Once the shot beat Willis and bounced off the frame, the United players stopped. Fagundez ran between Dejan Jakovic and James Riley and had an easy header to decide the contest.

United had two notable chances to equalize late, but substitute Pajoy’s shot was saved easily by Shuttleworth, and substitute midfielder Sainey Nyassi missed wide. D.C.’s last chance was a corner kick with seconds left in stoppage time, causing Willis to join the attack. New England cleared it and thought they’d scored into the empty net, but referee David Gantar blew the final whistle before the goal.

The goal would have been the 36th conceded by United this season, which would have been worst in the league. Going into tonight’s match at Seattle, Chiva USA has also allowed 35.

In the 85th minute, Revolution defender Kevin Alston, a D.C.-area native who made his first club appearance since being diagnosed with Leukemia.

“It felt unbelievable. I was excited to be on the pitch, but at the same time I was telling myself to not mess up. But it felt great,” Alston told the New England Revolution website after the game. “It was … it was unbelievable. My parents were there, my brother was there, my grandfather was there, all my family and friends, so it made it special to be able to do it in front of them.”

United return to league action at home next Saturday against the Montreal Impact (10-5-5, 35 points, 3rd East). Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Silva 8′
Imbongo 54′
Fagundez 63′

Shots: DC 14-8 NE
Shots on Goal: DC 3-5 NE
Corners: DC 5-0 NE
Fouls: DC 14-14 NE
Offside: DC 0-0 NE
Possession: DC 53.6%-46.4% NE

DCU (2-15-4): Willis; Kemp, Jakovic, Woolard, Riley; DeLeon, Thorrington (Assist 8′), Porter (Nyassi 60′), Jeffrey (Caution 35′; Pajoy 80′); Silva (Goal 8′), Doyle (De Rosario 67′).

NE (8-7-6): Shuttleworth; Goncalves, McCarthy, Farrell, Tierney (Assist 54′); Simms (Caldwell 46′), Rowe, Nguyen, Sene, Fagundez (Goal 63′; Barrett 71′); Imbongo (Goal 54′; Alston 85′).

Ed Morgans is the 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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