September 15, 2019

D.C. United Game 23 Recap: Silva double sparks triumph over Colorado

UNITED BREAKS LOSING STREAK WITH FOUR-GOAL OUTBURST AGAINST RAPIDS

D.C. United capped off a Major League Soccer weekend filled with goals by putting on a show of its own Sunday night at RFK Stadium, as United downed the Colorado Rapids, 4-2. Luis Silva scored twice to push his season total to seven, while Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola also tallied for United. D.C. improved to 12-7-4 (40 points) with the win, while the Rapids fells to 8-10-6 (30 points) and remain three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

United has no such concerns about climbing the playoff ladder now and now sit just two points behind Sporting Kansas City atop the East. D.C. shrugged off a two-game losing streak and a ridiculous 52nd-minute equalizer from Colorado’s Dillon Serna to score three of the game’s final four goals to right the ship. Espindola started and went the full 90 for the first time since a knee injury caused him to miss several games. Only the crossbar kept Espindola from scoring twice himself last night, though he still leads the team with eight goals and eight assists.

Silva scored the first two for United, first in the 12th minute, first cutting past a defender than lobbing the ball past charging Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Silva then gave United the lead back in the 67th minute on a close-in shot from Irwin’s left that beat him to the far post.

Rolfe’s fifth goal of the season made it 3-1 in the 81st minute and might have been D.C.’s prettiest of the night, mainly thanks to the work of left back Taylor Kemp. Kemp had his two assists of the season Sunday and this one came from a low cut-back to Rolfe after Kemp had neatly ran through defenders up the left side to find space in Colorado’s defensive third. Kemp was starting in place of Chris Korb.

Espindola added United’s fourth in the 86th minute, as unmarked on a counter-attack he lashed a left-footed shot from 16 yards low to Irwin’s left. David Estrada’s assist on the goal was his first in a United uniform after recently being acquired from Seattle.

United are at Sporting Kansas City for a massive match next Saturday (8:30 p.m. Eastern) but before that, CONCACAF Champions League group play begins, as D.C. hosts Waterhouse FC of Jamaica (8 p.m., Fox Sports 1) in the first of four group matches.

THE GOOD: The combination of Espindola, Rolfe, and Silva is really something to behold. Not to the levels of the “Magic Triangle,” (Marco Etcheverry/Raul Diaz Arce/Jaime Moreno) mind you, but it’s fun to watch and certainly productive.

THE BAD: Davy Arnaud was cautioned, and with his next one, will earn a one-game suspension.

THE UGLY: There wasn’t anything ugly about the game itself, and everyone loves four goals and three points, but for the faction of United fans fed up with the suspended Eddie Johnson, this performance with him not in the lineup is only going to further their argument and put more pressure on Johnson to excel when he is eligible to return August 27 at Los Angeles. There will also be the issue of where exactly he fits in head coach Ben Olsen’s lineup, given the performance of Silva, Espindola, and Rolfe.

NOTES:  United are now 18-13-8 all-time vs. the Rapids, including 12-3-5 at RFK. United also beat Colorado, 2-1, at RFK Stadium in the 1997 MLS Cup Final. … Sunday’s outburst marked the third time this year D.C. has scored four goals in a single game (4-1 vs. Dallas; 4-2 vs. Montreal were the others). … There were 29 goals in nine MLS matches over the weekend, with United, Sporting Kansas City, and Columbus all scoring four goals. FC Dallas went one better, demolishing San Jose Saturday, 5-0. … United is 4-3-0 vs. the Western Conference this season with two matches left. Beyond the match vs. the L.A. Galaxy, United is at Vancouver on September 6. … United is 13 points clear of the sixth-place Philadelphia Union for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. D.C. is eight points ahead of Toronto FC, who would be United’s first-round opponent if the season ended today.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. He covered United for The Journal Newspapers from 2007-2012 and has been attending matches since 1996. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21, or follow @UnitedDSP.

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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