March 8, 2021

D.C. United GAME 3 RECAP: United survive onslaught, steal point at Red Bulls

D.C. United withstood a barrage of New York Red Bulls’ shots from near and far for 90+ minutes, but somehow through the saves of goalkeeper Bill Hamid and some good luck, kept the scoresheet clean to earn a 0-0 draw at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

The draw improved United’s point total to 4 (1-1-1), while the Red Bulls now sit on just 2 from three matches (0-1-2).

According to Major League Soccer’s stats online, New York posted 24 shots to United’s four, but just seven of those 24 were on target. Five of those were by Thierry Henry, and Hamid got them all. He also made a huge stop in the final minutes when Tim Cahill came flying in on a late run and sent the ball toward goal. Luckily for Hamid and United, Cahill’s shot bounced off the ground, catching Hamid at about the hip as he jumped to make the save. Had Cahill been able to keep it on the ground, it probably would have been a goal.

Hamid came up huge one more time in stoppage time, when James Riley – he of the own goal in the season opener at Houston – flicked a New York shot toward goal. Hamid dove to his right and got his right hand on the ball, though it wasn’t clear from replays whether or not the ball had completely crossed the goal line. New York appealed for the goal to be given, but it wasn’t, and United managed to see out the final minutes to preserve a vital point.

The match marked the return of United midfielder and former MLS Most Valuable Player Dwayne De Rosario from a 2-game suspension. But with the Red Bulls pressuring much of the match, and controlling 58 percent of the possession, De Rosario had a hard time getting involved in the match and his teammates didn’t have the time necessary to find him. De Rosario was replaced after 76 minutes. Lionard Pajoy started alone up front, wasn’t a factor, and was replaced by Carlos Ruiz in the 72nd minute.

United survived a first half that saw it allow 11 shots to New York, but only a few were seriously threatening. Hamid was credited with three  saves. In the 8th minute, he dove to his right to stop Henry’s drive from 25 yards out, conceding a corner kick that led to no danger. Eleven minutes later, Hamid easily collected another Henry shot. Henry later left the match in second-half stoppage time after suffering what appeared to be a knee injury, though he did walk off the field on his own.

Fabian Espindola’s header from 12 yards out on 24 minutes got past Hamid, but banged off the top of the crossbar to keep the game scoreless. Hamid made one last save on a rather hopeful Henry shot from inside the penalty box two minutes from halftime. Espindola later hit the crossbar again on a second-half shot.

De Rosario was credited with United’s lone shot on target in the first half. Nick DeLeon had a chance from about 20 yards out, but missed well high. The Red Bulls had nearly 57 percent of the possession in the first half and the shot totals reflected that. United seemed unable to close the gap between the back four on defense and the midfield, allowing the Red Bulls plenty of room to operate in United’s attacking third.

Fortunately for United, however, the Red Bulls seemed unable to figure out what to do with that space. Often, there were players on the ball in the penalty area, wide open, but no one other than Henry was able to step up and decisively threaten goal – and Hamid got the better of Henry’s attempts. At the end, Hamid bested Cahill as well, and United left town with an excellent road point.

United return home next Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. Eastern kickoff against the Columbus Crew.

NOTES: A light snow began to fall midway through the first half. Last year’s playoff match at Red Bull Arena was postponed by a day due to significant snow. … The shutout was United’s second consecutive clean sheet, after the 1-0 win at home vs. Real Salt Lake last week. United have been outscored, 2-1, in three matches this season. … In 180 minutes of play away from home in 2013, United have but two shots on goal (both today). … United escaped the match free of any discipline. Referee Mark Geiger issued three yellow cards, all to New York. … NBC reported that approximately 300 United fans representing the club’s four supporters’ groups (Barra Brava, District Ultras, La Norte, and Screaming Eagles) attended the match.

Ed Morgans is a Contributor to District Sports Page, covering D.C. United. You can follow him on Twitter at @edmorgans.

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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