October 22, 2020

D.C. United Game 5 Recap: Sweet victory for United over rival New York

D.C. United earned a valuable three points over its biggest rival Saturday night before 12,364 at RFK Stadium, as United tripped up the New York Red Bulls, 1-0, on a 4th-minute goal by Davy Arnaud. The win lifted United to 2-2-1 on the season (seven points), and allowed D.C. to claim seven of a possible nine points from a three-game home-stand against Eastern Conference foes Chicago, New England, and New York.

Arnaud’s goal was a thing of beauty early in the game that looks like it came straight from the training ground. After United won a corner that was taken to the left of New York goalkeeper Luis Robles, Fabian Espindola sent the kick into the center of the penalty area. There, United defender Bobby Boswell flicked a header forward and to his left, where Arnaud ran on to it and headed it to the opposite corner past Robles to give D.C. a lead it would never relinquish.

Which isn’t to say United played great. New York carried much of the play in the second half and if the Red Bulls had any concept of aim for their shots, New York might well have strolled out of Washington with three points. MSG Network analyst Shep Messing called it “one of the ugliest 1-0 victories” he’d ever seen. But of 19 Red Bulls attempts on goal, only four required saves and reserve goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra was up to the task for every one. United had five shots on goal.

But this isn’t a time to quibble over what United might not have done well. A team that won three games all of last season is now at the .500 mark through five games, having earned at least a point in three of them. The seven points might not sound like much, but when you consider New York, Chicago, and Montreal are all still winless in the East, every point is key. Saturday’s win also puts United (for now) in fourth place in the East. The top five teams in each conference make the playoffs.

Espindola earned the second assist on the Arnaud goal, his second helper in as many weeks, and he was also involved in the buildup that led to a New England own goal in last week’s 2-0 win by United over the Revolution. United is still waiting for its first goal from forward Eddie Johnson, who had a couple chances Saturday, but put his best chance from short range well over the bar in the second half. That United is getting positive results without yet getting major contributions from Johnson is an encouraging sign because Johnson will start scoring at some point.

In the meantime, United now has a week to prepare for a big away match at Columbus, before coming back home on April 26 to face FC Dallas. But the team can be forgiven for taking tonight and maybe tomorrow to enjoy this win, given that they were so rare last season and given that this one came against a team United supporters would rather beat than anyone else.


DC – Arnaud 1 (Boswell 2, Espindola 2), 4th min.

NY – Alexander, yellow, 14th.
DC – Cristian, yellow, 16th.
NY – Miller, yellow, 30th.
DC – Kitchen, yellow, 71st.
DC – DeLeon, yellow, 90th.

Shots: DC 12-19 NY
Shots on Goal: DC 5-3 NY
Corners: DC 4-4 NY
Offside: DC 5-3 NY
Fouls: DC 14-11 NY
Possession: DC 42.9%-57.1% NY

UNITED (2-2-1, 7 points): Dykstra; Cristian, Franklin, Parke, Boswell; Kitchen, Rolfe (Caskey 73′), Arnaud (Jeffrey 67′), DeLeon; Johnson (Doyle 85′), Espindola.

NEW YORK (0-2-4, 4 points): Robles; Olave; Sekagya, Kimura, Miller (Lade 85′); Steele (Wright-Phillips 67′), Alexander (Izquierdo 90′), McCarty, Sam; Henry, Luyindula.

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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