D.C. United’s unbeaten run in Major League Soccer is now at seven games thanks to a 1-1 tie against Sporting Kansas City in front of 16,221 at RFK Stadium.
United went ahead late in the first half as Chris Pontius chested down Perry Kitchen’s cross into the path of the onrushing Jairo Arrieta in the penalty area. Arrieta made no mistake from 10 yards out, and put the home side into the lead in the 43rd minute of the game.
However, the hosts could not hold their lead for very long, as Sporting came roaring back to equalize just a minute later. Roger Espinoza showed a burst of pace to take him to the byline and sent in a cross that Dom Dwyer turned and finished brilliantly to bring Kansas City level.
The best chances in the opening period fell to the visitors, who came into the game in the middle of the Western Conference. Dwyer had an early opportunity from a cross by Jalil Anibaba, but his low shot went just wide. Then, Seth Sinovic sent in a dangerous cross that Jacob Peterson managed to slide to meet, but his shot cannoned off the crossbar with Bill Hamid beaten.
Hamid did look strong in the first half as he denied both Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber with smart saves, especially from the latter, who shot from close-range but saw United’s goalkeeper come up with a big stop.
In the second period, United would look far more competent in attack and almost took the lead again early on after Chris Rolfe’s cross caused minor havoc in the Sporting penalty area. Nick DeLeon could not get on the end of Rolfe’s delivery, but after Pontius headed a rebound back into danger, neither Arrieta nor Davy Arnaud could rifle the ball into the net.
Rolfe and DeLeon both had chances as the second half wore on, but were guilty of not managing to get them on target. Meanwhile, Kansas City very nearly stole a second goal late in the game as Matt Besler’s throw took a wicked deflection and looked destined to go in. However, Hamid reacted well to prevent a potential own goal and preserve the point for the home side.
The point in this game does little to aid either side, as United stay in touch at the top of the Eastern Conference while Kansas City remain in the sixth and final playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference.
However, in spite of being a game of relatively few clear chances, it was entertaining and both sides will be happy with their evening’s work having managed to come away with a share of the spoils.
DCU — Jairo Arrieta (Chris Pontius, Perry Kitchen) 42’
SKC — Dom Dwyer (Roger Espinoza) 45’
SKC — Roger Espinoza (caution, foul) 9’
DCU — Davy Arnaud (caution, foul) 41’
SKC — Luis Marin (caution, no impact on timing) 81’
D.C. United XI: Hamid; Franklin, Boswell, Opare, Korb; DeLeon (Aguilar 88’), Arnaud, Kitchen, Rolfe (Farfan 74’); Arrieta (Silva 66’), Pontius.
Subs not used: Dykstra, Kemp, Birnbaum, Doyle.
Sporting Kansas City XI: Melia; Anibaba, Palmer-Brown, Besler, Sinovic; Feilhaber, Mustivar, Espinoza; Peterson (Hallisey 85’), Zusi (Dia 90’), Dwyer (Nemeth 71’).
Subs not used: Marin, Ellis, Carrasco, Medranda.