July 28, 2017

DC United Playoffs: Red Bulls take first leg on road

Dax McCarty scored in the 72nd minute and the New York Red Bulls beat D.C. United 1-0 on Sunday in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Sunday.

After a foul by United’s Taylor Kemp, Sacha Kljestan’s long free kick found McCarty — who had slipped behind the defense— 3 yards out and McCarty’s header eluded goalkeeper Bill Hamid. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 9 Recap: Sporting Kansas City earn draw away to United

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. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 6 Recap: Chris Rolfe scores spectacular free kick in Houston Dynamo tie

D.C. United played out a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo in front of 13,047 fans at RFK Stadium in their latest MLS match, with the hosts unable to capitalise on Chris Rolfe’s spectacular free kick in the first half to put them in the lead.

It was a night of some historical significance for United, who celebrated their 300th regular season MLS game at RFK Stadium, and with a win the Black-and-Red would have equalled their club record for the most points through six games in their history.

Rolfe’s free kick got the hosts off to the best possible start, as Jairo Arrieta showed some trickery on the edge of the penalty area and was brought down by a Dynamo defender. Rolfe stepped up and buried the resulting free kick into the top corner for his first goal of the season, with Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric able to get a fingertip on the ball, but it was not quite enough to prevent it.

However, the away side became more and more attacking as the game grew on and were rewarded for their endeavors with an equalizer midway through the second half. Substitute Will Bruin saw an effort saved brilliantly at point-blank range by Andrew Dykstra, deputising in United’s goal for Bill Hamid, but Ricardo Clark was on hand to bury the rebound and level the scores.

The draw was probably the right result in an even game on a humid evening in the nation’s capital, with both sides enjoying plenty of possession and chances but neither able to take advantage.

In the first half, the Dynamo had the better of the early chances as both Giles Barnes and Clark forced saves from Dykstra, with United unable to make any of their possession pay in the early stages. However, the hosts grew into the period as time went on, and had some good moments before the break.

Their best spells came courtesy of Chris Pontius and Michael Farfan, who both looked lively in attack and keen to run at the Houston defense. Pontius almost scored a spectacular diving header from a Taylor Kemp corner, while Farfan continued to look dangerous on the right and almost forged a chance for himself through sheer strength of will in the penalty area only to see it be cleared.

The visitors continued to have good moments, and almost took the lead on the stroke of halftime as Kofi Sarkodie’s low cross almost found Clark’s foot as he slid in but just evaded the midfielder. United were by far the happier of the two teams as they headed for the break, and in the second half Houston managed to have some more sustained spells of pressure.

In the second period, it was the home side who had the best early opportunity as Perry Kitchen, fresh off his second appearance for the United States Men’s National Team in their 2-0 win over Mexico, saw a first-time shot from outside the penalty area be tipped wide by Deric.

That seemed to sting the visitors back into life, and they came agonisingly close to an equalizer as Nathan Sturgis had a first-time shot of his own cannon back off the post with Dykstra beaten. Just five minutes later, Clark finally found the net and drew the sides level once more.

The hosts brought on both Nick DeLeon and Luis Silva as their recoveries from injuries gather pace, and DeLeon in particular looked impressive as he drifted relatively freely from his preferred right-wing position into the middle. He had a great opportunity for D.C. with just 14 minutes left on the clock with a flying volley from a Kemp cross, but it sailed over the bar as DeLeon was unable to control his shot.

United continued to push forward in the closing minutes in search of yet another late goal — a hallmark of their 2015 season thus far — and thought they had one as Bobby Boswell headed over from a corner on the stroke of 90 minutes. However, it was not to be as both sides were forced to settle for a point.

Goals
DCU — Chris Rolfe 36’
HOU — Ricardo Clark 65’

Disciplinary
HOU — Ricardo Clark (caution, foul, 9’)
DCU — Perry Kitchen (caution, foul, 50’)

Attendance: 13,047

D.C. United XI: Dykstra; Franklin, Boswell, Opare, Kemp; Farfan (Silva 71’), Kitchen, Arnaud, Rolfe (Aguilar 80’); Arrieta (DeLeon 58’), Pontius.
Subs not used: Worra, Korb, Jeffrey, Doyle.

Houston Dynamo XI: Deric; Sarkodie, Taylor, Rodriguez, Beasley; Lopez (Lovejoy 80’), Garrido (Bruin HT, Hoffman 90’+2’), Sturgis, Clark, Davis; Barnes.
Subs not used: Willis, Horst, Miranda, Alex.

D.C. United Game 5 Recap: New York Red Bulls take 2-2 tie after Hamid error

A poor error from goalkeeper Bill Hamid in the last minute of the game handed the New York Red Bulls a point at RFK Stadium as they came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with D.C. United.

Sacha Kljestan hit a free kick into the box that Hamid could not palm away to safety, as he instead deflected it into the path of Lloyd Sam, who was following up and made no mistake from close range. It was a disappointing end for United’s goalkeeper, who had been arguably his team’s biggest star so far this season.

The hosts were 2-0 up with just over 20 minutes to go thanks to a goal in each half from Perry Kitchen. His first was a header in the 26th minute from a corner by Taylor Kemp, while his second was a low shot from outside the area that was set up by Chris Rolfe, who pushed forward well on the left.

However, things began to unravel for United just a minute after Kitchen’s second, as Felipe’s corner was headed home by defender Damien Perrinelle, with Sam’s equalizer following just 22 minutes later as the clock wound down.

It was a disappointing end for the D.C. midfielder in particular, who looked in very good form both offensively and defensively, having started the season in slightly poor form. He began the game with some physical play along with the likes of Davy Arnaud and Sean Franklin, who all clearly came into the game keen to make a statement against United’s biggest rivals.

The first half was an even affair, as both sides were keen to come forward and attack from the outset. Bradley Wright-Phillips looked lively up front for the Red Bulls and almost forced Kofi Opare to deflect the ball into his own net, but the replacement for Steven Birnbaum was relieved to see it go just past the post with Hamid beaten.

At the other end, Rolfe had a good chance as he was let in behind by a defensive lapse, but Luis Robles managed to deflect his shot behind and keep the game scoreless. Jairo Arrieta also had an opportunity of his own at the end of the first half after Kitchen had given the home side the lead, but his first-time shot from a Franklin cross was skewed well wide.

At halftime, D.C. United would have been the happier of the two teams by far with a 1-0 lead, and in the second period the game continued to be end to end as the Red Bulls pushed for an equalizer and the hosts looked to find another goal.

After Kitchen’s second and Perrinelle pulled one back for New York, the away side tried to push forward but saw Rolfe and Arrieta both fail to take advantage of further chances that could have put the game away for D.C.

Luis Silva then almost repeated his heroics from last week in Orlando, as the substitute saw a direct free kick headed clear having been well on target. It was yet another encouraging cameo from Silva, whose rehabilitation from injury continues apace, as he almost set up Bobby Boswell for a goal with a good cross.

Wright-Phillips saw a long-range shot saved well by Hamid, and with less than 10 minutes to go, the Red Bulls poured forward as the home side bunkered down to try and preserve all three points and their winning streak.

However, Sam’s timely intervention in the final minutes made sure that New York would escape with a share of the spoils as they drew 2-2. It was a disappointing end for United’s defense, who conceded twice in just 22 minutes in the second half and saw the normally reliable Hamid show his fallibility for the first time this season.

In spite of the tough scoreline, United are now unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions at RFK Stadium, 10 of which come in league play. They also remain top of the Eastern Conference, while the Red Bulls are just behind them in second place with a game in hand, so D.C. will not be totally disheartened by their night’s work.

Goals
DCU — Perry Kitchen (Taylor Kemp) 26’
DCU — Perry Kitchen (Chris Rolfe) 67’
NYRB — Damien Perrinelle (Felipe) 68’
NYRB — Lloyd Sam 90’

Disciplinary
DCU — Taylor Kemp (caution, foul) 36’
NYRB — Mike Grella (caution, foul) 45’
NYRB — Damien Perrinelle (caution, foul) 58’

Attendance: 16,304

D.C. United XI: Hamid; Franklin, Opare, Boswell, Kemp; Farfan (Doyle 65’), Arnaud, Kitchen, Rolfe; Pontius (Jeffrey 89’), Arrieta (Silva 75’).
Subs not used: Dykstra, Korb, Aguilar.

New York Red Bulls XI: Robles; Duvall, Miazga, Perrinelle, Lawrence; McCarty (Richards 77’), Felipe, Sam, Kljestan, Grella (Zizzo 65’), Wright-Phillips
Subs not used: Reynish, Ouimette, Davis, Abang, Lade.

D.C. United Game 4 Recap: United snatch 1-0 win away to Orlando City SC

It was yet another late show from D.C. United, as a goal in second-half stoppage time secured them all three points away to Orlando City at the Citrus Bowl in Florida with a 1-0 win.

In the first half, United owed their clean sheet to goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who kept them in the game with several incredible saves to continue the form that saw him named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for 2014. However, in the second period it was the visitors who arguably had the best of the game, and missed a couple of glorious chances having been largely stale in attack in the opening 45 minutes.

Then, in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, the crucial goal came. Luis Silva had been brought on as a substitute for his first action of the 2015 season after injury, and had a free kick from about 20 yards out. The United forward curled one around the wall that Donovan Ricketts could not keep out of the Orlando goal, and secured the visitors all three points. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 3 Recap: Late goal seals United victory over Los Angeles Galaxy

In a battle between two teams with players absent for a variety of reasons, D.C. United triumphed 1-0 over the Los Angeles Galaxy at RFK Stadium in their latest MLS fixture thanks to a goal in second-half stoppage time from Chris Pontius.

The Black-and-Red faced an opponent they had not beaten since 2009, but the visitors had some depth issues with Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane and Jaime Penedo all away on international duty. Meanwhile, the hosts had injury and unavailability problems of their own, although with Miguel Aguilar’s work permit now secured he was eligible for selection again.

The home side’s goal when it came was a product of some good teamwork, with the ball finding the net with just over 30 seconds remaining before the final whistle. Nick DeLeon broke down the right and was fed by a deliciously weighted pass from Davy Arnaud that left the Galaxy defense flat-footed. After some trickery, DeLeon lofted a ball into the six-yard box that Pontius managed to get his head on and steer home to secure a vital victory. [Read more…]

D.C. United Playoff Game 1 Recap: Listless United Blanked by Red Bulls

HENRY ASSISTS BOTH GOALS AS UNITED FALL BEHIND 2-0 IN EASTERN SEMIFINAL

Lauded much of the season for improved play, a more effective attack, and better defending, D.C. United showed exactly none of that Sunday afternoon in its Major League Soccer Cup playoff opener at Red Bull Arena in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. Thierry Henry drew assists on a first-half goal by Bradley Wright-Phillips and a second-half dagger from Peguy Luyindula. United couldn’t score an away goal that would have had a massive impact on the series, and now must either win the home leg next Saturday at RFK Stadium by a 2-0 score to force extra time, or by three goals.

Without Chris Rolfe to start and the injured Luis Silva, United looked nothing at all like the team that won the Eastern Conference in the regular season and posted a club-record 59 points. Unable to connect on longer passes and crosses, United rarely possessed the ball with any level of consistency, and the defense was asked to do far too much work against a marauding Red Bulls side that didn’t even get full value for the high level of their performance. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 33 Recap: United clinches top seed in East by beating Fire

GOALS BY PONTIUS, JOHNSON CAP UNITED’S SURGE FROM WORST TO FIRST

Last season at this time, some wondered if D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen was about to be fired. This year, Olsen, his team, and 20,162 fans spent the minutes after United’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire Saturday night watching fireworks high above RFK Stadium. Now 17-9-7, United’s 58 points clinch the top seed in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference playoffs a year after United went 3-24-7 in its worst season ever.

Given the club’s roster reformation in the offseason, improvement isn’t a surprise. There was never any way United was going to be that bad again given the players who were brought in. They could win more than three games by accident. But D.C.’s success this season has been far from accidental, as fans who had to suffer a year ago watching Lionard Pajoy wander into previously unexplored frontiers of offside while Own Goal led the team in scoring, last night watched United go unbeaten in five straight games and dispatch the Fire (5-10-18, 33 points), who were playing out the string. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 32 Recap: United finally end Houston home dominance

WIN PUTS UNITED ON BRINK OF TOP SEED IN EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS

Much of the 2014 Major League Soccer season has been spent comparing this year’s D.C. United to last year’s, two teams who couldn’t be more distant in terms of ability and results. But on Sunday, United finally accomplished something it never had previously, winning in Houston, 3-1. The victory lifted United to 16-9-7 on the season, and D.C.’s 55 points leave the club six points clear of Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution with two matches left for all three teams. United are a point away from clinching home field throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Dynamo, who slipped to 11-15-6 (39 points) were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. The defeat also took away one fact that Houston had been able to hold over United’s head for years – the Dynamo’s home dominance of D.C. The streak had covered 10 league matches, during which the best United had managed was a draw … just one lone draw. Fabian Espindola’s expert chip over the head of Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric gave United a 2-0 lead in the second half and that ended up being the key goal. Houston closed within 2-1 on a Giles Barnes penalty kick, but Eddie Johnson put the game away with his goal in the 87th minute. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 31 Recap: United’s epic turnaround continues as D.C. clinches playoff spot

SCORELESS DRAW VS. SPORTING KANSAS CITY SENDS UNITED INTO POSTSEASON

On this night, a draw will feel just fine for D.C. United. A 0-0 tie against visiting Sporting Kansas City before nearly 20,000 in the rain at RFK Stadium lifted United’s record to 15-9-7, and the 52 points are enough for D.C. to grab one of Major League Soccer’s five Eastern Conference playoff berths. Sporting Kansas City now stands 13-11-7 (46 points), remaining six points behind leaders United in the East.

United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made a couple nice saves and three overall in posting his career-high 10th shutout of the season and 30th of his MLS career. D.C. had chances to break the deadlock, but multiple Fabian Espindola shots went wide, and mid-air contact on Chris Pontius in the SKC penalty area did not result in a spot kick in the judgment of referee Hilario Grajeda. Davy Arnaud was cautioned for United, and will be suspended for a game upon his next yellow card. [Read more…]

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