April 30, 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 8 Recap: Fabian Espindola dominant in 2-0 Columbus Crew SC win

D.C. United won their second straight game in Major League Soccer and stretched their unbeaten run to six games thanks to a 2-0 win over Columbus Crew SC before 13,107 fans at RFK Stadium.

Fabian Espindola played a role in both goals, which came in the first half as the home side put themselves on top early and did not let go. The opener came after a Crew SC corner broke down and United countered, with the ball breaking to Chris Rolfe inside his own half. The forward then played a delicious through ball into the path of the rampaging Espindola, who then chipped goalkeeper Steve Clark to notch his first goal of the season.

Espindola also played a big hand in the home side’s second goal, which came just four minutes before the halftime interval. The Argentine swung in a dangerous corner that Clark tried to come for but could not claim. At the back post, Sean Franklin was unmarked and able to sweep home a difficult half-volley into the back of the net to double United’s advantage.

The home side were once again led offensively by Espindola, who is clearly looking to make up for lost time after his six-game ban that he started the season with expired. With United one up, he found himself unmarked in the box from a low cross, but Clark was equal to the task as he came off his line quickly and blocked away the shot.

Nick DeLeon also had two superb chances for United, starting with the game scoreless as he sent a half-volley just over the bar from outside the penalty area. Then, with halftime just around the corner, he latched on to Chris Pontius’ downward header from Bill Hamid’s long goal kick and hammered another shot from distance that sailed just over.

Meanwhile, Columbus looked threatening at times as they dominated possession for long periods, but they were unable to find a final pass to unlock a stellar United defense. Kei Kamara looked handy as the visitors’ lone striker, but he found himself swarmed by the home side’s defenders if he had a sniff of goal in the penalty area. His best chance came in the opening period as he took down a cross and looked to turn and fire, but Kofi Opare was on hand to deflect his attempt to safety.

Justin Meram also saw a volley at the near post go just over the bar before the break, while in the second period Federico Higuaín had a powerful header from long range go wide of Hamid’s post also. Higuaín continued to be an attacking presence for Columbus, but unfortunately his teammates sometimes looked devoid of ideas of how to find him in the best attacking positions.

The visitors continued to have good chances in the second half as United’s defense seemed content to soak up the pressure and break forward in counter attacks, something they looked to use regularly but found themselves unable to produce many telling moments.

Columbus’ best chance of the second half arguably fell to Ethan Finlay, who was unmarked in the box but unable to get his foot on a cross from Kamara. Substitute Kristinn Steindorsson also had a good opportunity after some hesitant United defending and a failure to clear their lines, but his first-time shot to the far post from inside the penalty area was watched wide by Hamid.

With their defense coping well and their attack looking at times a little unconvincing going forward, United were able to continue Luis Silva’s rehabilitation from injury with a substitute appearance in place of Rolfe, while Miguel Aguilar replaced Espindola late on having been dogged in recent weeks by visa issues.

The fulltime whistle signaled another victory for United, and means they now have not lost in 16 games in all competitions, a run that has helped keep them right at the top of the Eastern Conference standings this season. With more home games to come for D.C., they will be hopeful of adding to their points total and maintaining their impressive start to 2015.

Goals
DCU — Fabian Espindola (Chris Rolfe) 15’
DCU — Sean Franklin (Fabian Espindola) 41’

Disciplinary
DCU — Fabian Espindola (caution, encroachment) 71’
DCU — Sean Franklin (caution, time wasting) 90’

Attendance: 13,107

D.C. United XI: Hamid; Franklin, Opare, Boswell, Korb; DeLeon (Farfan 63’), Kitchen, Arnaud, Pontius; Rolfe (Silva 71’), Espindola (Aguilar 86’).
Subs not used: Worra, Kemp, Doyle, Arrieta.

Columbus Crew SC XI: Clark; Grana (Jimenez 65’), Parkhurst, Pogatetz, Francis (Klute HT); Saeid, Tchani, Finlay, Higuain, Meram (Steindorsson HT); Kamara.
Subs not used: Lampson, Wahl, George, Schoenfeld.

D.C. United Game 7 Recap: United stay unbeaten after win at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

D.C. United’s unbeaten streak in Major League Soccer is now at five games after a 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a topsy-turvy encounter at BC Place.

The hosts took the lead just a couple of minutes into the game through Pedro Morales, who found himself in acres of space after collecting a cross from Octavio Rivero and finished well as he lobbed United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 34 Recap: Rainy draw in Montreal brings regular season to close

ESPINDOLA SCORES LATE TO EARN D.C. A POINT

In this massive turnaround season for D.C. United, a 1-1 draw in Montreal on the final day leaves D.C. with a club-record 59 points for the season and first place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference heading into the MLS Cup playoffs. Fabian Espindola scored his 11th goal of the season in the 86th minute to bring United level. D.C. finished the regular season 17-9-8 and will win the East by at least four points. Montreal finishes where United did a season ago, dead last in the East, with 27 points (6-18-9).

The game meant vastly different things to each team. Thanks to the L.A. Galaxy’s loss at Seattle earlier in the day, a win in Montreal would have given D.C. the second overall seed in the playoffs, allowing D.C. to host the MLS Cup final (should it get that far) against any team other than Seattle. The 1-1 draw, however, leaves United two points behind the Galaxy. For Montreal, it was a showcase for retiring forward Marco Di Vaio, who is calling it a career at age 38. [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 29 Recap: Roller-coaster night in Chicago ends with a draw

SILVA SCORES TWICE AS UNITED SHARE POINTS IN SIX-GOAL THRILLER

How you look at D.C. United’s 3-3 draw at the Chicago Fire Saturday night is a matter of perspective. Either you are happy D.C. rallied from 2-0 down to at least get a point, or you are disappointed that United let a 3-2 lead slip away, only earning one point instead of three. The good news is that the tie moved United’s record to 14-9-6, good for 48 points and a three-point lead on Sporting Kansas City at the top of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. A tie was the usual for the Fire, who are 5-7-16 (31 points) this season.

Early on, this looked like the kind of performance United would regret were it to not finish first in the East. Quincy Amarikwa put the Fire ahead in the 16th minute, and Chicago went two clear 16 minutes later when United were whistled for a penalty and Jeff Larentowicz converted. At that point, any resulting blowout would have been believable, given how United was playing. [Read more…]

D.C. United CONCACAF Champions League Game 2 Recap: Espindola scores twice in key away win

UNITED ON VERGE OF ADVANCING OUT OF CCL GROUP STAGE

Fabian Espindola last made news in Major League Soccer for being on the receiving end of a dubious (yet upheld by the league) red card in a 1-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls last week. But while Espindola will miss an MLS match due to New York midfielder Dax McCarty running into the side of Espindola’s boot, United’s leading scorer was available and spectacular in United’s 2-1 win at Waterhouse FC Tuesday night in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The win by United at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica, lifted the club to 2-0 in the group stage, both wins over Waterhouse. United beat the Jamaican side, 1-0, at RFK Stadium on August 20. With six points, United is tied with Waterhouse FC for the lead in the three-team group, as Waterhouse has already beaten Tauro FC (Panama City) twice. United need only a point from two upcoming matches with Tauro (Sept. 24 at home; Oct. 21 away) to clinch Group 4. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 28 Recap: Angry United left seeing red after loss at New York

ESPINDOLA SENT OFF; SAM SCORES LATE AS RED BULLS NIP UNITED

Already without the injured Chris Rolfe and the concussed Eddie Johnson, D.C. United’s mission to earn a positive result at New York Wednesday night got even more difficult when leading scorer Fabian Espindola was sent off by referee Mark Geiger for a high kick. United held on in a scoreless match until the 90th minute, when Lloyd Sam scored to give New York a 1-0 win. United fell to 14-9-5 (47 points), but remain five points up on Sporting Kansas City for first place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. New York improved to 9-8-10 (37 points).

A match which the Red Bulls were edging for possession and some chances swung in their favor significantly in the 32nd minute when Espindola went to a play a bouncing ball near midfield, as New York midfielder Dax McCarty rushed in. Espindola’s boot, McCarty’s midsection, and the ball all met and McCarty went down holding his stomach. Geiger sent off Espindola immediately for what he deemed a “serious foul.” It did not appear as if Espindola’s studs caught McCarty, who stayed in the match and was not seen being treated for a cut. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 27 Recap: United build Eastern lead with point at Vancouver

HAMID SAVES THREE AS UNITED BATTLES TO DEADLOCK AT WHITECAPS

With midfielder Chris Rolfe lost to an arm injury and forward Eddie Johnson out due to concussion symptoms, it was fair to have somewhat lower expectations as D.C. United visited the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday night. But United held firm, kept a clean sheet, and got out of western Canada with a scoreless tie before 18,116 at BC Place. The result sets United’s record at 14-8-5 (47 points), good enough for a five-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference over Sporting Kansas City, which lost to New York Saturday, 2-1. Vancouver is 7-6-13 (34 points).

The revamped attack featured Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola leading the offense, with David Estrada slipping into the open midfield spot. United didn’t create many chances, though Espindola gave the Vancouver defense plenty of problems and sent one close chance over the bar. Vancouver had a great chance on Kendall Waston’s header on 30 minutes, but he narrowly missed just wide to United goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s left post. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 26 Analysis: Olsen unlocks key to perfect lineup in Sunday win

In Sunday’s 2-0 win over the arch-rival New York Red Bulls, D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen answered one of the major questions facing his club, and in doing so, may have also cemented the club’s status as a championship contender in Major League Soccer for the 2014 season.

The question, of course, was how to use forward and designated player Eddie Johnson, while not messing with a combination that has been lethal of late. That combo, featuring Luis Silva, Chris Rolfe, and Fabian Espindola, helped lead United to seven goals in two wins when Johnson was serving a suspension for matches against Colorado (4-2) and Sporting Kansas City (3-0). [Read more…]

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