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.
DCU — Perry Kitchen (Taylor Kemp) 26’
DCU — Perry Kitchen (Chris Rolfe) 67’
NYRB — Damien Perrinelle (Felipe) 68’
NYRB — Lloyd Sam 90’
DCU — Taylor Kemp (caution, foul) 36’
NYRB — Mike Grella (caution, foul) 45’
NYRB — Damien Perrinelle (caution, foul) 58’
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.