October 19, 2017

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 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 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…]

D.C. United Game 24 Recap: United emphatically takes first place in the East & MLS

THREE FIRST-HALF GOALS SEND UNITED PAST SPORTING KANSAS CITY

Entering Saturday’s Major League Soccer match at Sporting Kansas City, the hosts held a two-point lead on D.C. United at the top of the Eastern Conference. By the final whistle, however, there was no doubt who was atop the East. First-half goals by Chris Rolfe, Fabian Espindola, and Perry Kitchen did the job in a 3-0 rout. United improved to 13-7-4 (43 points), one point better than SKC (12-7-6, 42) for first in the East.

The onslaught was quick and followed a familiar pattern, as it was Sporting that carried a decent bit of the play early. But whether caused by offside traps gone horribly wrong, a lack of attention by SKC defenders, or both, United were gifted multiple open opportunities to hit on the counter and the black-and-red didn’t make any mistakes. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 19 Recap: United within a point of first place

JOHNSON CONVERTS ANOTHER PK IN 3-1 D.C. VICTORY OVER CHIVAS USA

D.C. United won its third straight match and moved within one point of Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City with a 3-1 win Sunday night over Chivas USA before 13,732 at RFK Stadium. United improved to 10-5-4 on the season (34 points), while Chivas USA failed to help its playoff chances and sit 6-8-5 (23 points), four points out of a playoff spot in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.

United were both boosted and burned by the penalty spot, as Eddie Johnson scored from 12 yards in the 25th minute for the opening goal of the match, and the lone Chivas USA strike also came from the spot, converted by Erick Torres in the 84th minute, but by that time the match was well in hand. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 18 Recap: Hamid saves, saves, and saves again in win at San Jose

Ideally, D.C. United shouldn’t need goalkeeper Bill Hamid to stand on his head or make 10-bell saves, or play as if he is a super goalkeeping being from another planet. There should be enough done defensively and with possession in the attack such that Hamid isn’t a team-saving behemoth with all the work to himself to do.

However, on nights such as Friday and in times such as the second half of United’s 2-1 win at San Jose, it’s nice to know that if Hamid indeed has to be all those things, he can. Hamid made seven saves (according to MLS, he was credited with nine during the NBCSN broadcast), many of the spectacular variety, as D.C. built a 2-0 first-half lead, saw it sliced to one before halftime, then hung on for dear life for most of the final 45 minutes. The away win was United’s third straight, and leaves the club 9-5-4 (31 points) in the standings and still alone in first place atop Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 17 Recap: United hit halfway point in first place after win at Toronto

Road wins are rarely pretty, but they are so very important. D.C. United got three vital away points Saturday night, winning at Eastern Conference rival Toronto FC, 2-1, before 22,591 at BMO Field. Nick DeLeon and Perry Kitchen scored the goals for United, while Luke Moore got on the scoresheet for Toronto. With the win, United improved to 8-5-4 (28 points), leaving D.C. alone in first place in the East halfway through its season (pending Sporting Kansas City’s result Sunday vs. Chicago).

Road wins were non-existent in the league for United last season, one when winning anywhere was a true rarity. There was a school of thought that such troubled times would befall the black-and-red again now, with leading scorer (and assist man) Fabian Espindola out with a knee injury for several weeks. Where would the offense come from? [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 13 Recap: One brilliant Espindola goal enough for United victory

Fabian Espindola’s campaign for Major League Soccer MVP benefited from another memorable moment Saturday night, as D.C. United’s leading scorer lofted home a ridiculous goal in the first half that stood up in United’s 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City before 18,522 on a beautiful night at RFK Stadium. The win lifted United into second place in the Eastern Conference (6-4-3, 21 points), just two points out of first thanks to New England’s shocking loss to Montreal.

For all Espindola has done in helping to resurrect United on the field so far this season, his goal Saturday night was the masterpiece of his highlight video. Taking a layoff from right back Chris Korb, Espindola appeared to pose little threat, as SKC defender Seth Sinovic tracked him, but didn’t close him down. This can be forgiven, since Espindola was moving the ball back to his left, away from goal. [Read more…]

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