November 13, 2019

D.C. United Game 20 Recap: United romp past Toronto to continue streak

D.C. United improved to 4-1 without injured leading scorer Fabian Espindola, and 11-5-4 (37 points) overall with a resounding 3-0 thumping of Toronto FC (7-7-5, 29) before 16,171 at RFK Stadium. United, second place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and winners of four straight, brushed aside the conference’s third-place team with ease thanks to goals from Eddie Johnson and Chris Rolfe, then a TFC own goal set up by some terrific work by D.C. midfielder Nick DeLeon.

United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was called upon to make a couple quality saves among the eight he totaled, but for the most part, D.C. were better on the ball, did more advanced work off the ball, and United’s defense were somewhat of a brick wall compared to that of TFC. With space open on all sides of the field, it was only a matter of time before United, even without the seven goals and eight assists from Espindola in the lineup, made Toronto pay.

The onslaught began in the eighth minute, when for the first time this season, Johnson scored from open play, crashing home a header from the middle of the penalty area off a perfect Perry Kitchen cross. Johnson has now scored in three straight games, but the other two came from penalty kicks and Johnson’s opening goal of the campaign was a header from a corner kick.

Kitchen, meanwhile, was the best American midfielder on the field, even with U.S. National Team stalwart Michael Bradley in the 11 for Toronto. The assist was his second of the season to go with three goals, and his defensive work was on point as always.

Chris Rolfe made it 2-0 in the 59th minute, converting on a 1-0n-1 chance with Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik after DeLeon was felled in the penalty area. Referee Chris Penso played advantage and Rolfe finished the chance neatly.

DeLeon was also involved in the third goal, opening up space for himself in the box after first eluding Justin Morrow, then dispensing of would-be defender Nick Hagglund. His shot was saved by Bendik, but then it was knocked into the net by a recovering Hagglund.

Since losing Espindola, United have outscored its opponents, 10-4. United looks to continue the surge Sunday at the Houston Dynamo (8 p.m., CSN).

THE GOOD: A lot to choose from. But DeLeon’s moves both on his goal and in the midfield to create space and hold possession were of high quality.

THE BAD: Johnson, Davy Arnaud, and Chris Korb were all cautioned. But really, that’s being picky. Nothing to complain about over tonight’s performance.

THE UGLY: This was Hagglund’s second straight game vs. United that went really poorly. Good for United, but given TFC’s appetite for success by bringing in guys like Bradley and Jermain Defoe, the defense (28 goals allowed) has to be shored up for the Reds to be a serious MLS Cup contender.

  • The club announced the acquisition of defender Kofi Opare, via trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy. According to the club, the Galaxy also sent United its second-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. The Galaxy move up to United’s spot in the allocation order. Opare will provide defensive depth which is needed since center back Jeff Parke remains out injured, though rookie Steve Birnbaum (90 minutes tonight) is doing well in his absence.Opare is a 23-year-old Canadian defender. He had five starts in his six appearances for the Galaxy this season. Opare made six appearances (all starts) for Los Angeles in 2013, his rookie season. Opare played his college soccer at the University of Michigan.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. He covered United for The Journal Newspapers from 1997-2002. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

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 2 Recap: United still scoreless, winless after Toronto loss

D.C. United fell to 0-2 on the 2014 Major League Soccer season Saturday afternoon with a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto. Jermain Defoe scored the only goal of the match, converting on a rebound shot in the 60th minute to give TFC its second consecutive win to start the season. United managed just two shots on goal for the entire match (Defoe had three by himself) and United were quite fortunate not to have taken a heavier loss.

Defoe, a veteran of the English Premier League who once scored five goals in a game for Tottenham in a 9-1 win over Wigan on November 22, 2009, could well have scored more than one Saturday had it not been for D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, the goalpost, and a little bit of luck. Hamid saved two of Defoe’s shots early in the game to keep the contest scoreless, and Defoe later missed a chance just wide while trying to avoid Hamid, who had the post well covered. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 30 Recap: Toronto overpowers United in D.C.’s final Open Cup prep

Toronto FC scored two goals in four minutes midway through the second half to break open a 1-1 match and eventually polished off D.C. United, 4-1, before an announced crowd of 15,879 at BMO Field in Toronto. The loss drops United to a record of 3-21-6 (15 points) for the 2013 Major League Soccer season. Toronto improved to 5-15-11 (26 points).

United are now the worst team in MLS by a full 11 points, trailing by that amount both Toronto and Chivas USA in the 19-team league.

The match was a glorified exhibition affair for United, who play at Real Salt Lake on Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup final. That match will present United with the opportunity to win its 13th major trophy since the club began play in 1996, and its first Open Cup since 2008.

As such, the lineup for today’s game was something you might see out of D.C. United in a February preseason friendly against Joe’s Dart Shop FC. Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, Luis Silva, Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White, James Riley, Chris Korb, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon, and goalkeeper Bill Hamid all sat this match out. Midfielder Sainey Nyassi started in defense, youngsters Jared Jeffrey, Collin Martin, and Kyle Seaton all started, and Conor Doyle and Casey Townsend were among the substitutes.

Early, the result was about 10 minutes of constant Toronto possession to start the match, but TFC did nothing with it. Then, United took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 15th minute, thanks to Jeffrey.

Given plenty of space nearly 30 yards from goal in the middle, Jeffrey smartly took advantage of the opportunity, setting up a left-footed shot that sneaked in under the crossbar and into the corner to Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s right. Bendik dove full out to try and save it, but wasn’t able to get a hand on it as Jeffrey hit it at the perfect pace, in the perfect place, and got the perfect result.

The goal was Jeffrey’s second of the 2013 Major League Soccer season in this, his 6th appearance.

United held the lead, however, for just 10 minutes, as has often been the case this season, a D.C. advantage on the scoreboard was quickly wiped away.

This time, it was poor defending off a free kick that doomed United, as it has for much of the season. Nyassi, playing out of position, gave away a free kick deep on Toronto’s left. The free kick bounced across the penalty area, and United failed to clear. The ball eventually found the foot of Toronto midfielder Darel Russell on the right side of the area, and he hit a right-footed laser just off the hand of Joe Willis and inside the far post to tie the match.

It was Russell’s 3rd goal of the season and one that could have been prevented, either from United clearing the free kick in the first place, or if someone had marked Russell, who had plenty of room to Willis’ left to notch the equalizing goal.

For much of the season, United has struggled defensively – having conceded 52 goals in the league this season (2nd most; Chivas USA, 54), so without the normal starters, it was perhaps only a matter of time before the defense fell apart today.

With the match still 1-1 in the 67th minute, the dam broke.

Off a turnover, Toronto played a long and somewhat aimless ball up the right attacking flank. United midfielder Marcelo Saragosa was left on his own to fend off TFC’s Andrew Wiedeman. Saragosa had position, but let Wiedeman get by him, then dragged him to the turf. The assistant referee almost on top of the play waved his flag for a foul, but head referee Ted Unkel played advantage as Mark Bloom ran on to the ball unopposed for a cross.

That cross from Willis’ left was met by an unmarked Bright Dike, who volleyed the ball past Willis to make it 2-1 Toronto.

TFC increased its lead to 3-1 just 4 minutes later, after another United turnover in the attacking half. This time, it led to a 3-on-2 for Toronto in the United defensive third, with Wiedeman laying a ball off to his right for Álvaro Rey. Rey worked deep toward the end line and then tried to cross, but the ball was deflected by United defender Conor Shanosky past Willis for an own goal.

Toronto finished the scoring in the 87th minute when Rey possessed the ball in the penalty area, neatly cut the ball twice past United players (Saragosa and Casey Townsend), and finished for a fine individual goal.

United had but two shots on goal in the match, both in the first half, and never seriously threatened to make a game of it once Toronto FC assumed control in the second half.

All of today’s errors could be forgiven should United emerge victorious on Tuesday night, for what would be D.C.’s 3rd Open Cup title (United also won in 1996). There are but four matches left in the league season now, the next coming Friday night at RFK Stadium against the Chicago Fire (8 p.m. Eastern). United still need a point from its final four matches to not be the worst team in MLS history by points per game average.

TORONTO 4-1 UNITED

Goals:
DC – Jeffrey 2, 15th minute.
TOR – Russell 3, 25th minute.
TOR – Dike 1 (Bloom 1), 67th minute.
DC – Shanosky, own goal, 71st minute.
DC – Rey 1 (Braun 2), 87th minute.

Discipline:
DC – Martin, yellow, 37th minute.
TOR – Dike, yellow, 45th minute.
TOR – Russell, yellow, 62nd minute.
DC – Saragosa, yellow, 68th minute.

Statistics:
Shots:  TOR 12-7 DC
Shots on Goal:  TOR 6-2 DC
Corners:  TOR 4-1 DC
Fouls:  TOR 8-14 DC
Offside:  TOR 0-0 DC
Possession:  TOR 46.3%-53.7% DC

UNITED (3-21-6):  Willis; Kemp, Nyassi, Shanosky, Woolard (Doyle 46′); Jeffrey (Iapichino 70′), Martin, Saragosa, Porter (Townsend 80′); Pajoy, Seaton.

TORONTO (5-15-11):  Bendik; Henry, Morgan, Bloom, Agbossoumonde; Convey (Lambe 85′), Russell, Rey, Hall; Dike (Braun 82′), Wiedeman (Bekker 90′).

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

D.C. United Game 25 Recap: Bendik foils United, D.C. settles for draw

D.C. United shot and they shot, but Toronto FC goalkeeper Joe Bendik wouldn’t cave in. D.C. fired 9 shots on goal in all, but only Dwayne De Rosario found the back of the net, and once Bobby Convey drew TFC level in the 60th minute, United had to settle for a 1-1 draw tonight at RFK Stadium. United is now 3-17-5 on the 2013 Major League Soccer season (14 points), while Toronto is 4-12-9 (21 points).

United led, 1-0, early in the first half thanks to a piece of individual brilliance from the veteran De Rosario. Getting the ball from Perry Kitchen toward the left attacking sideline in the Toronto defensive third, De Rosario cut to his right, going backward a bit as he went toward the middle of the field. [Read more…]

United acquire midfielder Luis Silva from Toronto FC

D.C. United bolstered its midfield on Tuesday, acquiring midfielder Luis Silva from Toronto FC for allocation money, according to the team’s website.

Silva was taken with the 4th overall pick in the 2012 SuperDraft by Toronto FC, and he played in 44 matches for the Reds (33 starts), scoring five goals and notching seven assists. All of his goals, however, came in 2012. This year, Silva had managed just two assists in 14 matches (11 starts) for Toronto. Anything he can do boost United’s attack will be welcomed, however, since D.C. has scored but 8 goals in 19 Major League Soccer matches this season and sit with a 2-13-4 (10 points) record – worst in MLS. [Read more…]

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