DC United's defense of their reserve league title got off to a less-than-stellar start in a scoreless tie with FC Dallas at the RFK Auxiliary Field Sunday morning.
United (0-0-1) controlled much of the play, but failed to put the ball into the back of the net against a tenacious Dallas reserve side (0-2-1). It was the first time United fans saw DC's reserves fail to win at home after winning all six matches last season.
The match was virtually a mirror image of the first-team match the night before, only without the first-half goals. Dallas again trotted out a team determined to defend at all costs, and it took United until late in the second-half to break them down. Unfortunately, last year's reserves scoring leader, Jamil Walker, along and Matt Nickell, missed clear chances to win the match in the last fifteen minutes.
After a dreadfully tame first half, United came out in the second-half much more lively, as Nickell seemed to inject some urgency in the attack. Twice Nickell set up thru balls for Walker to run onto, but both plays just missed. The first was a lovely curled pass behind Dallas' defenders into the box for Walker to run onto, but United's speedster just barely missed getting to it. Then a few minutes later, Walker was sent into the box and this time got to the ball but was leveled by goalkeeper Jeff Cassar in what should have been a penalty.
Still, United kept up the pressure and should have put the game away with two beautiful plays late in the match. In the play of the day, United's Dominic Mediate sent the ball into the box to Nickell, but he was closed down and dropped the ball back to Rod Dyachenko at the top of the box. After drawing the defense to him, Dyachenko slid a perfect lead pass to Walker all alone on the right side of the box, but Walker's first touch failed him and the ball squirted right to Cassar.
Dyachenko set up another golden opportunity in the 86th minute, sending Andy Metcalf on a thundering run down the right side. Metcalf then crossed perfectly to Nickell at the top of the box, but his shot sailed just over the bar.
Still, despite the tie, reserve coach Tom Soehn had to be pleased with United’s effort as they controlled much of the play and were never really threatened by a Dallas side that contained quite a few experienced regulars trying to work their way back into the first team after coming back from injury.
United’s next reserve match is May 14 against Kansas City at RFK’s Auxiliary Field at 10:00 a.m.
DC United: Ryan McIntosh; Bryan Namoff, Devon McTavish, John Wilson; Domenic Mediate, Jeff Carroll, Clyde Simms, Rod Dyachenko, Stephen deRoux (Andy Metcalf 52); Lucio Filomeno (Matt Nickell 45), Jamil Walker
FC Dallas: Jeff Cassar; David Wagenfuhr, Michael Dello-Russo, Chris Gbandi, Justin Moore; Marcos Charras (Mario Torres 57), Richard Mulrooney, Aaron Pitchkolan, Arturo Alvarez, Abe Thompson, Dominic Oduro
DCU – Domenic Mediate 54
FCD – Justin Moore 82
FCD – Justin Moore 85
Ejections: FCD – Justin Moore 85 (second caution)