Ryan Nelsen collected an assist in the 39th minute to give United a 2-0 lead. The New Zealand International split two Miami Defenders and sent a pass to Abdul "the Gazelle" Conteh. The Sierra Leon forward slotted a 15 yard shot into the inside left post past an onrushing Nick Rimando.
Carey Tally added to the lead in the 44th minute with a strike from the penalty spot. United was awarded the spot kick after an exciting sequence of events that began when Nelsen slipped a pass to an unmarked Albright at the top of the box on yet another counterattack. Rimando quickly came off his line to snuff Albright’s shot, and the carom came back out to Nelsen. Nelsen quickly found Conteh inside the top of the box, and as Conteh prepared to shoot Rimando cleaned out his legs for the foul. Talley’s ensuing penalty kick was placed neatly inside the right post as Rimando dove to the opposite side.
United brought on nine new players at half-time and brought on newly acquired Ben Stafford, a Wake Forest product, in the 49th minute to a rousing ovation from his hometown fans. Brothers Judah and Micah Cooks came on for United, while cousins Ray Goodlett (United) and Greg Simmonds (Fusion) also entered at half-time.
The teams went into the half with United up by three. But the Fusion did not let up and seemed to be on their way to a rousing come back. In the 69th minute, newly acquired Fusion player Ian Bishop, swerved a free kick around the United wall and inside the left post to narrow the gap. Only one minute later Kyle Beckerman’s 17 yard shot deflected of a DC defender into the back of United’s net.
DC United was able to sustain Miami’s second half attack to escape with the win.
"It was two very different halves as we played basically two different teams," said United head coach Thomas Rongen. "I was very pleased with our performance in the first half. It was nice to see Chris (Albright) and Abdul (Thompson Conteh) getting on the scoresheet, and with Marco (Etcheverry) being instrumental in leading our attack. We still need to get a little sharper defensively. One of the great things to come out of the second half was the young group was able to endure the pressure and see the game out and get a positive result."
United returns to action on Wednesday with a CONCACAF Giants Cups fixture against Arnett Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. Kickoff is slated for 3:00 p.m. United then opens the MLS season Saturday, April 7, with a 7:30 p.m. home fixture against defending MLS Champion Kansas City at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.
DC Chris Albright (Brian Kamler) 9′
DC Abdul Thompson Conteh (Ryan Nelsen) 39′
DC Carey Talley (penalty kick) 44′
M Ian Bishop 69′
M Kyle Beckerman 70′
DC 20′ Mark Watson
DC 56′ Jose Alegria
DC 80′ Ray Goodlett