DC United perhaps got a bit unlucky to only manage a draw with the defending MLS champion, Colorado Rapids. After the Rapids jumped out to an early lead, United’s Chris Pontius (pictured) earned and kicked in a penalty kick to earn the point for DC. However, DC got extremely unlucky to lose a few players to injury, including league leading scorer, Charlie Davies.
Visiting Colorado jumped out in the lead midway through the first half as United’s set piece defense failed once again. Drew Moor drew a sketchy free kick down the left side and Colorado’s Jamie Smith stroked a lovely ball into the area that struck DC defender Dejan Jakovic in the back. The ball fell right to Moor, who had gotten behind DC’s Ethan White a bit too easily, and the Colorado defender poked it into the net before DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid could react.
Then the injuries set in for United, who lost both starting strikers in the first half to leg injuries. First it was Davies, who appeared to have pulled a hamstring and had to come out. The injury could not have come at a worse time for Davies as US coach Bob Bradley was in attendance and was mulling over bringing Davies back into the US team for the first time since his horrific injury over 19 months ago.
Barely 5 minutes after Santino Quaranta had replaced Davies, his partner Josh Wolff was replaced by Joseph Ngwenya after being forced off due to a groin injury. United, who had not been playing particularly well to that point, began to look even worse with the shakeup to the starting lineup.
Having already been forced into burning two subs in the first half, United’s bad luck continued as Quaranta sprung United captain Dax McCarty behind Colorado’s defense, and on his way to a clear breakaway McCarty was tripped from behind by Moor. Incredibly, Moor escaped a clear red card offense with merely a yellow card.
Ben Olsen must have made a clear impression on the team during half time as DC began the second half much more active and determined and clearly deserved the tying goal, if not to win the game outright. But again bad luck and poor refereeing kept the team from more than a point.
In the 56th minute, Quaranta again clipped a lovely pass into Ngwenya dancing through the Colorado penalty area, where Colorado’s Larentowicz clearly tripped Ngwenya for an obvious penalty kick, but referee Terry Vaughn refused United’s pleas.
Vaughn did make the next call however, as a few minutes later, DC’s Chris Pontius pulled off a nice move to get behind Rapid defender Tyrone Marshall and into the box, where he cleverly shielded the ball from Colorado right back Koske Kimura, drawing the contact from behind and earning the penalty kick this time. Pontius hammered the ball past Colorado keeper Matt Pickens to complete the scoring.
Both teams had a flurry of half chances in the last 15 minutes, but in the end none were that threatening and the teams shared the points.
With the tie, United has now collected 5 points in an undefeated 3 game home stand to remain solidly mid table in the Eastern conference, sorely needed points as DC heads out on the road for two straight games at Portland and LA after a week off during which United has a friendly with Ajax of the Dutch Heredivisie.