It’s been a rough few weeks for Eddie Johnson. Photo: Tony Quinn
Surprisingly left off the United States World Cup training camp roster in combination with a season-long scoring drought and not-so-flattering comments on his new team mates has added up to a ton of media attention and soul searching from the much-maligned 30-year old striker.
Perhaps now he can exhale and move on with the remainder of the season as he finally scored his first goal for D.C. United in last night’s 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact. Johnson scored in the 84th minute and saved what would have been a very disappointing loss to the cellar dwelling Impact.
Both teams struggled throughout the match to grab any type of foothold but it was the Black-and-Red who fell behind through another defensive mistake in the 54th minute. Cristian Fernandez, for not the first time this season, was caught in possession along the right sideline and Justin Mapp swooped in to collect the wayward touch from United’s left-back. Mapp took the ball to the end line where he spotted bona fide United-killer Jack McInerney peeling away from Bobby Boswell. McInerney took one touch to settle and then toe-poked the ball into the far side netting.
Minutes later, the Impact should have salted the game away if not for some heroic defending from Bill Hamid and Chris Korb. Sanna Nyassi, who’s speed on the counter gave United trouble all night long, took advantage of a slip from defender Jeff Parke in the box to open up some space and fire a shot that Hamid did well to parry to his right. The rebound however fell right into the lap of the opportunistic McInerney who had an open goal to shoot at. Korb desperately lunged his body in the way and deflected the goal-bound effort into the hands of the surprised Hamid.
With that bit of good fortune provided, United pushed forward and nearly equalized in the 73rd minute when substitute Luis Silva’s shot stung the crossbar and deflected over. It was United’s second effort off the woodwork of the night as they nearly scored an own-goal way back in the 15th minute.
United persistence finally paid off in the 84th minute with the game-tying goal. Great combination work from Cristian to Chris Rolfe to Espindola freed up the Argentine playmaker down the left flank. Espindola’s cross was beautifully whipped in and met the rising Johnson at the edge of the six-yard box and his header was perfectly placed into the far corner giving former United goalkeeper Troy Perkins no chance.
While the result was acceptable on it’s face, it felt very much like a lost opportunity for United on the night as it was the last-place team in MLS in United’s backyard. United now will turn their attention to the Houston Dynamo who come to town for a midweek clash on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium. Houston is coming off a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy last night, a win that pushed the Dynamo ahead of D.C. United and into a tie for second with Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference.