Josh Wolff’s goal in the 73rd minute allowed D.C. United to extend their unbeaten streak on the road to seven matches with their 1-1 draw tonight against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Although United did keep their overall unbeaten streak alive in MLS at four matches, the draw did end United’s elusive efforts at their first two-game winning streak in over two years. The draw tonight set a new league record as it was Chicago’s 15th draw so far this season.
Wolff, a second-half substitute for the ineffective Charlie Davies, got on the end of a Santino Quaranta pass and lashed his shot over Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson and off the underside of the crossbar before it settled into the far side netting. Replays showed that Wolff was narrowly offside on the play but the goal stood. United was far from polished on this comfortable evening in Bridgeview, Illinois as they didn’t even register their first shot of the game until the 54th minute. In fact, Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson didn’t even officially register a save, that was how imperfect the Black-and-Red were on the evening.
Chicago tested United numerous times in the first half but it was United goalkeeper Bill Hamid who was up to the task making a series of saves from shots from Dominic Oduro and Marco Pappa. The best of the bunch was Hamid’s sprawling save on Pappa’s goal-bound shot late in the first half off a free kick from 25 yards away. Hamid was back in the lineup after his red-card suspension in their match against Toronto FC two weeks ago but was forced out of the match when he strained his hamstring on a goal kick to end the first half.
Steve Cronin came on for Hamid in the second half and did much better in this appearance than his 3-goal performance coming off the bench for Hamid against Toronto. However, there was little he could do to prevent the hosts from taking the lead in the 59th minute. Patrick Nyarko did well to out battle United defender Dejan Jakovic down the left flank and his cross into the penalty area was poorly headed out by United defender Daniel Woolard. The shanked clearance fell right onto the left peg of the Argentine Sebastian Grazzini and his laser left-footer got under Cronin before he could react to give the home side a deserved 1-0 lead.
Chicago has struggled all season long in giving up second-half leads and the trend continued when the former Fire star Wolff bagged his fifth goal of the season in the 73rd minute on United’s first determined attacking move of the match. Quaranta, only on the field for three minutes, picked up a ball at midfield and sent a diagonal ball to the right flank where Dwayne De Rosario flagged the ball down. De Rosario’s pass into the box was flicked on by Wolff to Quaranta at the top of the D. Quaranta quickly slotted the ball to Wolff who took one touch and then rifled the shot over Johnson to level the match at 1-1.
United now has the difficult task of playing again in just three days when they travel to Kansas City to play Sporting KC at LiveStrong Park on Sunday evening. This match will be televised live on Galavision at 8:30 pm EST and tape-delayed on Comcast SportsNet at 9:30 pm EST
- Hamid strained his hamstring and seems unlikely to play on Sunday at Kansas City. Joe Willis, who was left off the travel roster due to back spasms, most likely will fly to Kansas City either tomorrow or Friday to join the team
- Quaranta has assists in all three of his appearances since coming back from concussion symptoms that left him off the field for two months
- Stephen King started in place of Quaranta and Hamid was back in the lineup after Willis’ fantastic performance on the weekend against Vancouver
- Charlie Davies once again had little impact on the match outside of a few times he was taken down without a call from the ref. It seems that Davies’ actions in Real Salt Lake has come back to haunt him as he seemingly hasn’t gotten a single foul called against him since the diving incident. Davies was subbed out in the 60th minute and had an ice pack on his left knee while on the bench. Davies has clearly hit the wall after his bright start to the season.
- WindySoccer.net: Fire Dominate, But Still Draw, Break Record