Eddie Johnson had a goal and an assist to help lead D.C. United to a very comfortable 3-1 win tonight over Chivas USA at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
The win for United (10-5-4, 34 points) is a season-high third straight and helps them keep pace with red-hot Sporting Kansas City who sit just one point ahead of the Black-and-Red at the top of the Eastern Conference. Chivas USA had won four straight matches coming into the game, a match up of two teams that had turned their disappointing 2013 seasons around much faster than anyone had anticipated.
Johnson converted a penalty kick, his second straight game doing so, in the 25th minute after United midfielder Chris Rolfe was barged over in the penalty area by Chivas midfielder Oswaldo Minda.
United nearly doubled and tripled their lead late in the first half when Johnson’s header caromed off the crossbar followed shortly by another header off the crossbar, this time though by a Chivas USA defender.
After the break United continued their domination and once again the Rolfe-Johnson combo provided the game-winner in the 59th minute. Rolfe’s free kick found Johnson deep in the penalty area and the mercurial striker knocked a header down perfectly into the path of Perry Kitchen who’s left-footed blast easily beat goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to his left for his third tally of the season.
If that wasn’t enough, United surely put the game out of reach just over ten minutes later when Chris Korb’s through ball found Luis Silva who easily slipped the ball past Kennedy to give the home side an impressive 3-0 lead. Silva, filling in admirably for injured striker Fabian Espindola, scored his fifth goal in five games.
The only thing left to do was to try to get United goalkeeper Bill Hamid a shutout in his 100th MLS appearance. However that was spoiled in the 84th minute when Chivas USA were awarded a very soft penalty when midfielder Mauro Rosales flopped under very little pressure from United rookie defender Steve Birnbaum.
Erick “Cubo” Torres stepped up and beat Hamid to his right to spoil the shutout bid. Torres’ goal was his 14th of the season and his sixth straight game scoring a goal. Torres was essentially neutralized all night long until his penalty kick opportunity.
United now will have a ten-day break from league play and return to action on Wednesday, July 30th when they welcome Michael Bradley and Toronto FC to town. Before that however, United will fly down to Jacksonville, Florida to take on English side Fulham FC on Saturday night in an exhibition match.
Knowing this, United most likely will take a reserve team down to Florida as they being a hellish month of play with 9 matches in 32 days starting with their tilt with TFC next week.