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Arrieta Celebrates

United takes opener with 1-0 win over Montreal

Jairo Arrieta’s lone goal helped to propel D.C. United to a season-opening 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact this afternoon at snowy and cold RFK Stadium. Just two days removed from a storm that dumped eight inches of snow on the Nation’s Capital, United and the Impact met on a field strewn with pock marks and soggy patches of grass. The elements not withstanding, both teams were coming off of their respective CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matches with the visitors in the better mood via their advancement over Mexican giants Pachuca while United were left licking their wounds after their dismissal at the hands of Alajuelense of Costa Rica.

Undeterred, the Black-and-Red took it to their Canadian counterparts and controlled large portions of the run of play. United had the first opportunity of the match 19 minutes in thanks in part to the determination of Arrieta. A poor first touch from Belgian defender Laurent Ciman allowed the speedy Costa Rican to steal the ball away 30 yards from goal. While being tackled Arrieta managed to nudge the ball to fellow striker Chris Pontius and his angled left-footed bid rolled agonizingly past the far post.

DSC_0172United continued to boss the play but it was Montreal that would strike at the next golden opportunity in the 35th minute and to no one’s surprise United goalkeeper Bill Hamid easily parried away Montreal left back Donny Toia’s rasping 25-yard drive. After the break both teams took turns wrestling the tempo away from each other but it was United who would finally break through in the 58th minute. After a routine save by Hamid, Nick DeLeon played a ball to Davy Arnaud who immediately one-timed it upfield to Chris Rolfe, Rolfe, easily the best player on the day, sent a ball over the defense to a streaking Arrieta. Arrieta, playing in place of suspended striker Fabian Espindola, easily outpaced the Impact defense and beat goalkeeper Evan Bush to the ball just inside the top right corner of the penalty area. The slippery Arrieta then pushed the ball with the outside of his right foot (left) just beneath Bush and it rolled easily into the vacated net to give United the 1-0 lead.

United should have doubled the score just two minutes later when Pontius and Arrieta combined for a beautiful chance at goal. Pontius was a bit quicker to a bouncing ball and beat Ciman and headed the ball over the Belgian to Arrieta. Arrieta, sensing the run to goal from Pontius, put the ball over his head and into Pontius’ stride where he chested the ball down and toe-poked a shot past Bush but off the crossbar and down just a few inches from going over the goal line.

After that point it was all Montreal as the visitors pushed numbers into the attack. Montreal felt hard done by when in the 76th minute Hassoun Camara’s shot from five yards out was goal bound only to see it hit off the upper arm of Conor Doyle who was positioned on the goal line. The Impact were screaming for a penalty as the ball was finally cleared out of danger. Minutes later the game would take a sullen turn as Impact midfielder Justin Mapp suffered what seemed to be a serious injury. The speedy winger had gotten in behind the United defense and was just about to pull the trigger on a shot when defender Chris Korb managed to poke the ball away. At the same time Hamid had come out to narrow the angle and as all three players converged (below), it was Mapp who came out injured when he apparently dislocated an appendage when cushioning his blow to the ground. Hamid and Korb both called immediately to the training staff as they both realized the severity of the collision.

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After Mapp was carted off United continued to defend in numbers and held the Impact without any real game-tying chances. In addition to their defensive effort, substitute Miguel Aguilar did a fantastic job of killing of time with a number of great challenges to win balls including one 30-second sequence in which he skinned every Impact defender in sight as they struggled to take the ball off the precocious rookie who was making his MLS debut.

United easily saw out the extended injury time, due to Mapp’s gruesome injury, and got themselves their first opening day win since beating Columbus in 2011.

Silva hat trick propels United into first place at World Cup break

Luis Silva’s first-half hat trick pushed D.C. United to a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Impact at  soggy Stade De Saputo tonight in Montreal, Canada. The win for United (7-4-4 25 points) vaulted them past the idle New England Revolution and into first place heading into a two-week break for the World Cup which starts tomorrow afternoon in Brazil.

Silva, starting in place of injured Designated Player Eddie Johnson, got United off to a quick start in the 6th minute after receiving a nice through ball from Fabian Espindola and putting the ball between the legs of former United goalkeeper Troy Perkins. Espindola, who had three assists on the night, almost didn’t make it past the opening kickoff when he was inexplicably chopped down by Impact midfielder Felipe Martins literally three seconds into the match.

United’s talisman limped to the sidelines but shook off the nasty challenge and led United on a four-goal outburst that matched their season-high for goals in a game (4-1 win over FC Dallas on April 26th). More importantly it was a key road win for the Black-and-Red as they face a road-heavy league schedule after league play starts back up at the end of June.

After the great start for United, the Impact drew level in the 12th minute through Jack McInerney. McInerney has feasted on United in his short MLS career and added his second goal against them this season when United defender Bobby Boswell was a bit too lax in closing him down and his angled shot beat goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to the far post. Dykstra was a replacement for Bill Hamid who suffered a slight knock in United’s less than enthralling 0-0 draw against Columbus this past Saturday night at FedEx Field.

United then fell behind in the 21st minute when some sloppy defending allowed the home side to take the 2-1 lead. Andres Romero did a good job weaving his way through a number of United players but his run through heavy traffic seemed destined to fall short when a toe-poke from Perry Kitchen sent the ball to United defender Sean Franklin. Franklin however displayed an uncharacteristic heavy touch which allowed Romero to swoop in and reclaim the ball and after a deke to his left, his near-post shot got by Dykstra.

Undaunted, United equalized just two minutes later when Espindola’s pass from the left flank curled perfectly into the path of Nick DeLeon to side foot into the goal for his first tally of the season.

After that point it was the Luis Silva show. United reclaimed the lead in the 39th minute when an errant pass was picked off by Espindola and his bungled touch fortunately fell into the path of Silva. Silva took off towards goal and the Montreal defense was most likely thinking that he would pass the ball to Espindola who was making his way towards the penalty area to Silva’s right. However, the now-confident Silva smoothly curled a shot from 25-yards out that Perkins could only get a finger to before it settled into the net.

Silva punctuated his performance with a stoppage-time penalty kick conversion after rookie defender Steve Birnbaum was hauled down in the area by Hassoun Camara during a corner kick. Silva stepped up and blasted his shot to Perkin’s right to give United what would be the final goal in a wet and wild 4-2 first-half.

After the break head coach Ben Olsen made the precautionary and smart move of subbing off Espindola who has easily been United’s best player through the first 15 games of the MLS season. Conor Doyle came on and encapsulated the all-out team effort to press the ball and not allow the Impact to dictate the second-half tempo.

United seemed to have stemmed the tide but a penalty called against Davy Arnaud in the 75th minute for a hand ball sent the nerves jangling a bit. However, a bit of fortune was with United on this night as Patrice Bernier’s penalty rang off the post and then the shoulder of Dykstra and somehow managed to roll over the end line for a corner. With that disaster averted the final 15 minutes was an exercise in patience and keep-away for United as they frustrated the Impact and walked out with a well deserved win.

United now will take a little time off before they play an Open Cup match in Rochester on Tuesday, June 17th against the Rhinos. If United advances against the third-division USL side, they will host a home match at the Soccerplex in Boyds, Maryland most likely against the New England Revolution in July.

United will return to league action on Saturday, June 28th when they host MLS’ other division leaders – the Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium at 7pm EST.

Episode 142 – The Talent is Back

Join the guys on this special edition of the UnitedMania.com podcast. The boys talk about DC United’s past three matches, including the draw vs Montreal, the win against Houston, and the road loss to the New England Revolution. The guys also touch base on the US Men’s National Team and the noted omissions from the 23 man roster.

It's been a rough week for Eddie Johnson. Photo: Tony Quinn.

Johnson’s late goal salvages 1-1 draw with Montreal

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 from Eddie Johnson. Photo Tony Quinn.

United persistence finally paid off in the 84th minute with the game-tying goal from Eddie Johnson. Photo Tony Quinn.

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.

United vs Montreal: United still winless on the road after 2-1 loss in Montreal

Marco Di Vaio broke out of a six-week scoring drought with both goals for Montreal in their 2-1 win tonight over D.C. United at Stade Saputo in Montreal, Canada. The loss for United brings their road record to 0-9-3 on the season with only 3 goals scored in those matches.

Di Vaio scored in the final minute of the first half to give Montreal the lead after a non-call for handball by referee Ismail Elfath in front of the Montreal penalty area was ignored and play moved on. The Impact swiftly moved up field and in spite of the non-call, United appeared to have plenty of numbers in the area to defend Justin Mapp’s cross. However a clever dummy run from Felipe took two United defenders out on the play and Di Vaio curled a one-time shot into the upper corner past Bill Hamid for a 1-0 lead at the half.

United started off the match very poorly with a number of self-inflicted wounds defensively that should have seen the Black-and-Red down by at least a goal inside of the first ten minutes. Hamid came up big on a one-v-one save opportunity deep in the penalty area to keep United even with Montreal. After that harrowing first ten minutes, United settled into the match and started to create a few opportunities of their own the best of which came off the foot of captain Dwayne De Rosario in the 38th minute. Perry Kitchen forced a turnover in midfield and fed Porter who’s one-time pass met DeRo in stride heading towards goal . Former United goalkeeper Troy Perkins was quick off his line to cut down the angle and force De Ro’s chip attempt over the bar.

After the break it was the visitors who were starting to dominate the run of play. United had multiple opportunities to level the match but their season-long bugaboo of not finishing off sequences with any quality was starting to rear it’s ugly head once again.

After a truly bizarre sequence in the 72nd minute that saw both head coaches sent off by Elfath, United did finally find their equalizer in the 81st minute. Substitute Conor Doyle scored his second goal of the season (both against Montreal) after a nice feed from Luis Silva and United thought they at least had a very hard earned point. However, just two minutes later, another season-long anchor around the neck of the leagues poorest team allowed the home side to take the victory.

A seemingly harmless ball was put over the top to Di Vaio down the left-side channel into the penalty area. United defender Dejan Jakovic was step-for-step with Di Vaio but inexplicably allowed Di Vaio to easily cut  to his preferred right peg and then the Italian curled his shot again into the upper corner past Hamid for the game-winner.

United now will have a rare opportunity to host another struggling side when Toronto FC comes to RFK Stadium next Saturday night at 7pm.

Luis Silva scored the opener in the 19th minute and jumped to the team lead with 3 goals from his 3 matches with United.

United vs Montreal: Doyle is the difference in United’s 3-1 win over Impact

Youth has been served at RFK Stadium

Conor Doyle scored the game-winning goal and unselfishly provided the assist for the insurance goal in D.C. United’s 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact tonight at soggy RFK Stadium. United won for only the third time this season and it was a trio or recent acquisitions that pushed all the buttons tonight. Luis Silva (above – Photo: Chris Bannon) scored the opener in the 19th minute and jumped to the team lead with 3 goals from his 3 matches with United. Chris Pontius was the last United player to score in three straight matches when he did it just over a year ago.

After an equalizing goal Jeb Brovsky from the Impact at the start of the second half, it was substitute Conor Doyle that made the difference in the match. Just minutes after entering for captain Dwayne De Rosario, Doyle made a near post run deep in the penalty area in the 68th minute and met James Riley’s cross perfectly and touched it between the legs of former United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to give United a rare second-half lead. With the Impact throwing numbers forward, United sealed the match in stoppage time when debutant Collin Martin fed Doyle on a long solo run with no from Montreal in sight. With Perkins bearing down on him, Doyle pushed a pass into the path of Jared Jeffrey who slotted into the open net to seal United’s most impressive win of the season.

The go-ahead goal from Doyle marked the first time this season that a United substitute had scored a goal and the final margin of victory was the first time United had held a two-goal lead at any point. The night couldn’t have worked out any better for head coach Ben Olsen. Olsen took off his three most influential players in De Rosario (64th minute), Silva (69th minute) and Nick DeLeon (76th minute) with an eye on their Wednesday night U.S. Open Cup semi-final match up at the Chicago Fire. Their substitutes were Doyle, Sainey Nyassi and Martin respectively and all three played a major part in extending what was then a tied match at the time of De Rosario’s substitution.

Unite will now hope to carry the confidence of their best performance of a dismal season into Toyota Park next Wednesday evening. The match will kick off at 8:30pm EST and will be streamed live at www.dcunited.com

United will return to league action next Saturday night in Philadelphia to take on the Union at PPL Park.

United Notes

  • United may have made MLS history tonight when they had four Homegrown Players listed on their bench on their 18-man roster. Bill Hamid, Ethan White, Conor Shanosky and Collin Martin made the game-day squad
  • Chris Pontius, John Thorrington (rested for Open Cup match), Carlos Ruiz and Casey Townsend were the major first team players that were left off the roster tonight. Lionard Pajoy will be out for about 6 weeks after hernia surgery earlier this week

Disney Pro Soccer Classic: United and Montreal play to 1-1 draw

D.C. United and the Montreal Impact played to a 1-1 draw this afternoon in the final match of group play in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Trialist Kyle Porter improved his chances of making United’s squad with a well taken goal in the 85th minute to level the match after a wonder bicycle kick goal from Montreal’s Andrea Pisanu in the 16th minute.

With the draw, Montreal moves on to the Championship match next weekend of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic to face most likely the Columbus Crew who have been runaway leaders of their group so far this week.

The draw for United will put them in either the 3rd Place or 5th Place match next weekend depending on the result of the Sporting Kansas City/Tampa Bay Rowdies match later this evening. A draw or a loss by Sporting will put United in the 3rd place match.

Montreal took the lead in the 16th minute on a breathtaking finish from Italian import Andrea Pisanu. Pisanu, on loan to Montreal from Serie A squad Bologna, took advantage of a deflected cross off the back of United defender Daniel Woolard and biked his shot over Bill Hamid for the lead.

United, starting the same squad from Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, pressed on and created a few half-chances but the teams went to the locker room with Montreal leading 1-0.

After the break United started piling on the pressure yet very few chances came of their good possession play. Chris Pontius had a shot blister over the bar from 18-yards out just past the hour mark right before Ben Olsen made a complete changeover with his squad in the 76th minute.

Even with a mostly entire new team on the field, it didn’t take long for the Black-and-Red to equalize. In the 85th minute, the Impact were lax in an easy defensive clearance and United too full advantage. Porter beat the unsuspecting Montreal Impact to the bouncing ball from the failed clearance and it found it’s way to fellow trialist Marcos Sanchez. The Panamanian scuffed a pass into the path of United young Designated Player Rafael and his toe-poke fell into the path of Porter. The Canadian unleashed a rocket just inside the penalty area with his weaker right foot and the ball flew past former United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to level the match at 1-1.

The remainder of the match was played out without any real chances from both sides.

United will have to wait and see whom their opponent will be next Saturday afternoon. In the meantime, United will play a match against the Philadelphia Union midweek before wrapping up their preseason journey in Orlando next Saturday.

United will then return to the DC area for a few days before heading off to Houston to play their MLS regular season opener on March 2nd.

United vs Montreal: Impact turn the tables in 3-0 win over United

It’s almost a carbon copy.

On June 30th, the Montreal Impact came to RFK Stadium in the midst of a lot of matches in a short amount of time. They too also made a lot of changes to their lineup to rest some weary legs. The result was a 3-0 loss to D.C. United.

Fast forward two months and United were in the same boat and predictably the same result came about in their 3-0 loss to the Montreal Impact this afternoon in Montreal, Canada. You could have made a bet in sports betting sites and come out ahead. Ben Olsen made four changes to his lineup, including top goalscorers Chris Pontius and Dwayne De Rosario and United could not recover from a contentious penalty kick decision early in the second half that paved the way for the easy win for Montreal.

Patrice Bernier scored twice after Marco Di Vaio’s 24th minute opener to help pace the Canadian side. Montreal is now just one point out of the fifth and final playoff spot currently occupied by United. However, United does have the scant comfort of having three games in hand.

United went into this match on a four-game road losing streak and Olsen made what will surely be a very highly scrutinized decision to make multiple changes to his winning lineup from this past Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Chicago. However, with 5 matches in a 14 day stretch, key players would have to get some rest at some point and Olsen decided today was that day. For the first twenty minutes, it seemed  a prudent decision as neither team threatened goal. However a United mistake in defense allowed Montreal to score the opener in the 24th minute. Marco Di Vaio, who at this point had already been whistled for offside four times, got behind a United offside trap but new defender Mike Chabala didn’t get the memo and he kept the Italian onside and his curling shot from 12 yards easily beat Bill Hamid.

United got to the break in decent shape only allowing that singular opportunity. However just fives minutes into the second half an iffy penalty was whistled against defender Emiliano Dudar. Dudar went in with what appeared a perfectly legal shoulder charge in the box against Impact midfielder Colin Warner but the referee decided to point to the spot. Bernier converted his league-leading sixth penalty kick of the season and United were in big trouble.

Olsen brought on Branko Boskovic, Pontius and De Rosario and the offense perked up but nothing came of it except for one chance where former United goalkeeper Toy Perkins made a very good save on a goal bound effort from Marcelo Saragosa and then United had a goal called back when it was judged to be a foul on Pontius interfering with Perkins. Replays sh0wed Pontius was shoved into the goalkeeper who had initially mishandled the ball.

Bernier sealed United’s fate when his long run and eventual shot deflected off the boot of Brandon McDonald and past the already committed Hamid an into the empty net.

United must now pick themselves up from yet another pitiful road result and try to gain those points back against Red Bull on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium