United’s 5-goal second half key their 6-4 win over Real Salt Lake

Washington, D.C., August 1, 2015 – D.C. United scored five second-half goals on their way to an historic 6-4 win this evening over Real Salt Lake at RFK Stadium.

Chris Rolfe (above, photo: Martin Fernandez) led the way with two goals for the Black and Red as United (12-7-5, 41 points) further cemented their lead atop the Eastern Conference with their mind-boggling seventh come-from-behind win on the season. Just like last week United were behind by a goal inside of 90 seconds. Joao Plata scored through a thicket of players to the far post to put the visitors up 1-0.

With visions of last week’s 2-0 deficit against the Philadelphia Union streaming through their heads, United couldn’t believe they were reliving history. With a special emphasis on better starts in training all week, it was inconceivable to repeat their mistake from a week prior. Even worse, they fell behind by 2-0 in the 21st minute when Arundel High School’s very own Kyle Beckerman doubled the advantage with his long-range bomb off the far post.

Normally this would be enough for most teams to see their way to an unexpected loss but this version of D.C. United is a completely unique mystery at times. Chris Rolfe began the rally with some great individual work in stealing the ball of the feet of “All-Star” Tony Beltran and bending a wicked shot to the far post in the 42nd minute to give United some semblance of belief that they can pull off another two-goal rally for the second consecutive week.

After the break all Hell broke loose as both teams combined to score seven goals. Rolfe stepped up to convert a penalty kick after Bobby Boswell was wrestled to the ground in the penalty area by an RSL defender. Referee Boldomero Toledo pointed to the spot and Rolfe roofed his spot kick for his team-leading 8th goal of the season. Just five minutes later United claimed their first lead of the night when defender Taylor Kemp unleashed a rocket from 23 yards away that gave RSL goalkeeper Jeff Antinella no hope of stopping.

Not to be undone however the visitors came right back and leveled the match at 3-3 in the 62nd minute when RSL defender Aaron Maund out dueled Steve Birnbaum inside the goal box and headed in a Javier Morales free kick to the right of United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.

The goals were now coming thick and fast and United once again took the lead inside of 60 seconds when Fabian Espindola finally capped off a wild sequence in front of goal. The play started when Alvaro Saborio received the ball deep in the penalty area and then the former RSL man completely juked Maund to the ground and curled a goal-bound shot to the far post. However Antinella got a fingertip to the ball to keep it out when mad scramble in front of the open goal at the far post resulted in an Espindola last gasp touch to push the ball over the goal line.

Incredibly though RSL came back to tie the score in the 68th minute when Morales found Abdoulie Mansally on the far post and the former striker-now defender embraced his forward roots and roofed a shot from a tight angle over the head of Dykstra to tie the match at 4-4.

With the crowd of 17, 288 in stunned disbelief in what they were witnessing, United turned it up a few notches and put the game away for good in the 79th minute. United had won a corner kick opportunity after a brilliant one-two display from Saborio and Espindola as they split open the RSL defense with a series of moves that had the stadium buzzing. With RSL a bit unsettled, they failed to pay attention to Kemp who received the quick pass from Espindola’s corner and then sent in one of his now textbook crosses that met the head of Perry Kitchen to easily beat Antinella for his third goal of the season and the eventual game-winning goal.

With RSL now pushing forward in hopes of an equalizer, and who could blame them considering how the crazy match was unfolding, it was United’s best player on the night Nick DeLeon saving the best for last. DeLeon, flush with confidence after his goal last week snapped a year-long drought, unleashed a left-footed curling blast into the far side netting from 22 yards in the 85th minute that sent the stadium into delirium. Not only was this the best goal of DeLeon’s career, it was arguably his most influential performance since his game-winning goal to eliminate Red Bull from the 2012 playoffs.

United easily saw out the remaining minutes of what can only be classified as one of the most entertaining games in the 60-year history of RFK Stadium. This game will go on the short list right beside the 1997 MLS Cup win over the Colorado Rapids and the 2004 Eastern Conference Final win over the New England Revolution on penalty kicks that vaulted United to the last of their four MLS Cup titles.

Can this game signify something similar? How could anyone know the answer to that but this club this season are defying all the odds and it could very well be a possibility come this December.

Hamid points

United drop second straight match with 1-0 loss in Orlando

Orlando, Florida, June 14, 2015 – D.C. United has reached the midway point of the 2015 MLS season in first place, but tonight’s 1-0 loss to Orlando City SC at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida suggests something other than tangible progress as the Black-and-Red dropped their second game in a row.

Armed with a four-point lead in the Eastern Conference over the New England Revolution, United (8-5-5, 28 points) still has played at least two more games than most of their conference opponents to this point in the season. With a seemingly rare full week of training and rest for United, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference as they wilted in the heat and humidity in Central Florida.

Orlando City (5-5-5, 20 points) jumped into third place in the East by virtue of their win tonight and are on a 5-game unbeaten run. Kaka, the man who runs the show in Orlando for the Lions was the difference maker this evening though in controversial fashion. In the 28th minute United defender Taylor Kemp was adjudged to have fouled Orlando City forward Pedro Ribeiro who was chasing down a failed clearance from Steve Birnbaum after Bill Hamid had just pulled off a stunning save on Ribeiro.

The controversy doesn’t lie in the penalty call from referee Jose Carlos Rivero as much as a clear non-call on a high foot right in the face of Davy Arnaud from Ribeiro just seconds before he took his shot on Hamid. That non-call began the fateful sequence of events that ultimately ended up with Kaka heading in his own penalty-saved shot off of a save from Hamid to give the home side a 1-0 lead before a sweaty and raucous crowd of 30,054 fans.

United had plenty of time to turn the deficit around as United are MLS’ best team in doing so (4-4-1 when giving up the first goal this season) and felt they should have had the opportunity to do so in the final minute of the first half. On a rare United corner kick, midfielder Perry Kitchen was essentially rugby tackled from behind by Orlando City fullback Luke Boden at the penalty spot but Rivero either didn’t notice the play or simply refused to give United a penalty claim.

After the break it was United who took it to the Lions by pushing numbers up into attack but as has been the case for a great deal of the season, United couldn’t get any quality looks on goal or the necessary service to level the match. The best of United’s chances was a Conor Doyle drive that he sliced just past the far post late in the match after being set up beautifully by Fabian Espindola. United only had two shots on goal for the match and both of them came from long distance and never really threatened Orlando City goalkeeper Tally Hall.

With the loss, United now has fallen on their worst patch of play of the season. Not surprising considering the amount of games the team has had to play in the past six weeks. United is 2-4-1 in their last seven matches and are in danger of being caught by the rest of the Eastern Conference. The task of turning around their league form begins next Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Revolution to RFK Stadium for a nationally televised (ESPN2) match on Fathers Day at 5pm.

Before that however United will play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in U.S. Open Cup play on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. It is expected that Ben Olsen will send his reserves to this match in order to rest up his players for the league match on Sunday.


United Notes

  • Chris Pontius (hip), Sean Franklin (ankle), Michael Farfan (hamstring) and Facundo Coria (unknown ailment) all remained back in DC and did not make the trip to Florida
  • Markus Halsti was with Finland over the weekend as they lost 1-0 to Hungary in a Euro 2016 qualifier. Halsti is expected to be back in D.C. by Tuesday. It’s unknown whether he will be included on the bus that will travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night for their 4th Round match up with the Riverhounds in the U.S. Open Cup
DC United's Chris Rolfe (18) keeps the ball away from Philadelphia's Vincent Nogueira during the second half of their team's match at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. United defeated the Union 2-1 with a Penalty Kick goal from Chris Rolfe. Photo Martin Fernandez.

Rolfe’s late PK is game-winner in 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union

Washington, D.C, May 30, 2015 – Chris Rolfe’s 85th minute penalty kick conversion pushed D.C. United to a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the Philadelphia Union in front of 16,284 sweaty fans tonight at RFK Stadium.

After giving up a 5th minute goal for the second game running, it was looking like D.C. United was heading for a fourth consecutive match without a victory. However, Chris Pontius’ stoppage-time goal in the first half leveled the match and Rolfe’s spot kick conversion turned the match around for the Black-and-Red.

Sebastian Le Toux’s goal just five minutes into the match gave the visitors the shock lead. United defender Steve Birnbaum was a bit casual in clearing a ball deep in the penalty area and he coughed the ball up to Andrew Wenger. Wenger quickly slipped the ball to his right where a wide-open Le Toux hammered his shot past an onrushing Bill Hamid for the 1-0 lead.

The Union should have doubled their lead midway through the first half but Wenger’s left-footed drive from 15 yards beat Hamid but crashed off the crossbar before being cleared out by United’s scrambling defense.

The Union were made to pay for that miss in stoppage time when Taylor Kemp’s pinpoint cross met Chris Pontius who’s powerful header snapped past Union goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre to level the match. For Kemp it was his team-leading 4th assist of the season but he would limp off with a suspected groin injury late in the match. Pontius’ goal was his second of the season.

After the break, both teams traded patches of possession with neither team really coming close to scoring until the final fifteen minutes of the match.

Just a minute before Rolfe was sent to the penalty spot, Nick DeLeon hit a thunderbolt that was ticketed for the near side upper netting that was well saved by Silvestre to keep the teams at 1-1. This was DeLeon’s first appearance since injuring his hamstring against Columbus at the begging of May.

Chris Korb, on for the injured Kemp, sent a diagonal ball to the far side of the penalty area when Philadelphia substitute Zach Pfeffer seemed to inadvertently handle the cross. The linesman immediately signaled the infraction and Rolfe stepped up and sent his penalty kick to the right of Sylvestre and send United to their first win since a 2-1 win over Orlando City SC on May 13th.

From there United easily kept the visitors at bay save for a close call when C.J. Sapong’s header in the 90th minute looped just over the crossbar.

With United in the midst of a 5 game in 14 day stretch of games, head coach Ben Olsen once again moved his lineup around.

Rolfe, Pontius, Davy Arnaud and Sean Franklin were all left in D.C. this past week as the team took a lighter roster out for their eventual 1-0 loss in Portland on Wednesday night.

With another match on Wednesday at home against the Chicago Fire and another match next Saturday night against Toronto FC, Olsen did confirm that more roster rotation will happen to help alleviate the crush of matches.

Wednesday night’s match will be televised live on CSN at 7pm.

Jairo Arrieta

United salvages a point against undiscplined Revolution; remain top of the East

Foxborough, Massachusetts, May 23, 2015 – Jairo Arrieta’s 80th minute goal salvaged a precious point for D.C. United in their topsy-turvy 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution tonight.

New England (5-3-5, 20 points) had two men sent off within minutes of each other early in the second half but the Black-and-Red could only muster that lone goal despite parking their team in the Rev’s half of the field for the remaining 30 minutes after Chris Tierney and Lee Nguyen were sent off in the 52nd and 58th minutes respectively. Tierney was shown a straight red for a studs up swipe on the shin bone of Chris Pontius. Six minutes later Lee Nguyen saw a second yellow card for a nasty elbow to Davy Arnaud. Don’t be surprised if Nguyen is suspended additional games for the intentional elbow.

United (6-2-4, 22 points) had it all to do with the two-man advantage but first had to overturn their 1-0 deficit courtesy of Charlie Davies first half stoppage-time goal to stake the home side to a deserved 1-0 lead. The Revolution dominated United in the first forty-five minutes before the Davies tap-in after a spectacular save from Bill Hamid on a Juan Agudelo header from a corner kick. United’s defense were slow in reacting to Davies, the former United man who scored 11 goals for the team in 2011.

United offered very little going forward in the first half as head coach Ben Olsen once again made numerous changes to his lineup as the team was playing their 5th match in 21 days. As was the case this past Sunday night in Philadelphia, United were lethargic and disconnected in the final third of the field. Add in the numerous injuries that have cropped up over the past few weeks and it was surprising to see them chasing a quality side like New England on their terrible Field Turf surface.

However, all that changed in the second half with the quite frankly boneheaded decision making by the Revolution with the sending offs of two of their top players in Tierney and Nguyen. Forced to scramble to cover for the ejections, Jay Heap’s team had no choice but to batten down the hatches and hope United’s futility in front of goal continued. Up to the point of the second sending off, United had gone 150 minutes without even registering a shot on goal going back to Sunday night.

United did persevere and gained the equalizer thanks once again to some astute substitutions from Olsen. Chris Korb had started at left back mostly to combat the dangerous Teal Bunbury on the the Revs right flank. However, once the home side were down to ten men, the efficiency and dangerous quality of Taylor Kemp’s cultured left foot was the way to go and Olsen made the move. Just a few minutes later he gave a United debut to another left-footer Facundo Coria, acquired just a few days earlier from Argentinos Juniors.

In the 80th minute both of those moves paid off in a big way. Davy Arnaud began the play by scooping a loose ball up out of midfield and quickly shifted it to his left to Coria. Coria then sent Kemp down the left flank and as the former University of Maryland defender approached the bi-line, he squared a pass across the goal mouth where Arrieta easily ghosted in behind Revolution defender Andrew Farrell and tapped the ball in near side for his third goal of the season.

United still had to time to grab the game-winner but their overall quality was lacking in getting that final ball in a game-winning position. This was not surprising consider the number of games they are currently forced to play and also the number of different players and combinations that have taken the field for United over the past three weeks. Up next for United it doesn’t get any easier as they now have to travel 3,000 plus miles to the North West to take on the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night. That match will be shown live on CSN at 10:30pm EST


DC United second half substitute Chris Rolfe beats Orlando City's second half sub Tyler Turner to the ball. The shot would give United the in over Orlando City to extend the Black-and-Red's unbeaten streak to 8 games. Photo: Martin Fernandez.

Substitutes key comeback as United down Orlando City 2-1

Washington, D.C., May 13, 2015 – “Better late then never” was the phrase bandied about in the Press Box tonight as D.C. United came from behind to defeat expansion side Orlando City SC 2-1 before 12,532 fans at RFK Stadium tonight.

Kofi Opare and Chris Rolfe scored nine minutes apart late in the second half to turn around an 11th minute deficit to extend the Black-and-Red’s unbeaten run to 8 matches in league play and an astounding 18 games unbeaten in all competitions going back to June of 2014. With the win United (6-1-3, 21 points) vaulted to the top of the Eastern Conference and all of MLS with the win. Orlando City (2-5-3, 9 points) remain in a three-way tie for fifth place with Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire.

It was the visitors however that would take a surprising lead in the 11th minute. On essentially their first foray into United territory, the Lions took advantage of multiple failed clearances by United’s defense from a free kick as the ball eventually made it to the foot of rookie striker Cyle Larin. The #1 overall pick in the 2015 MLS Superdraft immediately struck the loose ball into the far side netting past a helpless Bill Hamid for the the unexpected 1-0 lead.

United seemed stunned by the goal and continued to play as if in a fog throughout the remainder of the first half. United were easily controlling the tempo but could not put together that final ball to even threaten Orlando City’s goal as United ended up with no shots on goal through the first half.

Part of that could have been the three changes head coach Ben Olsen made to the lineup as he gave starts to Luis Silva (his first of the season), Michael Farfan and Taylor Kemp. As United are in the midst of a three games in eight day stretch, the changes to the lineup made logical sense but the results were not impressive as United struggled to string together any cohesion offensively.

All that changed in the second half when Olsen quickly brought on attackers Chris Rolfe, Jairo Arrieta and Miguel Aguilar. All three players played key roles in setting up and scoring the goals for United. In the 69th minute, it was Aguilar’s fearless run straight at the ineffective Orlando City midfield that drew a foul about 40 yards from goal. Taylor Kemp’s ensuing free kick was expertly lofted to the far post where Kofi Opare out jumped an Orlando City defender and nodded the ball to the far post for his first goal with United and leveled the match at 1-1.

Just nine minutes later United would get the game-winner from arguably the team MVP to this point in the season in Chris Rolfe. Davy Arnaud, who combined with Perry Kitchen to shut down Brazilian Designated Player Kaka all night long, won a ball and pushed it down the right flank to Arrieta who’s right-footed cross bent perfectly around the Orlando City defense where it met the outstretched left leg of Rolfe who redirected the ball past Orlando City goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

From there United easily saw out the remainder of the match easily possessing the ball and giving the visitors very few chances to threaten Hamid and United coasted to the victory.

United now embarks on a three-game road trip beginning Sunday night when they visit the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Union at 7pm EST. This match will be televised live on Fox Sports 1. United will wrap up their difficult road trip with a game against New England on May 23rd and then take on the Portland Timbers on short rest (and 3,000 miles away) on Wednesday, May 27th before returning home for a rematch against Philadelphia at RFK on May 30th.

United Notes

  • Midfielder/Defender Markus Halsti made the 18-man roster for the first time this season but did not make an appearance. Olsen stated after the match that Halsti stood a good chance of getting big minutes over the weekend against the Philadelphia Union.
  • Fabian Espindola did not make the 18-man roster for the second straight match after picking up a knock against the Columbus Crew SC ten days ago. His status is still day-to-day.
  • United pulled off their second win of the season after giving up the first goal. United only won one match all of last season after giving up the first goal

Perry Kitchen (pictured) rises above the fray to score the first of his two goals tonight against Red Bull. Photo: Martin Fernandez.

United squanders two-goal lead in 2-2 draw with Red Bulls

Perry Kitchen (pictured) rises above the fray to score the first of his two goals tonight against Red Bull. Photo: Martin Fernandez.

No one is denying the fortune that has come D.C. United’s way through the first five weeks of the season. Back-to-back stoppage-time wins in the past two weeks have painted over some issues, particularly on the offensive side of things through the opening five weeks of the MLS campaign.

Tonight however the visiting New York Red Bulls flipped the script and grabbed a stoppage-time goal to secure a two-goal comeback in tonight’s 2-2 draw with United before 16,304 fans at RFK Stadium.

Lloyd Sam, quickly ascending to the top of the United Killers list, pounced on a Bill Hamid spill of a Sacha Kjlestan free kick from 30 yards away in the 91st minute to spoil what had been United’s best 90-minute performance of the season.

Perry Kitchen bagged both of United’s goals on the night, the first via a Taylor Kemp corner kick in the 26th minute and then a 23-yard laser to beat Luis Robles in the 67th minute to stake United to it’s first two-goal lead of the season.

That feeling lasted all of sixty seconds as United (3-1-1, 10 points) allowed Red Bull (2-0-2, 8 points) to cut the lead in half when defender Damien Perrinelle went relatively unchallenged to head home a corner kick of his own.

United seemed to have squelched the Red Bull comeback until a Luis Silva foul in the 89th minute set up the game-tying sequence. Kjlestan stepped up and hit a dipping shot over the wall that normally would be handled easily by a goalkeeper of Bill Hamid’s stature, however Hamid spilled the shot in front of goal and Sam beat Taylor Kemp to the ball and slammed it home for his second goal against United this season. Sam has scored three goals in four league games against United going back to late last season.

Even with the disappointing finish, United remains alone atop the Eastern Conference and welcome former conference foes the Houston Dynamo to town next Saturday night. Additionally, it will be the last game for Fabian Espindola to serve his six-game suspension imposed by the league for his physical confrontation with an official as United were eliminated by Red Bull last November.

Espindola will be a welcomed face to the lineup when they travel to Vancouver in two weeks time.

Houston hex is kaput as United take 3-1 win in Texas

D.C. United all but assured their Eastern Conference title with their first-ever win in Houston, 3-1 this afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Taylor Kemp’s first half rocket gave United it’s first-ever lead in the state of Texas against the Dynamo and the Black-and-Red also added goals from Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson in the second half to finally end an 8-year drought in Houston.

With the win, United only needs a draw themselves in their two remaining matches (at home vs Chicago and away to Montreal) or have second-place teams Sporting Kansas City or New England not win either or their two remaining matches to complete a highly unlikely worst-to-first situation.

Although the result was fantastic for United some bad news did come their way when forward Luis Silva, arguably United’s most effective player this season, appeared to have pulled a hamstring just minutes after the match was restarted after a first-half weather delay that lasted over an hour. Eddie Johnson subbed in for Silva and then played a major role in their historic win.

After the match was stopped in the 23rd minute due to a lightning thunderstorm, United pressed the issue and took the lead in the 41st minute. Fabian Espindola split the Houston defense and found Chris Pontius bearing down on goal. Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric’s sliding save kept Pontius off the score sheet but the rebound came to Kemp. The second-year defender from the University of Maryland took a steadying touch and unleashed an angled left-footed rocket from 18 yards through a thicket of Dynamo players and ripped the far side netting for his first-ever goal in MLS.

United continued to push forward and doubled their lead in lightning fashion in the 64th minute. United was defending a Houston free kick in their defensive half and before you could look up, United had taken a 2-0 lead. Brad Davis’ free kick flicked off of Espindola and redirected into the penalty area. Sean Franklin quickly cleared the ball up field to Espindola who was in acres of empty space. United’s talisman took off unopposed towards the Dynamo goal and scooped his shot over the hard-charging Deric just as Davis was trying to arrive on the scene. The ball easily slipped into the goal for Espindola’s tenth goal on the season to goal along with his nine assists.

However, after United had multiple chances to extend the lead to 3-0, Houston got back into the game in the 83rd minute when they were awarded a penalty when Franklin had taken down Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark. Englishman Giles Barnes stepped up and sent Bill Hamid the wrong way to cut the lead in half with just about seven minutes left in the match.

With nerves jangling knowing United’s putrid history in Houston (0-11-1 all time in all competitions heading into the match), the Black-and-Red have done what they’ve done virtually all season long – bounce back in a big way. With Houston pushing numbers forward, United caught the home side uneven on numbers as David Estrada starting the game-clinching sequence in the 87th minute. The substitute’s cross field pass from the left flank hit Franklin perfectly in stride as he arrived in the penalty area. Immediately Franklin settled the pass and pushed a delicate pass to Johnson at the penalty spot. The much-maligned striker took a touch and calmly slotted the ball past Deric to give United’s arguably it’s most important goal of the season. The goal was Johnson’s sixth of the season.

United fought off repeated challenges from the pesky Dynamo to scrape back into the game and salted it away officially when Hamid denied Clark from 20 yards out and at that point United finally had beaten the Houston Dynamo in Houston.

United will now turn their attention to their last home game of the season on Saturday night at RFK against the Chicago Fire, again needing only a draw to secure home-field advantage through the Eastern Conference playoffs, and more importantly a spot into the 2015-2016 version of the CONCACAF Champions League group stage next summer.

Second-half surge vaults United to 4-2 win over Colorado

After back-to-back disappointing road losses, D.C. United returned to RFK Stadium fueled by a Luis Silva brace and a 3-goal second-half outburst in their 4-2 win over the Colorado Rapids last night.

Silva’s double was his sixth and seventh goals of the season (career high) and set the tone for an enthralling match that saw both sides attacking at will, particularly in the second half.

Silva got the scoring started in the 13th minute thanks in part to a nice interception by defender Taylor Kemp. Kemp, filling in for injured starter Chris Korb, stepped in front of a slow-reacting Nick LaBrocca and pushed his pass into the path of Silva. With Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin and defender Drew Moor bearing down on him, Silva cut back on the ball and neatly chipped over the prone Irwin to give United the 1-0 lead. Unfortunately on the play, it appeared that Moor injured his right knee and was forced out of the match.

A mostly uneventful half from that point on got more interesting at the stroke of half time when United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was forced to make a reaction save on a close-range shot from Vincente Sanchez.

After the break the game broke wide open with the visitors leveling the match on a stunning goal from midfielder Dillon Serna in the 52nd minute. Hamid’s routine back pass clearance was headed by defender Jared Watts over a much-too-high line from United’s defense and Serna pounced on a bouncing ball and unleashed a 30-yard volley that dipped wickedly over the head of Hamid and into the goal.

Seemingly fueled by the indiscretion, United snapped into action and nearly equalized on numerous occasions, the best being a Fabian Espindol chip-shot off the crossbar with the rebound shot from Sean Franklin being well saved by Irwin. Franklin would also narrowly miss from 22-yards just a few minutes later as well as a Luis Silva bid hitting side-netting after some lovely approach work by Nick DeLeon to set up the chance.

United however would get the go-ahead goal in fine fashion in the 67th minute thanks to more good combination work along the right sideline between Franklin, DeLeon and Perry Kitchen. Franklin started the play pinned against the right sideline by the Rapids defense. His touch pass found DeLeon who one-timed a flick pass over his head to Kitchen who burst into the area. Kitchen somehow managed to push the ball into the path of Franklin who set up Silva to beat Irwin to his right and give United a 2-1 lead.

United increased the lead in the 81st minute when Kemp went on a 60-yard run down the left sideline and his perfectly weighted pass into the penalty area between three Rapids players found Chris Rolfe who expertly side-footed his shot past Irwin.

United were not done yet and pushed the lead to 4-1 in the 86th minute when substitute David Estrada took advantage of a poorly cleared header by Watts and set up Espindola for his team-leading 8th goal. Espindola by all rights should have increased United’s lead even further but his one-v-one attempt on Irwin in stoppage time was well saved.

Colorado would save face just a bit in the 91st when they pulled a goal back through some hard work from Dillon Powers. The second-year man from Notre Dame did well to hold possession in the penalty area and was forced to the end line by United defender Steve Birnbaum. However Powers’ pulled off an audacious chip that somehow stayed in bounds and floated to the far post where Deshorn Brown was waiting to head into the goal.

With the important three points gained after a dreadful fortnight on the road, United now faces their opening match  in the CONCACAF Champions League when they welcome Jamaican side Waterhouse FC into RFK. Waterhouse already has a 2-1 road win over Panamanian side Tauro FC under their belts, just adding to the pressure United has in light of their brutal schedule ahead of them.

After the match on Wednesday, United goes on the road for a Saturday/Wednesday trip to Sporting Kansas City and the Los Angeles Galaxy respectively, two places United has not fared well in their history.


Defensive blunder in stoppage time gifts Houston 1-0 win over United

D.C. United’s horrific history in Houston just got even more outrageous. Houston Dynamo the games only goal in stoppage time thanks mostly to a pair of defensive blunders by D.C. United to secure their first win since early May and to extend their ridiculous ruin of United in Houston to 11 wins and a draw in 12 lifetime matches.

Taylor Kemp’s decision to head back toward goal instead of a routine up field clearance set of a sequence of events that ultimately ended up being the game-winning goal from none other than United-killer Will Bruin. Bruin has now scored 10 goals in 9 career matches against United.

The loss ended United’s four-game winning streak and three-game streak on the road. United didn’t lose much ground however as Sporting Kansas City could only manage a 1-1 draw at home on Friday night against the Philadelphia Union.

United though were second-best to the home side all night long being dominated in corner kicks, shots and shots on goal. United managed to carve out a few half-chances but it was the Dynamo that were pushing forward most of the night.

Bruin had two golden opportunities in the first half to put Houston in front but his two headers didn’t connect. Giles Barnes had the best chance of the night when a turnover at midfield fueled a 3-on-2 counter attack but his angled shot was kick-saved by Bill Hamid, again in fine form.

The domination continued into the second half but the chances were becoming fewer and further between for the Dynamo and it looked like United were all set to take only their second point ever from city of Houston.

But in the 91st minute that all went out the window.

Taylor Kemp, staring for the injured Chris Korb, had a bead on a long ball and inexplicably tried to play it backwards and centrally to Steve Birnbaum. The pass caught the rookie off guard but he got back in time to shield off Bruin from the loose ball. However, as Birnbaum was tracking back, Hamid was coming off his line and he hesitated in the middle of penalty area to see what Birnbaum would do. That hesitation cost United as he inadvertently tripped Birnbaum and the loose ball spilled gratefully to Brian Ownby who centered to Bruin in front of the empty net.

United tried to muster and attack at the end but the mistake was too much to overcome. One would have to think that even the 96′-99′ United teams couldn’t manage to win a game in Houston. The season was as good a chance since Houston came into MLS in 2006 for United to get a win but the song remains the same in Houston.