Washington, D.C., May 9, 2015 – Jairo Arrieta’s first half goal staked D.C. United to a late first-half lead against the run of play but that was not enough to hold up as Sporting Kansas City equalized just two minutes later as the teams played to a 1-1 draw tonight at RFK Stadium. Photo: Martin Fernandez.
United (5-1-3, 18 points) jumped back into a tie at the top of the Eastern Conference with the New England Revolution who briefly jumped ahead of the Black-and-Red by virtue of their 2-2 draw last night in Orlando.
Arrieta, filling in for an injured Fabian Espindola, scored his second goal of the season finishing off a nice set up from Chris Pontius in the 43rd minute. With the visitors claiming most of the possession and scoring chances up to this point, it was the hustle of Perry Kitchen that set United into the lead.
Kitchen’s high pressure forced a bad turnover that seconds later made it back to him and he sent a diagonal ball to the far side of the box where Pontius chested the ball down and cut the ball back directly into the path of Arrieta who beat Sporting defender Matt Besler to the pass and side-footed the shot inside the far post.
However, United fell asleep just two minutes later and Sporting equalized through Dom Dwyer’s cool finish just before the halftime whistle, much to the dismay of head coach Ben Olsen.
After the break United seized control of the match and created numerous chances to take the lead but could never find that final ball or final pass to put away their former Eastern Conference foes.
A big key to the match was the surprising exclusion of Fabian Espindola due to a knock received during the Columbus match last weekend. Espindola came to training through the week sporting significant bruising and just wasn’t able to go. Olsen said after the match that the team is being cautious with Espindola and other players and not rushing them back into the lineup, even though a heavy crush of games awaits the squad through the remainder of May.
United will end their three-game home stand when they entertain Orlando City SC on Wednesday night at 8pm. This match will be televised nationally on ESPN2