Fabian Espindola scored twice and set up another goal in D.C. United’s 4-1 dismantling of league-leading FC Dallas tonight at RFK Stadium. Photo: Tony Quinn.
Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin also scored for United as they put their collective foot on the pedal and rolled past the visitors from Texas. The win helps United jump into a temporary tie at the top of the Eastern Conference with Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City. Toronto FC has the weekend off while Sporting is on the road in New England. United is also on a five-game unbeaten run since losing their first two matches of the season.
FC Dallas opened the scoring against the run of play in the 13th minute with a beautiful combination play that left the Black-and-Red helpless. Striker Fabian Castillo cut in from the left flank and found Blas Perez just inside the area. The big Panamanian one-timed his pass to the onrushing Mauro Diaz and his fake at the top of the area cleared his path towards goal and left Bill Hamid with no chance and FC Dallas was ahead 1-0.
However, the tone of the match completely changed when FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card after his studs up challenge on Davy Arnaud in the 39th minute. Unlike last week when United went up a man in the 81st minute with the lead against Columbus, United made the opposition pay with a beautiful equalizer in first-half stoppage time. Nick DeLeon (team-leading 3 assists so far this season) slipped a pass to Eddie Johnson on the right wing and his inch-perfect whipped cross met Espindola at the back post and his header leveled the match at 1-1 just as the half came to a close.
After the restart, it was all United as they held a 68-32% possession advantage. Already down a man, FC Dallas was forced to bunker in and try to keep United at bay. Defending is not exactly the forte of FC Dallas and United made them pay in a big way. Eddie Johnson came off with a slight hamstring twinge but it did not slow down the Black-and-Red. United took the lead in the 60th minute after some good work along the end line by Espindola. His cross was met by a wicked side volley from substitute Conor Doyle but former University of Maryland goalkeeper Chris Seitz did well to save the blast but it landed right into the path of Boswell and his left-footed shot ripped the net to give United the 2-1 lead.
Not done just yet with their barrage United increased the lead to 3-1 in the 64th minute on one of the prettiest plays by United at RFK in a long long time. Espindola managed to somehow juke his way through two FC Dallas defenders and made his way towards goal along the end line. His chipped cross into the goal mouth was met with a perfectly timed left-footed side foot finish by Franklin and the game for all intents and purposes was over.
United were not done however and added a fourth goal in the 69th minute. Chris Rolfe’s hard work along the left flank opened up a sliver of space in the penalty area for Espindola. The Argentine received the pass with his favored left foot and popped it forward in the air. Without hesitation Espindola laced the ball before it hit the ground and past the diving Seitz for the last goal of the game.
United, incidentally enough, beat FC Dallas 4-1 two years ago at RFK to help jump start their season. United will now have to take their new found confidence on the road to Portland next weekend when they face the desperate yet struggling Timbers. That match will be at 10:30 EST on Comcast SportsNet