Rolfe celebrates. Photo Tony Quinn.

United defeats New England 2-0 for first win of the season

Recently acquired Chris Rolfe scored United’s “insurance” goal late in the second half to give the Black-and-Red their first win and shutout of the season in a very stable defensive performance. Photo Tony Quinn.

D.C. United received some good fortune and then produced a world-class buildup for the insurance goal in second-half stoppage time in their 2-0 defeat of the New England Revolution tonight at RFK Stadium. The win snapped a club-record 15 game winless streak for United going all the way back to August of 2013.

Chris Rolfe, acquired via trade this past Wednesday, scored that late goal on his debut with United as the Black-and-Red put forth a very stable defensive performance to garner their first shutout of the season. United had given up six goals in its first three league matches heading into tonight’s match up and was without the services of Bill Hamid in goal, resting after a toe injury while with the National Team during the week. Andrew Dykstra stepped in for Hamid and had very little to do as the Revolution only managed one shot on goal throughout the match.

United took the lead in the 43rd minute with the benefit of some good luck when Cristian’s cross from the left flank was inexplicably turned into the goal by Revs reigning MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves. Both teams struggled to put any credible chances on goal in the first half aside from the blunder that afforded United the 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

After the break, it was more of the same as both teams struggled to break each other down. United, strangely enough, had a number of opportunities to strike on goal but Eddie Johnson failed to pull the trigger on one occasion and Nick DeLeon made a pair of marauding runs seemingly through the entire Revolution team only to see his last decision on the ball be the wrong one.

Meanwhile, United’s defense held strong and with the Revs pouring players forward, United scored one of the prettier goals in recent memory to seal the deal. Cristian started the sequence by skillfully pulling down a wayward up field attempt from the Revs and hit substitute Conor Doyle in stride in the Revolution’s defensive half. With most United players pulled back defensively, Doyle managed to hold on to the ball between three Revs defenders before spotting Fabian Espindola on the left flank. Espindola took one touch before whipping in a ball that curled just inches over the head of Goncalves right to Rolfe running into the penalty area and skillfully volleyed the ball past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

With the win, United jumped out of last place in the Eastern Conference and ahead of next week’s opponent, the New York Red Bulls who come to town next Saturday night at 7pm. The Red Bulls managed a 2-2 draw in Montreal this afternoon in spite of Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Jamison Olave all staying home and avoiding the Field Turf surface north of the border.

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