United fall in stoppage-time 2-1 in Dallas

Frisco, Texas, July 18, 2015 – Fabian Castillo’s goal in the 93rd minute was the game-winner as FC Dallas defeated D.C. United 2-1 tonight at Toyota Stadium in steamy Frisco, Texas.

Playing in hazy and humid conditions, United struggled all night long in dealing with FC Dallas’ seemingly endless attacking and were fortunate not to suffer a heavier scoreline loss if not for some wayward shooting and good goalkeeping from Andrew Dykstra. The home side were on the front foot from the very beginning and dominated nearly every aspect of the game. This was rather disappointing for United as they were just coming off a well-needed 15 day break, but in many ways this may have been the worse team to come back to league play against as the home side were riding a three-game winning streak while United had gone scoreless in their previous two league matches before their break.

Once again head coach Ben Olsen was forced to shuffle his lineup with the suspension of Fabian Espindola and the surgery to Bill Hamid’s knee and wrist. Starting his 21st different lineup in 22 games, United had a tall task ahead of them and those who were expecting a struggle from the Black-and-Red tonight certainly got it. FC Dallas with rapid fire attack led by Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz had United on their heels all night long.

However, it was seldom marked defensive midfielder Kellyn Acosta who proved the biggest thorn in United’s side. Three times the midfielder unleashed shots from outside the area that nearly gave FC Dallas the lead. As the game wore on and the missed chances continued to mount for the home side, the more likely it would seem United could walk out of Dallas with a point. All that seemed to end in the 73rd minute when Acosta got on the end of a scrambling play in the penalty area and converted from two yards out right in front of Dykstra.

It was certainly deserved from FC Dallas as they had unleashed an attacking onslaught rarely seen against United this season. However, in almost typical never-say-die fashion for United this season, they equalized just four minutes later with an own-goal. Left back Taylor Kemp sent a wicked bending cross into the heart of the goalmouth in the direction of Jairo Arrieta. The Costa Rican forward lunged for the ball and missed it but it did ricochet off the knee of FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges and flew past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to level the match at 1-1.

United thought they had escaped with a brutally hard-fought point. They were mistaken as Fabian Castillo broke their spirit with a goal in the 93rd minute. Facundo Coria, a very late substitute, unwisely tried to attach through the FC Dallas defense late in the stoppage time when a more prudent approach would have been to maintain possession. The resulting turnover sparked a counter attack for FC Dallas and put United on their heels. The ball got to the right side of the penalty area when it was centered to the awaiting Victor Ulloa. The homegrown product appeared to scuff his shot and in the process United defender Taylor Kemp, in an attempt to block the shot, redirected the ball right into the path of Castillo who blasted the shot past the helpless Dykstra for the game-winner.

On the balance of things, it was a deserved three points for Dallas, just as the previous league match (and game-winning goal in the 89th minute) in Seattle went down. The back-to-back losses for United ended their longest road trip of the season and garnered them 4 out of a possible 12 points. United still remain firmly in first place in the Eastern Conference but they’ve also played more matches than most of the teams chasing them from behind. As of now, only Toronto FC and New York Red Bull have an opportunity to catch United on points based on games played.

United now will turn their attention to next Sunday’s home game at RFK Stadium against the Philadelphia Union. The Union were 2-1 losers in Toronto earlier in the day.

 

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