Eddie Johnson’s third goal in as many games staked D.C. United to an early lead on their way to an impressive 3-0 thrashing of Toronto FC tonight at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
United (11-5-4, 37 points) pulled within a point of Sporting Kansas City and the Seattle Sounders for the top spot in MLS. The win is their fourth in a row and fifth in six matches. The result also extended United’s lead over third-place TFC to 11 points.
Chris Rolfe added his fourth goal of the year early in the second half followed by an own-goal from TFC defender Nick Hagglund as he headed into his own net after a dazzling run through the entire back line by Nick DeLeon to set up the goal.
This game was a track meet from the opening whistle. TFC midfielder Dominic Oduro was in alone on goal in the 4th minute but shot just wide of Bill Hamid’s far post. Hamid’s positioning would be a major factor all night as he generated seven saves in the first half to keep United in the lead.
United took the lead in the eighth minute when Perry Kitchen’s lofted chip from the right side of the penalty area met Johnson at the far post who easily nodded past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
After the break United busted the game open thanks in part to a rare non-call from a referee that doubled United’s lead. On the hour mark, DeLeon made the first of two amazing runs through the TFC defense and pulled a cut-back move that forced TFC defender Warren Creavale to haul down DeLeon in the penalty area. However, match referee Chris Penso did well to play advantage as Rolfe picked up the loose ball and easily beat Bendik to the near post.
DeLeon crushed any residual hopes for a TFC comeback just seven minutes later when he ghosted past two TFC defenders and was in alone on Bendik. The TFC keeper did well to deflect DeLeon’s bid but Hagglund’s momentum in getting back to cover the goal line caused a moment of confusion and the rookie inadvertently headed into his own net for the final goal.
United now will turn their attention to Sunday night’s match in Houston. Houston has been a House of Horrors to United historically as the team has never won a game either at the old Robertson Stadium or the recently erected BBVA Compass Stadium. United has only managed a pair of draws lifetime in the state of Texas against the Dynamo.
Sunday’s game will be shown locally on Comcast SportsNet at 8pm EST.