D.C United took the field at soggy RFK Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to excise the demons of back-to-back shutout losses to start the 2014 MLS campaign. The Chicago Fire however had other plans as their late goal ruined United’s chance at their first win of the season and first win in nearly seven months.
Quincy Amerikwa’s redirect from the six-yard box in the 82nd minute leveled the match at 2-2 and spoiled the party for the announced crowd of 9,445 fans, the smallest league crowd at RFK in over five years.
Chicago opened the scoring in the 27th minute against the run of play when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado headed in a Harrison Shipp corner kick. Hurtado easily shook the mark of United defender Sean Franklin and overpowered Cristian Fernandez to fire into the top corner of the net. Prior to the goal United were completely bossing the match when they forced Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson into four saves. In the games opening twenty-five minutes United had essentially tripled it’s offensive output in terms of creating chances from their first two league games.
After the gut shot of falling behind against the run of play, United did not shirk their responsibilities and quickly regained the momentum of the match in the 35th minute. Eddie Johnson was pulled down from behind at the right edge of the penalty area after being sent through by Perry Kitchen. While most of RFK howled in derision at Jair Maruffo for not pointing to the penalty spot, replays showed he made the right call. Up stepped Fabian Espindola and Nick DeLeon to combine for United’s first goal of the season. DeLeon rolled the free kick behind and to the left for the onrushing Argentine to blast a shot through the wall and skip past Johnson on the greasy surface and level the match at 1-1.
Both teams struggled with the sloppy conditions by trading half-chances through the subsequent next forty minutes before United took the lead in the 73rd minute. Espindola’s corner kick found the head of Bobby Boswell who forced a diving save from Johnson on the line. The rebound found it’s way back to Boswell who then slammed a shot off the goalpost only to see the rebound finally land at the feet of Kitched who shoveled the ball into the net for the go-ahead goal.
United from there retreated into a defensive stance trying to capture their first win of the season. However, they got burned badly in the 82nd minute and paid the price with the game-tying goal from Amerikwa. Substitute Patrick Nyarko collected a ball along the right end line and nutmegged United defender Cristian Fernandez. His centering pass found Amerikwa in stride and his blast easily bested Bill Hamid.
The draw with Chicago means that United have now gone 15 matches without a win over the course of two seasons. United will next take aim at the New England Revolution who come to town next Saturday night at 7pm.