A nightmare season for D.C. United continued on it’s inevitable path as Dwayne De Rosario’s missed penalty summed up United’s season in a nutshell in their 2-1 loss against bitter rivals New York Red Bull at Red Bull Arena tonight.
With Red Bull leading 2-1 in the 72nd minute, Red Bull defender Ibrahim Sakagya was sent off after denying a goal scoring opportunity for De Rosario who’s hustle forced the burly defender to grab De Rosario as he was attempting to shoot on goal.
De Rosario’s penalty was struck hard but saved by Luis Robles’ diving effort to sink United even further in despair. United, playing with a man advantage for the first time all season long could not find the equalizer as United lost their 18th match of the season.
Lloyd Sam and Tim Cahill scored first-half goals sandwiched around Nick DeLeon’s fantastic solo effort and first goal of the season for United.
After the break United had their chances to equalize but the crossbar kept Luis Silva’s header out in the 53rd minute and Lewis Neal’s strike from distance was parried away by Robles just a few minutes later to keep the slender advantage for the home side.
Then came the game’s turning point. De Rosario was applying pressure on Sakagya who decided to try and body De Rosario off the ball instead of making a simple clearance. Perhaps looking for a foul from the referee, Sakagya soon learned it wasn’t coming and had no choice but to haul down United’s captain.
De Rosario stepped up and sent his shot to the right of Robles who stutter-stepped and then leaped to his right to parry away United’s best chance to level the match. The missed opportunity obviously sucked a lot of energy out of an active United team but they did press on and created a few half-chances, the best of which fell to the foot of substitute Collin Martin in stoppage time but his shot was hurried and well wide of the goal.
United, once again, fell behind early in the match on what can be described as a fluke goal. Lloyd Sam gathered a ball just seconds after a clear penalty against Dejan Jakovic on Tim Cahill was missed by the referee but perhaps kharmic justice was served as Sam’s floated ball inched over Bill Hamid in goal. Hamid could have been positioned a bit better considering the sharp angle that Sam had and in all honesty is was a cross attempt that floated into the far side of the goal.
United did equalize quite impressively when De Rosario switched fields and found DeLeon all alone deep in the penalty area. With work still to do to get off a shot, DeLeon cut back on Red Bull debutant left-back David Carney and sent a left-footed shot past Robles just inside the left post for his first goal of the season.
Two minutes later however Red Bull would score the game-winner on more casual defending from United. Jakovic was turned around twice by Red Bull midfielder Johnny Steele and unable to apply pressure to the predictable left-footed cross from Steele. The ball floated into the area to the one player United didn’t want it to go to in Tim Cahill. Daniel Woolard did his best but one of the worlds most deadliest men in the air was no match as his shot got by Hamid.
United now will turn their attention to their next league game next Saturday night in Carson, California as they take on Chivas USA at the Stub Hub Center. United will be without Jakovic, De Rosario and Kyle Porter as they have all been called up for Canada’s friendly with Spain next weekend.