Second-half substitute Chris Pontius scored in the 82nd minute to give D.C. United a come from behind 2-1 win this afternoon over the host New England Revolution. Rookie Nick DeLeon picked up a pair of assists including the crucial challenge to spring Pontius for his game-winner. With the win United temporarily lift themselves into 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and now have gone four games unbeaten since dropping the first two matches of the season. United also beat the pesky Revs for the first time in league play since the summer of 2008 and got their first win in Foxboro since 2007.
The Revolution opened the scoring in the 6th minute with a classic wing attack as French forward Saer Sene got down the left flank and whipped in a cross that was easily volleyed home by Colombian striker Jose Moreno who was making his starting debut for the Revs. After the goal it was all United with the occasional Revolution threat thrown in for good measure. The Black-and-Red drew the match level in the 19th minute thanks to some acrobatics from their star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario. Nick DeLeon took a corner kick that was bending away from goal when the Canadian unleashed a sidewinder side-volley bicycle kick that hit the turf and right off the head of Maicon Santos and into the empty net to tie the match at 1-1.
United should have taken the lead just two minutes later but Robbie Russell’s flick header off of another corner was cleared off the line at the back post by Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen to keep the score level at 1-1. Both teams displayed a wide-open style of play through the entire 45 minutes but no more goals were scored as the teams headed for the break.
After the intermission, the game devolved into a tough physical affair that saw both teams struggle to maintain possession or tempo. Chris Pontius came on for a tiring Santos late in the match and immediately injected a pulse into United’s attack. The Revs, missing their most influential player in Shalrie Joseph due to a league mandated suspension, struggled as the game wore on to contain United’s offensive weapons in DeLeon, De Ro, Josh Wolff, Danny Cruz and Pontius. In the 80th minute Josh Wolff broke in behind the Revolution defense with only Matt Reis to beat but scuffed his angled shot and United thought they had lost their opportunity to gain a valuable three road points.
However, it was Deja Vu time for Chris Pontius in the 82nd minute. DeLeon outhustled Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe to a bouncing ball in the middle of the field and Pontius chased the ball down to the left side of the penalty area. Pontius took one touch and juked defender Stephen McCarthy to the inside and unleashed a bending beauty to the far post that gave Reis no chance and United the lead at 2-1. That goal will no doubt draw comparisons to the very first goal he scored on his rookie debut in 2009 in a 2-2 draw against the Galaxy in his hometown of Los Angeles.
United were not done and had to sustain a late-game rally from the home side Revs but United goalkeeper Joe Willis was up to the task making a number of comfortable saves to see out the win.
United now will have a better-than-ever opportunity to finally break their 86-game streak of not winning back-to-back league matches when they host the expansion Montreal Impact at RFK Stadium on Wednesday evening.
– Dejan Jakovic had to come out of the match with a lower-leg injury and was replaced by Chris Korb. Emiliano Dudar stayed at home in D.C. to nurse a slight hamstring pull suffered in practice late this week
– Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa was in Boston for the match but had to leave immediately when the news of the death of his father came across. Saragosa had missed the last 2 league matches to be with his ailing father
– Andy Najar was back with the squad but did not make the field, due mostly to the injury to Jakovic which forced Ben Olsen to burn a sub midway through the second half