D.C. United picked up a valuable point with their 0-0 draw in Vancouver, British Columbia last night and extended their lead in the Eastern Conference to five points over second-place Sporting Kansas City who fell 2-1 to New York Red Bulls earlier in the day.
Bill Hamid picked up his eighth shutout of the season and tenth overall for the Black-and-Red. United (14-8-5, 47 points) picked up their first draw in league play since their 0-0 draw at FedEx Field against Columbus on June 7th, a span of three months. Vancouver meanwhile are quickly losing hope in their season as they suffered their sixth shutout in their last seven league matches and are currently on a 411-minute scoreless streak. The Whitecaps are currently trailing their Cascadia rival Portland Timbers for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Both sides played through a lightning quick first forty-five minutes which saw the home side gaining most of the scoring opportunities. It was more a case of poor finishing than anything Hamid was required to do because his saves for the entire night were routine at best. Vancouver’s best opportunity came on a free kick when newly acquired Costa Rican central defender Kendall Waston found himself at the top of the six-yard box all alone but managed to somehow whiff on the cross and the ball eventually bounded out of play just inches wide of the far post. That was pretty much it for Vancouver’s offensive output for the remainder of the match.
United did have a golden opportunity late in the first half to take the lead when great combination play between Perry Kitchen and Luis Silva created a one-v-one opportunity for Fabian Espindola but the Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted quickly came out on United’s top scorer and forced Espindola to clip the ball over the onrushing keeper, a chip that floated frustratingly over the top of the goal.
United were missing Chris Rolfe and Eddie Johnson, both injured during training this week with Rolfe’s broken arm being a long-term injury while Johnson was sitting out for precautionary measures with concussion-like symptoms. The loss of both of those players meant United was working with a thin bench, particularly in the offensive third and it showed for most of the evening.
However, in the end United defended staunchly and kept the dangerous opportunities for the more desperate Vancouver side to a minimum and walked out of B.C. Place with a valuable road point. United, which failed to win a single road match last season, now has accumulated 19 points (5-6-4) away from RFK Stadium and is a major reason why they are in solid position to pull a worst-to-first comeback that is rarely seen in MLS.
United now has to travel 3,000 miles back east for rematch with Red Bull at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday evening. That match will be shown on ESPN2 starting at 8pm EST.