D.C. United scored their first two regular-season goals this past Saturday against the Philadelphia Union. The final score of the game was 2-1, with DC United coming out on top.
Missing their star forward, Patrick Mullins, D.C. United created more goals without him than they did all season. Keep in mind the match against the Philadelphia Union was only the fourth of the season. The win on Saturday moved D.C. United into ninth place out of 11 teams in the Eastern Conference. They have four points now.
The match started out with D.C. United being on top of their offensive game. Fans were looking to Jose Ortiz to fill the spot of Mullins, who is out with a hamstring injury. Ortiz did not fail to meet fan expectations. In the 18th minute of the first half, Ortiz made a shot that was deflected by the Union’s Richie Marquez and past the Union keeper Andre Blake.
Argentinian acquisition Luciano Acosta, a midfielder, was showing why he was a great choice for D.C. United by breaking up Union opportunities and carving out opportunities for the D.C. United attack. He put his mark on the match in the first half by scoring his first goal of the season. The goal was on a spot kick awarded after an arm violation in the box. Taking the kick, Acosta buried a rocket shot deep into the net on the left side.
At the end of the first half, the score was 2-0.
The second half of the game looked like a role reversal. Philadelphia Union came out and pressed D.C. United’s defense hard. United were put on their heels a bit defending the attack by Philadelphia. The Union dominated the ball possession, looking for opportunities to score and potentially level or win the game.
Kegan Rosenberry of the Union worked an opportunity and took a shot on goal in the 64th minute. The blistering shot was knocked off path, United’s keeper Bill Hamid keeping it out of the net. The potential goal served to invigorate the Union offense further.
At minute 71, Bedoya of the Union got a shot off that Hamid saved. Unfortunately, the ricochet of the save provided a sweet shot for CJ Sapong. Sapong’s shot rang through to the back of the net, giving the Union their first score of the night.
The 79th minute found United heavily defending the net with five players, desperately working to save the match and not allow the Union to pull even. Sapong got off a shot from nearly inside the keeper’s box. Amazingly, Hamid was able to deflect the shot and stop the match-leveling score.
That was the 17th save of the regular season for Hamid. It put him in the lead for most saves in Major League Soccer and earned him the nomination for MLS Save of the Week for week five.
In the post-game interviews, D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said of the game, “There were two things we wanted to get off our back. Obviously, one was scoring a goal, and the second was getting a win. We crossed both of those off the list tonight. It’s important to pick up points at home, and overall it was a good performance. There’s a lot we need to work on and get better at to continue to win games, but today was a gutsy performance. Today showed that we have the character we thought we had.”
D.C. United plays their next home match April 8 at 4 p.m. in Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
The local National Women’s Soccer League team, the Washington Spirit, defeated Duke University this past weekend, 4-3, in their second-to-last preseason game. Their next pre-season game will be April 8 against University of Virginia at 7 p.m. on Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland Soccerplex.
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