Monday, August 20, 2012

Union play D.C. United to 1-1 draw

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

Washington, D.C. – It was honors even at RFK Stadium on Sunday evening as D.C. United and Philadelphia Union played out a 1-1 draw in a fascinating local derby.

The hosts ended the game with nine men on the field and the visiting Union with ten in a frenzied finish which saw United captain Dwayne De Rosario miss a crucial late penalty at the second attempt.

The game was given added pre-game spice with the inclusion of the lively Danny Cruz in the Union lineup and Lionard Pajoy in the DC ranks, just three days after the players had traded clubs.

But it was another ex-DC man who stole the early headlines in the eighth minute as the Union took the lead.

Brian Carroll, who made 121 MLS appearances for United between 2003 and 2007, was in the box as Gabriel Farfan’s lofted free-kick caused chaos and he anticipated expertly to slam the ball into his former club’s net after telling touches from Amobi Okugo and Carlos Valdes.

Sensing the Union’s growing confidence, D.C. were keen to hit back immediately and came close as Chris Pontius tested MacMath from distance with a vicious dipping strike before the Union stopper was called on again seconds later as he kept out a header from former teammate Pajoy.

Pontius went close again with a fizzing half-volley over the bar 26 minutes in – but it was the visitors who could have bagged the next goal with a superb counter attack on the half hour mark.

Michael Farfan was the tormentor in chief in a quick move, threading an excellent ball through to Sheanon Williams who saw his low shot saved before Freddy Adu fired straight at Hamid.

Hamid’s defense was being kept busy by the lively Union attack as the half drew to a close, with Cruz hitting wide, McInerney’s looping header drifting over after good work by Adu and the two combining again as Adu delayed following an incisive McInerney pass.

There was still time for Pajoy to get in on the action; the Colombian forward touching off for De Rosario to curl the ball over the bar and then forcing Freddy Adu to clear as he looked to muscle in amongst the column inches

The second period was to have an air of controversy from the get go; Jack McInerney’s unsuccessful penalty appeal after just 29 seconds the backdrop to what would ultimately be a heated half.

That theme continued when DC thought they had found the equalizer in the 64th minute; De Rosario slamming home following a spilled shot and half-clearance only to hear the whistle blown for a foul on MacMath.

With the hosts enjoying greater spells of possession as the half continued, their pressure would see them level just ten minutes later. Carlos Valdes headed clear with forwards looming but seconds later Okugo couldn’t replicate his central defensive partner’s efforts, heading a dangerous free-kick beyond MacMath to bring the sides level with 19 minutes left to play.

It was to set up a frantic finish, with both sides desperate to force a winner and earn the local bragging rights.

D.C. had a golden chance to do just that with four minutes left when substitute Roger Torres fouled Chris Pontius in the box and referee Mark Geiger pointed to the spot.

Captain Dwayne De Rosario stepped up to narrowly convert the penalty as MacMath guessed the correct way but the home side’s joy was short lived as Geiger forced a retake due to encroachment.

With the second spot kick delayed as both sets of players converged on the edge of the area – a flashpoint which resulted in the dismissal of United substitute Branko Boskovic, the nerves appeared to get the better of De Rosario who uncharacteristically miscued moments later to send his shot horribly over MacMath’s crossbar.

It was to become the key moment of a frantic finale as two more players were sent off in six minutes of injury time.

United’s Emiliano Dudar was given his marching orders for a crude challenge on Antoine Hoppenot as the hosts went down to nine men and Sheanon Williams was to follow; the Union defender making a committed attempt to win the ball as last man to the dislike of referee Geiger who brought proceedings to a close seconds later.



Carroll, 8.


Okugo (O.G.), 71.


D.C. United: Bill Hamid; Dejan Jakovic (Hamdi Salihi, 62), Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar, Chris Korb; Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon,; Dwayne De Rosario (c) (Marcelo Saragosa, 90+2), Chris Pontius, Lionard Pajoy (Branko Boskovic, 57).

Subs not used: Joe Willis, Ethan White, Mike Chabala, Long Tan.

Philadelphia Union: Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Gabriel Farfan, Carlos Valdes (c), Amobi Okugo; Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud, Michael Farfan; Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot, 57), Freddy Adu (Keon Daniel, 69), Jack McInerney, (Roger Torres, 79).

Subs not used: Chase Harrison, Chris Albright, Raymond Gaddis, Chandler Hoffman.

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