WASHINGTON, April 11, 2015 — Before entering Saturday night’s clash with the New York Red Bulls, D.C. United had earned two huge wins by scoring goals deep into stoppage time after not playing particularly well. Things turned out a little different against the Red Bulls before a crowd of 16,304 at RFK Stadium. After playing some of its best soccer this season, United blew a two-goal lead and allowed the Red Bulls to tie the game 2-2 with a late goal in the 90th minute.
United’s usually reliable goalie, Bill Hamid, could not hold on to Sacha Kljestan’s free kick, allowing the speedy Lloyd Sam to tap in the rebound to earn the draw and deny United a third win in a row.
It was a cruel blow for United, which at one point led the game on two well-taken Perry Kitchen goals. However, the tie earned United a vital point and kept them at the top of the Eastern Conference.
United coach Ben Olsen, while disappointed with the 2-2 draw, praised his team for putting on its best performance of the campaign.
Kitchen’s first strike was an excellent header in the first half from a corner kick. His second goal came after the break from a sizzling low shot. At that point, United thought it had earned payback for its 2-0 loss at the Red Bulls (2-1-2, 8 points) last month. But it was not to be, as the Red Bulls fought back.
Chris Rolfe nearly scored early when he broke into the Red Bulls box beating two defenders, but his left-footed shot was tipped out for a corner kick by Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles. It was a huge save for the visitors.
United took the lead in the 26th minute when Kitchen headed home Taylor Kemp’s corner kick. Kitchen rose high to meet the cross from the right flank, and his powerful header sent the ball off the far post and across the goal line.
It was Kitchen again in the 67th minute when he collected a pass from Rolfe and from 23 yards let fly a wicked low right-footed shot that went to Robles’ right.
New York responded immediately a minute later, cancelling out United’s insurance goal when defender Damien Perrinelle headed in his first MLS goal to make it 2-1. Then in the last minute Kljestan won a free kick and sent a powerful drive beating United’s defensive wall. Hamid stopped the shot but allowed the ball to bounce forward out of his hands, where the speedy Sam, known for scoring goals against United, slammed home the rebound.
Bradley-Wright Phillips, the 2014 MLS leading goal scorer with 27 goals, was allowed four shots on the night by United’s backline, and he nearly converted one in the 55th minute, but his shot went wide of the near post.
The Red Bulls sought the tying goal sending on speedy substitute Dane Richards.
Midfielder Michael Farfan made his first start for United, replacing Nick DeLeon who was out with a hamstring injury. He was replaced in the 65th minute by Conor Doyle.
Next up for United is a clash with the Houston Dynamo at RFK Saturday.