It was a mighty fine 45 minutes for D.C. United on Saturday night as they hosted Toronto FC. The Black-and-Red dominated the game, creating several chances on Joe Bendik's goal after going ahead in the 10th minute through a Dwayne De Rosario wonderstrike from 30 yards. A deep pass from Perry Kitchen found DeRo found in the left channel, but cut inside, running parallel with the goal line before unleashing a right-footed, curling missile of a shot that beat the Toronto keeper at the far post top corner.
It appeared that Ben Olsen's gambit to deploy one striker (but only at left midfield, with a double-false-nine up front) would pay quick dividends. With more than 58% of possession through the first half, United denied Toronto any time on the ball. There were other chances that came from United's dominance in the first half - 10 attempts, three of which were on goal. The best of these came from DeRo's movement, as he found himself on the ball on the right side of the box; the captain got to the endline and squared, but the ball just evaded a sliding Luis Silva; Conor Doyle caught up to the ball just as it went past the far post, but his essentially zero-angle shot rolled harmlessly back across goal. Ultimately, the Black-and-Red were unable to capitalize and went into the interval up only one goal.
If the night had ended there, it would have been one of the strongest performances of the year. But it didn't, and the defense became the story in the second half, as it always seems to do. Bad turnovers and missed marks were rampant, but through 60 minutes of play, TFC failed to make United pay for any gaffes. It wouldn't - it couldn't - last.
Perhaps when you have two teams as bad as United and Toronto, it's fitting that neither team should win. And with United's goal coming off a former TFC player, it makes sense (in a karmic sort of way, if not a logical) that former D.C. man Bobby Convey would find the equalizer. After a bad Dejan Jakovic giveaway near midfield, Toronto countered, and (after a subsequent poor clearance from Jakovic) Reggie Lambe's centering pass from the left slipped through everybody to reach an unmarked Convey at the penalty spot. He made no mistake with his first-time shot, slotting it back to Bill Hamid's right post.
The game would open up for the final half hour, both sides earning big chances as the play went from end-to-end. But nobody would convert, and the game would end 1-1. Ironically, United's dominance in the first half was matched... by their statistical dominance in the second. They controlled even more possession (61.5% for the game) and made 11 attempts in the second half, 6 of them on frame. But none of them would get past Joe Bendik, not even Luis Silva's spectacular volley, which should get Bendik nominated for MLS Save of the Week.
Anyway, we'll have more on the draw later, but share your first impressions of the result in the comments.
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