It's not too often in recent memory you see high scoring slugfests at RFK, but 17,288 at RFK got just that. D.C. United and Real Salt Lake combined for seven goals in 30 second half minutes en route to a wild 6-4 win for the Black and Red.
Things started just as early as they did last week for the Black and Red, and it was again the visiting side taking the lead. Joao Plata hit a left footed shot through traffic from just outside the box, beating a diving Andrew Dykstra to his right for a 1-0 lead barely a minute into the game.
D.C. continued with their shaky play, as Kyle Beckerman took the ball from Perry Kitchen and passed to Javier Morales, whose deflected shot just missed the net 10 minutes later. RSL's dominance would turn into a second goal, as Beckerman's blast from 30 yards out beat Dykstra on the right, kissing off the post for a 2-0 lead.
In the 38th minute, Sebastian Jaime's ball in the box found Devon Sandoval, but the big target man's redirection went just wide. United, for their part, had to settle for long range efforts from Alvaro Saborio and Chris Korb while struggling repeatedly with RSL's attacking moves.
Crucially, D.C. got one back near halftime. Davy Arnaud played a ball on the left to Chris Rolfe, who tried to put the ball on frame. After a deflection, Tony Beltran collected the ball only for Rolfe to win it back immediately and curl the ball around Jeff Attinella, halving the deficit to 2-1.
Things started to get crazy in the 53rd minute when Sandoval pulled Bobby Boswell in the box, and Baldomero Toledo awarded a penalty kick. Rolfe buried the spot kick over Attinela to level things at two. Six minutes later, a headed clearance from Justen Glad came out to Taylor Kemp, who hit a glorious, first-time rocket from 25 yards out to give D.C. a 3-2 lead.
RSL was not out of the game despite the barrage, and within 3 minutes had hauled themselves back level. Morales served in a pinpoint free kick for Aaron Maund to head home on the doorstep. The chaos continued, as United reclaimed the lead almost straight from kickoff. Saborio's shot was saved by Attinella, but it fell to Espindola at the back post. Perhaps appropriately for such a chaotic game, Espindola ended up prodding it towards goal, falling down, and then blocking Glad's attempt to clear it off the line from the ground to score his 3rd goal of the season.
In the 68th minute, a sublime Morales pass to Abdoulie Mansally found RSL's left back in behind United's back four. From a very narrow angle, the one-time United trialist ripped the ball over Dykstra and into the roof of the net to once again level the scores (this time at 4-4, in case anyone has lost count).
However, United was not to be denied. A short corner from Espindola teed Kemp up for a pinpoint cross that Perry Kitchen expertly nodded past Attinella to finally give United the lead that they never lost. Nick DeLeon made sure of the victory with a spectacular left-footed rip from 23 yards after cutting inside from the right in the 85th minute.
Both teams face road dates next week, with RSL (7W-8D-8L) going to Guatemala to play Municipal in CONCACAF Champions League group play Tuesday before people returning to North America to play in Canada against the Vancouver Whitecaps. D.C. (12W-5D-7L) is also goes to Canada, playing the Montreal Impact next Saturday.