Ulises Segura scored the third quickest goal in team history, and then D.C. United survived a second half sending off to Paul Arriola, as the Black-and-Red defeated Columbus Crew SC 1-0 for their first win of the season. In their second home game of the season, played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, United finally got the result they were so desperate for, in their sixth game of the season.
Segura’s goal came after just 43 seconds, which is ranked third in team history. Chris Pontius owns the record, which he set in 2012, when he scored after 31 seconds. Jaime Moreno had the record before then, when the famed striker struck after 40 seconds in a game in 1997.
Coming off a loss two weeks ago to Sporting Kansas City, Head Coach Ben Olsen made three changes to his starting lineup. With David Ousted and Darren Mattocks unavailable, Olsen started Steve Clark in goal, and Patrick Mullins at forward. Junior Moreno made his first appearance since going off injured last month against the Houston Dynamo, replacing Chris Durkin at the defensive midfield position.
United got off to a flying start against Columbus, and it was Segura on the spot to finish off a well worked move from United. An entry pass from from Nick DeLeon was collected by Luciano Acosta, who quickly backheeled a pass to Arriola. Arriola quickly found Segura at the top of the box, and the Costa Rican perfectly hit an one-timed shot, putting United on the board with just 43 seconds gone.
In the 4th minute, Frederic Brillant almost made it two for the Black-and-Red. Moreno’s corner into the box found the French defender wide open, but Brillant’s headed effort went wide at the far post, with keeper Zack Steffen rooted to his spot.
With 19 minutes gone, Columbus appealed for a penalty, as a shot from Artur was blocked in the box by Brillant. Referee Ismail Elfath waved off the protests, but the ball popped out with to Harrison Afful. The right back had options in the box, but Brillant cut out the cross, and United were able to clear out the danger.
Steffen did well in the 31st minute to get a hand to a cross from Acosta, as Arriola was waiting in the box for a chance to win the header. Two minutes later, at the other end, Pedro Santos found a opening for a shot from range, but his left footed effort was over the goal.
Cristian Martinez had Columbus’ first shot on goal in the 45th minute, as his shot from range was caught by Clark. Pedro Santos then nearly had an equalizer for the Crew in first half stoppage, as his free kick from the right hand side beat Clark, but smashed off of the woodwork, and United were able to clear their lines.
Olsen brought Durkin on for Moreno at halftime, as the Venezuelan was removed as a precaution, having gone down injured twice in the first half.
But then the whole complexion of the game changed in the 53rd minute, after Arriola was given a red card after a video review. Initially, Arriola was given a yellow card for a tackle in which he took down Artur from behind. But then Elfath was alerted to review the play, and returned to give Arriola a red card.
United would have to pull out all the stops to get their first win of the season, and it started with Clark making an excellent save in the 61st minute. A cross from Jonathan Valenzuela took a deflection off of Gyasi Zardes, and fell to Pedro Santos, who flew in fot a header. But Santos’ effort on the doorstep was saved by Clark, keeping United ahead.
Olsen then brought on Oniel Fisher for Mullins, as United fell into a defensive shell hoping to hold onto their lead. But in the 66th minute, United needed Clark’s heroics again, as he saved a header from Zardes on a line. Valenzuela was allowed to get a cross into the box, and Zardes, who worked himself free, nodded a header down, but Clark somehow got a hand to the shot on the line.
Kofi Opare was brought in at the 73rd minute for his season debut, coming on for Acosta. United’s formation had Segura as the furthest player forward, as they played in a 5-4-0 formation to finish out the game.
Columbus kept the pressure up, but weren’t able to challenge Clark beyond those two headers. In the 80th minute, Afful collected the ball on a corner kick sent into the box, but his shot blazed over from 15 yards out.
Crew had one final chance as the game entered second half stoppage time, but a low shot from substitute Hector Jimenez was right at Clark, who held the ball securely in his grasp.
United, with five points from six games, has next weekend off. On April 28th, they’ll head up to Chester to take on their rivals, the Philadelphia Union.