D.C. United continued to score goals on the road, but once again, failed to turn those goals into meaningful points, as they lost 3-2 to the New England Revolution on Saturday night. Yamil Asad and Cristian Penilla traded goals in both halves, with Teal Bunbury supplying a goal for the Revs as well. Twice, United fought back to get level in the game, but both times, they quickly conceded to fall behind once again.
Penilla converted the first real opportunity for the Revs in the 18th minute, before Asad scored with his face just before halftime. However, United couldn’t get to halftime with the score tied, as Bunbury capitalized on a mistake to give New England the lead once again in stoppage time. Asad converted from the penalty spot in he second half, but a questionable penalty gave Penilla the opportunity to fire home the winner 12 minutes from time.
17 days after the wild 4-4 tie against Toronto FC, Head Coach Ben Olsen was forced into two changes in his starting lineup. With Paul Arriola out with a hip flexor, Ian Harkes got his second start of the season in midfield. And with Joseph Mora missing with a hamstring injury that he picked up in the Open cup loss to Orlando City, Jalen Robinson got his first minutes of the season in his first start, playing at right back, with Oniel Fisher sliding over to left back.
New England have surprisingly been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this year, but United had the better of the chances early on in the game. A cross in the 4th minute from Fisher bounced around the box, and eventually fell to Darren Mattocks. Mattocks took aim, but had a shot saved at the near post by keeper Matt Turner.
Three minutes later, Mattocks saved a back heel from Asad from going out for a goal kick, keeping the ball in play. Mattocks then was able to pick out Asad in the box, but the Argentine fired right at Turner, who had no troubles making the save once again.
Luciano Acosta won a free kick for United on the left wing in the 17th minute, but that spelled doom for the Black-and-Red. Asad took the honors, but only floated a ball towards the back post, where Turner rose up to claim the ball without any trouble. Turner then quickly punted the ball up the field, where Krisztian Nemeth collected the ball.
Nemeth quickly found Diego Fagundez out on the right, as United tried desperately to scramble back defensively. Fagundez got to the side of the box, and slide the ball towards the middle for Nemeth. The Hungarian mishit his shot, and the ball somehow found Penilla, who was in stride, wide open, as he passed the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Wilfried Zahibo fired over the goal in the 22nd minute, after a decent buildup from New England as they retained possession in the United half. But, when New England failed to add to their lead or dictate proceedings, United began to create the better of chances. The first came in the 28th minute, as United won a free kick just outside the box. Acosta took the honors, and did well to get a shot on target, but Turner got over quickly to push the ball over for a corner.
A flowing move in the 35th minute forced another save out of Turner, as this time he denied Zoltan Stieber. From midfield, Acosta played the ball out to the left for Fisher, who got forward into space from his left back position. Fisher picked out Stieber in the box, but a first time shot was right at Turner.
Then came Asad’s face goal in the 42nd minute. Acosta, who had a good display in the first half, earned a free kick, just outside the box near the right corner. This time, Stieber took the honors, and blasted a shot towards goal. However, the ball deflected off of Asad’s face, and Turner was wrong footed, as the ball hit the back of the net for the equalizer.
Mattocks argued for a penalty in stoppage time, to no avail. But as New England cleared the ball up, Frederic Brillant fouled Fagundez near the midfield line. Jalil Anibaba pumped the ball into United’s box, a hopeful attempt. However, Brillant misplayed the header, and the ball bounced in the box. David Ousted tried to race off his line, but Bunbury fired under Ousted, and Steve Birnbaum couldn’t get over in time to keep the ball from crossing the line for a 2-1 Revs lead.
There was not much from either team throughout the first 25 minutes of the second half. Bunbury nearly capitalized on another mistake from Brillant seconds into the half, but the center back was able to recover. Asad had a chance from an Acosta dummy on a corner kick in the 51st minute, but he blasted his shot well over the goal from outside the box.
Asad then won a free kick in the 70th minute, and that set off a chain of events that ramped up the excitement in the second half. Asad clipped the free kick into the box, and found Birnbaum. The center back directed a header on target, but Turner pushed the shot out for a corner. Stieber sent the resulting set piece into a dangerous area, and the Revs couldn’t clear the danger. As Mattocks collected the ball, he was pushed from behind by Claude Dielna, earning a penalty.
United, who have had issues from the spot over the past couple of years, but are sure to be set with Wayne Rooney, elected to go with Asad from 12 yards out. The run up from Asad froze Turner, allowing the midfielder to easily slot home his 7th goal, as United leveled the score in the 73rd minute.
That scoreline did not last long though, as the Revs had a penalty of their own converted by Penilla in the 78th minute. The play started with Chris Durkin in midfield, holding onto the ball for too long. That led to a cross field pass from Stieber, which was easily picked off on the right by Fagundez. Andrew Farrell then took in a pass, and made his way into the box, trying to get around Fisher. Fisher and Farrell were battling each other, and Fisher went down, and then tripped up Farrell, which was determined to be a penalty.
Penilla took the honors for the Revs, and though Ousted guessed the right way, Penilla smashed the shot home for his second goal of the game, and a 3-2 lead.
United couldn’t muster much offensively late on, even as they made three late subs, and changed formation to a 3-5-2. Bruno Miranda, Junior Moreno, and Patrick Mullins were brought on for Harkes, Robinson, and Brillant, as Olsen rolled the dice trying to find another equalizer. But United never got close, and in fact, it was Scott Caldwell for the Revs who nearly added another score, only to be denied by Ousted late in stoppage time.
With 10 points from 13 games, United head out West one last time this season, to take on the LA Galaxy on July 4th.