D.C. United triumphed 3-2 against the Colorado Rapids, boosting their records to 9 undefeated games against their opponents tonight. Despite the Rapids’ early goal, Luciano Acosta was able to find the back of the net after a corner kick by Wayne Rooney and set off a goal streak by the visiting side. The debuting Chris Durkin found his first goal for United, and inspired Lucas Rodriguez to net the third goal. Colorado managed to reduce the lead by 1 before the full time, but their efforts could not overcome United, who appear to be over last week’s lull.
D.C. United kicked off the game against the Colorado Rapids in a compact manner, establishing a high tempo and smooth passing sequences.
Despite United’s strong initiative and compact defense, the Rapids quickly contained their opponents and played to their advantage. Colorado proved that they were not going to play a game of pure possession by pushing forward and challenging United by taking risks.
At first, Colorado’s passes and sequences were sloppy at best, but learned to refined their game as they maintained possession. Soon, the home side began to move the ball quickly, forcing United into a strong defensive role.
Within the first 12 minutes, the Rapids completed three corner kicks.
On the third corner kick, in the 11th minute, Jack Price drove the ball into the center of United’s box, finding Tommy Smith, who headed the ball to set up Benny Feilhaber. Hamid tried to make himself big in front of Feilhaber, but the player easily tapped the ball past his legs and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
After the goal, United struggled. Colorado grew in confidence, and began dominating the game. The Black-and-Red could not keep up defensively, allowing their opponents to easily beat them to their box and complete dangerous plays.
Lucas Rodriguez and Paul Arriola worked well to beat Colorado to the ball and make their way to Tim Howard, but the two could not establish a strong finish at first, Then, in 34th minute, a dangerous play created by corner kick saw United come back into the game.
United’s captain, Wayne Rooney, drove the ball into the left side of the pitch, where Steven Birnbaum gained possession and played the ball back into a dangerous zone by finding Donovan Pines. The home grown player, debuting tonight against the Rapids, then headed the ball back to Acosta, who beautifully hit the ball way past Howard for the equalizer.
Minutes later, the Black-and-Red found themselves in their opponent’s half once again. Rodriguez weaved around defenders to find Chris Durkin, and allow the debuting 19-year-old defender to gain possession on the right and cross the ball into the net on the left for the 2-1 lead.
Coming off of an energetic, 2-goal run, Rodriguez continued to challenge Colorado players, eventually stealing possession of the ball after it bounced off his opponent. The midfielder then timed his run perfectly, using the outside of his left foot to drive the ball past Howard.
It was 3 goals within 8 minutes for a vigorous United.
The home side responded with an added pressure in the second half. After the whistle, the Rapids did not shy away from challenges or quick plays.
In the 57th minute, a chance by the Rapids forced Hamid to put in an extra bit of defensive effort and extend himself to make the save. The home side embarked on a possession streak, reaching United’s box and attempting several shots.
The Black-and-Red formed a compact defensive line, stopping their opponents from competing for the lead. Colorado continued attacking, forcing Hamid and Birnbaum to exert an extra bit of energy to maintain the score.
Despite solid defending, the home side’s relentless offensive efforts eventually proved successful in the 66th minute, as a pass from Feilhaber to Kei Kamara saw the Rapids’ number 7 head the ball past Hamid from 7 yards out.
The action inside United’s box intensified after a set piece by Nicolas Mezquida allowed Diego Rubio to strike the ball toward the net, forcing Bill Hamid to make the emergency save. Hamid’s punch, however, left the ball still in play for Mezquida to find and strike into Birnbaum, who perfectly headed the it out of the net to miraculously save the lead.
The energy and tempo never dwindled, leaving players to remain alert at all times. It was a nail-bitter until the very end.
The last 10 minutes saw Colorado settle deep within United’s half, and attempt to reach the back of the net through quick runs and set pieces, but they simply could not get the ball past Hamid.
In the end, United’s efficient communication, offensive creativity and solid defense earned them the three points against Colorado.
MLS Regular Season (Game 7)
Colorado Rapids 2 (Feilhaber 11, Kamara 66)
D.C. United 3 (Acosta 35, Durkin 39, Rodriguez 43)
Rapids (4231): Tim Howard (C); Keegan Rosenberry, Kofi Opare, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines; Jack Price (Nicolas Mezquida 57), Kellyn Acosta; Cole Bassett (Andre Shinyashiki 67), Benny Feilhaber, Diego Rubio (Dillon Serna 86); Kei Kamara
DCU (3421): Bill Hamid; Jalen Robinson (Frederic Brillant 71), Donovan Pines, Steven Birnbaum; Paul Arriola, Chris Durkin, Junior Moreno, Ulises Segura (Russell Canouse 73); Lucas Rodriguez, Luciano Acosta (Quincy Amarikwa 93+); Wayne Rooney (C)
Rapids - Price 36, Kamara 49, Acosta 83
DCU - Birnbaum 76