D.C. United struggled against New York City FC, suffering a 2-0 loss in front of 18,004 at Audi Field. This is now United’s third home match without a win. Goals from Alexandru Mitrita and Heber on either side of halftime paced NYCFC, who were the better team for virtually all 90 minutes.
The Pigeons produced three dangerous plays within United’s half, proving they are not to be taken lightly. NYCFC’s Alexandru Mitrita got on the ball twice, completing two powerful strikes, both whistling wide of Hamid’s left post.
D.C.’s first real chance of the match came at the 21st minute as Luciano Acosta weaved through two defenders to cross the ball to Wayne Rooney from the right, allowing United’s captain to head the ball toward Sean Johnson. Rooney was just a little under the ball, though, and his header flew inches too high.
After their initial chance, D.C. began to settle nicely on the pitch and take control. NYCFC didn’t stay down for too long, however, pushing forward when the opportunity presented itself. In the 31st minute, after the ball deflected off of Frederic Brilliant, Heber took control, and raced toward the box, finding himself in a one-on-one situation with Hamid. Heber tried to chip the ball over Hamid, but the D.C. goalkeeper jumped up to make the save.
The visiting side continued to grow, until completely overwhelming United. In the 35th minute, a swift pass from Maximiliano Moralez allowed Heber to slip right into the box, inspiring D.C. to surround NYCFC’s Brazilian newcomer. While the home side focused on covering Heber, Mitrita was left wide open, enabling him to gain possession and drive the ball past Hamid — with the benefit of a deflection off of Frederic Brillant — for the 1-0 lead.
D.C. began to show their frustrations on the pitch through fouls, ultimately leading to a yellow card for Chris Durkin, who made a rough tackle on Maxime Chanot. Things got worse in first-half stoppage time, as United’s corner became NYCFC’s counter. Leonardo Jara appeared to have an angle to tackle Anton Tinnerholm, but he used both hands to bundle the Swede over, giving referee Allen Chapman no choice but to award a penalty.
Moralez stepped up, but fired the ball against the post to let D.C. off the hook.
Though D.C. returned to the pitch with more energy, the Pigeons continued to dominate. In the 56th minute, Moralez hit the post again from just outside United’s box, but within seconds Heber ended up with another look, driving a shot forcefully past Hamid to double the lead.
With Moralez dominant, United looked shaky as the game wound to a close, with few positives to show for their attacks. A free kick from Rooney in the 76th minute gave United their closest shot on goal in the later 45 minutes.
Ben Olsen did give the home fans one positive, granting 16-year-old Homegrown signing Griffin Yow his professional debut, but there was little else to cheer for the Black-and-Red faithful. Overall, it was a meek effort from the Black-and-Red in a match where so much more could’ve been done.
MLS Regular Season (Game 8)
D.C. United 0
New York City FC 2 (Mitrita 35, Heber 56)
DCU (4231): Bill Hamid; Leonardo Jara, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Paul Arriola (Griffin Yow 92+); Chris Durkin, Junior Moreno; Ulises Segura (Zoltan Stieber 70), Luciano Acosta, Lucas Rodriguez (Quincy Amarikwa 85); Wayne Rooney (C)
NYCFC (343): Sean Johnson; Maxime Chanot, James Sands, Alexander Callens; Anton Tinnerholm, Alexander Ring (C), Ebenezer Ofori, Ronald Matarrita; Alexandru Mitrita (Jonathan Lewis 48), Heber (Jesus Medina 63), Maxi Moralez (Sebastian Ibeagha 93+)
DCU - Durkin 44, Jara 48+
NYCFC - Lewis 48, Ofori 52, Moralez 77, Medina 90, Johnson 94+