A 90th minute penalty by Wayne Rooney handed D.C. United a 1-1 draw against the 10-man New England Revolution in a scrappy affair at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution managed a second half goal by Juan Agudelo five minutes after seeing goalkeeper Matt Turner sent off, but a VAR handball decision against Brandon Bye gave Rooney the spot kick to save United from an embarrassing defeat.
A 4th minute service into the box from Revolution captain Carles Gil nearly awarded the home side a penalty kick after the ball hit Russell Canouse’s elbow, but after consulting VAR, referee David Gantar decided there was no spot kick to give.
United failed to cope with a physical Revolution side, and it wasn’t until the 26th minute that Matt Turner made the first save of the night after Junior Moreno found a rebound after Rooney’s free kick and drove the ball straight to the New England goalkeeper’s hands.
The action began to pick up after Lucas Rodriguez managed to break the opponent open, enough for Leonardo Jara to complete a fantastic long cross. Before the ball reached Rooney, Bye intervened, nearly committing an own goal by heading the ball just slightly over the bar.
Before closing the first half, however, United executed their biggest goal-scoring opportunity. Cristian Penilla was booked for a foul on Jara, which enabled Rooney to perfectly curl the ball into the box. Frederic Brilliant arrived to provide a touch, but Turner collected the ball low to his left.
New England started the second half off with more energy. After Bye gained possession following a cross from Penilla, he struck a powerful shot on goal that forced Hamid to fight the ball off to protect the shutout.
The intensity heightened in the second half, and the physicality of the Revs finally saw consequences. First, after committing to many fouls throughout the game, Andrew Farrell received a yellow. Then, after a pass by Canouse reached Rooney running in behind the New England defense, Turner crushed United’s number 9 just outside of the 6-yard box, receiving a red card.
Following a substitution that saw backup ‘keeper Brad Knighton come in for Tajon Buchanan, Rooney beat the New England wall, but not the new netminder, who slapped the ball to safety.
Despite being down to 10 men, the Revolution did not give up. In the 61st minute, a run by the home side saw Penilla gain possession on the left and cross the ball to Agudelo, who overpowered Marquinhos Pedroso and headed the ball into the lower right corner for the 1-0 lead.
United retaliated quickly with a run by Rodriguez, who managed to reach the 6-yard box by dribbling through four opponents before Bye shut down the goalscoring opportunity with a last-ditch tackle.
United’s urgency and desperation to score was present, however, their sharpness in the final third seemed to signal defeat. However, in the 88th minute, substitute Quincy Amarikwa found Steven Birnbaum with a header, and Birnbaum’s volley crashed off of Bye. Play moved upfield, but at the next stoppage, Gantar consulted VAR again. This time, he ruled that the handball was intentional, giving United some salvation. Rooney stepped up and drove the ball past Knighton, giving the Black-and-Red a 90th minute equalizer.
United, by that point featuring attacking midfielder Zoltan Stieber as a left back and throwing everyone forward, pushed for a win, but ultimately couldn’t engineer any more real chances in the eight minutes of stoppage time, settling for a 1-1 scoreline.
D.C. will return to Audi Field, where they face yet another short turnaround between games. This time, it’ll be the Chicago Fire lining up as the opponent, with kickoff slated for 8:00pm.
MLS Regular Season (Game 15)
New England Revolution 1 (Agudelo 61)
D.C. United 1 (Rooney 90pen)
Revs (4141): Matt Turner; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Jalil Anibaba, DeJuan Jones; Luis Caicedo; Tajon Buchanan (Brad Knighton 58), Juan Agudelo (Scott Caldwell 93+), Carles Gil (C), Cristian Penilla; Teal Bunbury
DCU (4231): Bill Hamid; Leonardo Jara, Frederic Brillant (Quincy Amarikwa 80), Steven Birnbaum, Marquinhos Pedroso (Zoltan Stieber 70); Junior Moreno, Russell Canouse; Ulises Segura, Luciano Acosta, Lucas Rodriguez; Wayne Rooney (C)
Revs - Penilla 45, Farrell 53, Turner 56 (red), Bunbury 65
DCU - None