D.C. United and Liga MX side Club Puebla fought to a 1-1 draw in muggy conditions at Audi Field tonight. United took the lead early, as Quincy Amarikwa netted the match’s first goal in the 4th minute. After intense pressure, Diego Abella pounced on a loose ball to give the visitors their goal.
D.C. United kicked off strongly, and turned their first chance into a goal. Luciano Acosta beat two defenders before being brought down inside the box. Before the Black-and-Red could protest, Leonardo Jara quickly emerged, picking up the loose ball and crossing it to a sprinting Amarikwa, who drove it into the goal for the early 1-0 lead.
The goal acted like a wake up call to the Mexican side. Immediately, Puebla began to press and create more opportunities inside United’s half. La Franja monopolized possession, but generally had to settle for long-range shots. Of those, Roberto Acuña’s blast was the only one that forced a tough save out of Chris Seitz.
But before the visiting side capitalized on their opportunities, United began to push back. Wayne Rooney — in the lineup for the first time since receiving a red card against the New York Red Bulls on August 21 — attempted a free kick reminiscent of his past, aiming for the upper left corner only for Jesus Ivan Rodriguez to make the save.
Going into the second half, the animosity between both sides increased. A hard tackle from Acosta saw the player booked, leading to a minor altercation between Amarikwa and Jesus Zavala. After exchanging words, the Puebla player was given a yellow card.
As the time ticked and desperation increased, Puebla began to intensify their offensive efforts to seek the equalizer.
In the 75th minute, Rooney won the header from a set piece, but could only glance it downward. The ball bounced directly in front of Diego Abella, and with no United player close enough to stop him, the Puebla forward fired home from 14 yards to even the score.
United retaliated quickly as Marquinhos Pedroso provided Russell Canouse with a lovely cross. Despite having to sprint all the way up from right back, Canouse soared to head the ball towards the lower corner, but Rodriguez spoiled a potential game-winner.
In the final moments, both sides cracked shots off the bar. 15-year-old Puebla academy forward Emiliano Garcia danced through United’s defense before smacking a 12-yard shot against the crossbar in the 88th minute, while Rooney — with the final kick of the game — launched a long-range free kick that had Rodriguez beaten, only to slap off the top of the crossbar and bounce away.
United has the weekend off, returning to action with a game on Sunday, September 15, on the road against the Portland Timbers.
Highlights will be added when/if they are made available.
D.C. United 1 (Amarikwa 4)
Club Puebla 1 (Abella 75)
DCU (4231): Chris Seitz; Leonardo Jara, Shane Wiedt, Robert Dambrot, Joseph Mora (Marquinhos Pedroso 46); Felipe (Russell Canouse 46), Luciano Acosta; Ulises Segura (Gordon Wild 46), Wayne Rooney (C), Emmanuel Boateng (Lucas Rodriguez 61); Quincy Amarikwa (Antonio Bustamante 76)
Puebla (4231): Jesus Ivan Rodriguez; Fernando Ramirez (Alan Acosta 61), Jesus Zavala, Daniel Arreola, Jorge Zarate (Pablo Gonzalez Diaz 76); Luis Miguel Noriega (Maximiliano Perg 70), Rodolfo Salinas (Christian Marrugo 61); Francisco Acuña, Matias Alustiza (C), Daniel Lajud (Christian Tabo 70); Diego Abella (Emiliano Garcia 82)
DCU - Felipe 39, Acosta 56
Puebla - Salinas 34, Zavala 57