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D.C. United disappoints in 2020 opener, falling 2-1 to Colorado Rapids

Jonathan Lewis struck in stoppage time, condemning United to an opening day defeat

MLS: Colorado Rapids at D.C. United Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United kicked off the 2020 season with a 2-1 loss against the Colorado Rapids. 16,711 fans saw United debuts for Edison Flores and Julian Gressel, but relied on makeshift right back Russell Canouse to open the scoring. The Rapids fought back, though, as Kei Kamara equalized shortly afterward. With the game up for grabs, Jonathan Lewis pounced to score a 92nd minute winner.

After an even, rather chippy start, Flores was about to get a fairy tale start to his United career after a smooth pass by Julian Gressel enabled the Peruvian to guide his header into the net for the goal. But like Cinderella at midnight, reality set in and his efforts were disallowed, as he was a step offside.

Moments later, United had another chance at goal after Felipe forced Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin into a miraculous save.

On the other end, Bill Hamid made his first intense save of the season after denying a shot from Andre Shinyashiki on the counter attack that turned out to be the last chance of note in an even first half.

Minutes into the second half, Shinyashiki was booked for persistent infringement. Gressel took the set piece, with Steven Birnbaum nodding his cross onto the bar. Any attempts would have been wasted, though, as he was offside.

That chance briefly ignited United’s efforts. Flores kicked off an offensive sequence with a long run across the top of the box that led to a corner. Gressel aimed for the back post, finding Canouse, who pushed away from the crowd to reach the back post and head the ball into the goal for the 1-0 lead.

United’s advantage did not last long as the Rapids retaliated with a goal minutes later. The visiting side’s initial corner was half-cleared, but Jack Price managed to send the ball back in, picking out an open Kei Kamara for the equalizer.

Hamid made another important save on the 76th minute after a foul by Joseph Mora led to a Rapids set piece. Price set up the shot to find Drew Moor, whose header mercifully went straight at Hamid.

The chance was an indication of what was to come, as the Rapids took control of the game’s final 15 minutes. After intense Rapids pressure, Hamid was forced to deny Lewis at full stretch in the 90th minute, and the Rapids wasted the rebound.

United’s good fortune wouldn’t last long enough, though as Lewis popped up to score a stoppage-time winner. An awkward clearance attempt from Canouse skewed to the top of the box, where substitute Nicolas Mezquida saw his shot towards an empty net hit Lewis. Frederic Brillant was able to prevent Diego Rubio from having a tap-in, but amid the chaos, the ball fell right to Lewis, who managed to find the back of the net in the 92nd minute.

The Black-and-Red will look to rebound next weekend, as they host expansion side Inter Miami CF on March 7 at 3:30pm.

MLS Regular Season - Game 1
D.C. United 1 (Canouse 60)
Colorado Rapids 2 (Kamara 68, Lewis 92+)

DCU (433): Bill Hamid; Russell Canouse, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum (C), Joseph Mora; Julian Gressel, Junior Moreno, Felipe Martins; Edison Flores (Yamil Asad 71), Ola Kamara, Ulises Segura

Rapids (4141): Clint Irwin; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Drew Moor, Sam Vines; Jack Price (C); Sam Nicholson (Jonathan Lewis 85), Younes Namli (Nicolas Mezquida 64), Kellyn Acosta, Andre Shinyashiki (Diego Rubio 80); Kei Kamara

DCU - Moreno 64, Mora 76, Brillant 85
Rapids - Shinyashiki 58