A strange afternoon on Buzzard Point saw D.C. United fight back to defeat 10-man Inter Miami 2-1. The visiting side took the lead two minutes in after Rodolfo Pizarro curved the ball past Bill Hamid. After some confusion over a second Miami goal and VAR, United got back into the game with a penalty from Yamil Asad. Moments later, Frederic Brillant scored the winner on a rebound from an Edison Flores free kick.
Miami kicked off the match with a palpable offensive intensity. Barely 100 seconds into the game, Robbie Robinson took control of the ball at the half and sprinted to the goal, easily dribbling past a hesitant United defense. Once at the box, Robinson found Lewis Morgan, who quickly crossed the ball to Pizarro, who effortlessly tapped it into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Black-and-Red finally got their first chance at goal after Yamil Asad found himself strategically on the left of goal. Asad managed to head the ball in the direction of the net, but fell short as the shot landed in the feet of Roman Torres.
Julian Gressel followed Asad’s efforts by attempting to cross the ball to Erik Sorga, coming mere inches from the Estonian, who made his debut after an injury to Ola Kamara.
By the end of the first half, United began to match Miami’s energy. The game began to see sloppy plays on both ends that made no impact on the score. Though United managed to regain the majority of possession, they could not create a true chance.
A bizarre first half saw three injury-enforced substitutions. Sorga replaced Kamara early, while a knock for Joseph Mora saw Oniel Fisher came on for his first official appearance since a severe knee injury on September 29, 2018. Miami also had to make a change just before halftime, replacing Robbie Robinson with Juan Agudelo.
United returned to the pitch with a newfound offensive energy and headed straight to Miami’s half. The first attempt at goal came minutes after the whistle when Russell Canouse found space on the right and hit the crossbar.
The game turned on a complicated sequence that began in the 52nd minute. Julian Gressel had a potential breakaway thwarted by Torres, but protested for a handball. Miami came straight up the field, and Lewis Morgan initially doubled Miami’s lead with a deflected shot. However, referee Rubiel Vazquez ended up checking a VAR monitor, and both pulled the goal back and sent Torres off for the handball that, on replay, looked like the correct call.
The call inspired a surge of energy from the Black-and-Red. After an intense spell of pressure, Edison Flores earned a penalty for United after being tripped by Victor Ulloa. Asad made no mistake, sending Luis Robles the wrong way for his first goal since returning to DCU.
Moments later, United doubled the score. Miami committed a foul about 27 yards out. Despite the distance, Flores curved a shot that struck the right post. Brillant found the rebound and fired it past Robles, giving United the lead.
Miami, despite being down a man, threw numbers forward fearlessly, resulting in a wide-open last 20 minutes. Sorga found himself alone within Miami’s half on two occasions, but last-ditch defending from Andres Reyes and Nico Figal prevented him from scoring a debut goal.
Miami ended up creating more prolonged pressure, but despite Bill Hamid having to make a couple of late saves, the expansion club couldn’t conjure up an equalizer, giving United their first win of the season.
The Black-and-Red go on the road for the first time this season next Saturday, March 14, as they face FC Cincinnati at 5:30pm.
MLS Regular Season - Game 2
D.C. United 2 (Asad 59pen, Brillant 61)
Inter Miami CF 1 (Pizarro 2)
DCU (433): Bill Hamid; Russell Canouse, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum (C), Joseph Mora (Oniel Fisher 49+); Julian Gressel, Junior Moreno, Felipe Martins; Edison Flores, Ola Kamara (Erik Sorga 15), Yamil Asad (Chris Odoi-Atsem 73)
Miami (343): Luis Robles; Andres Reyes, Roman Torres, Nico Figal; Dylan Nealis, Victor Ulloa, Wil Trapp (Matias Pellegrini 77), Ben Sweat; Lewis Morgan, Robbie Robinson (Juan Agudelo 53+), Rodolfo Pizarro
DCU - Moreno 38, Odoi-Atsem 88, Canouse 94+
Miami - Torres 54 (red), Trapp 60, Figal 84