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Nothing doing for D.C. United, New York City FC in scoreless draw

A dour game saw United escape with a point at Audi Field

MLS: New York City FC at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a dramatic win at Red Bull Arena, D.C. United had hoped to turn two straight home games into some momentum. Instead, they were under pressure for most of the night, grinding out a scoreless draw with New York City FC. Per Opta, United was not credited with a shot attempt on the night, while Chris Seitz made four saves in a game that featured little in the way of real chances.

Coming off of their first win in seven attempts, United kicked off with an unchanged eleven for the first time all season. Ben Olsen did not have Bill Hamid or Steven Birnbaum in uniform, but he was able to dress new signing Gelmin Rivas for the first time after the Venezuelan received his ITC and visa paperwork late in the week.

That unchanged team was set up in a 541 once again, with United clearly looking to set up in a low block and hit NYCFC on the counter. An uneventful start finally picked up in the 24th minute, with Alexander Ring and Ronald Matarrita combining to hand Keaton Parks an absolute sitter at the top of the six. Somehow, the Texas native fired wide at the back post.

Just a minute later, United were in danger again, with Donovan Pines missing an interception attempt. Again Matarrita crossed from the left, but this time Jesus Medina’s sliding finish was put off just enough by homegrown player Kevin Paredes, who saved a sure goal by putting the Paraguayan off.

Perhaps stung into action, United carved out their first shot under a minute later, with Junior Moreno the architect, though Julian Gressel’s shot — if it was one — from out wide flashed wide.

NYCFC was solving United’s defensive puzzle, though, with Maxi Moralez dummying a Parks pass on for Heber. In alone, NYCFC’s top scorer last year had a solid look at goal, but his low shot was kicked away by Seitz in the 31st minute. Late in the half, referee Ted Unkel held up play for over a minute for a lengthy VAR check on a potential handball in the box on Frederic Brillant, but ultimately United escaped without a spot kick being given.

Whatever adjustments were made at halftime, the game carried on in a similar manner. Seitz had to make two more saves by the 52nd minute. Brillant had to block a Heber header after a short corner routine saw Moralez pick out the Brazilian in the 58th minute as well, while United’s best look saw Yamil Asad fire past Sean Johnson, but only after the whistle had gone for offside.

However, from there a long spell of repetitive play began. NYCFC were camped out in the Black-and-Red’s half, but few chances (or even shots) came from it. At the other end, Pigeons goalkeeper Sean Johnson might as well have taken a seat in the goalmouth.

United’s luck continued in the 87th minute as substitute Gary Mackay-Steven fired past Seitz after a flick from Valentin Castellanos fell to him, but Unkel called the play back for a foul. NYCFC players were mystified, but no change to the call was coming.

From there, United grimly hung on, wrangling a point out of a game in which they barely entered the attacking third. Now on 10 points (2W-4D-4L), they’ll look to make progress next Saturday, when they host the New York Red Bulls.

Box Score

MLS Regular Season - Game 10
D.C. United 0
New York City FC 0

DCU (541): Chris Seitz; Julian Gressel, Donovan Pines, Frederic Brillant (C), Joseph Mora, Kevin Paredes (Federico Higuain 78); Ulises Segura (Chris Odoi-Atsem 69), Junior Moreno, Mohammed Abu, Yamil Asad (Oniel Fisher 61); Ola Kamara (Gelmin Rivas 69)

NYCFC (4231): Sean Johnson; Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, Ronald Matarrita (Gudmundur Thorarinsson 77); Keaton Parks (Gary Mackay-Steven 69), James Sands; Jesus Medina (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 69), Alexander Ring (C), Maxi Moralez; Heber (Valentin Castellanos 74)

DCU - Segura 16
NYCFC - Chanot 61, Tinnerholm 76