D.C. United are on their first winning streak under Hernán Losada after seeing off 9-man Inter Miami 1-0 at a nearly full Audi Field. Ola Kamara, who put two goals past the Herons in United’s last match, settled the game from the penalty spot midway through a second half that saw Miami — who surprisingly arrived in the District without Gonzalo Higuain — lose both Gregore and Ryan Shawcross to red cards.
United started at a furious speed, nearly pressing John McCarthy into a giveaway just seconds after kickoff, before Ola Kamara nodded a dangerous Kevin Paredes cross just over the bar in the 3rd minute. Powerful runs from both Paul Arriola and Julian Gressel resulted in shots going just over the bar by the 12th minute.
Unlike the last meeting, Miami didn’t crumble under the early pressure, and much of the first half was defined by chippy play and a willingness to slow the tempo from the visitors.
That said, the game suddenly became end-to-end just before halftime. First, Kamara nodded a Julian Gressel free kick off the foot of the post in the 45th minute, with no Black-and-Red players able to finish the rebound. Miami countered, with Lewis Morgan playing an inch-perfect ball through for Brek Shea. In alone, Shea had plenty of time, but was denied by a wonderful save from Bill Hamid.
United surged straight up to the other end, with Kamara swinging play out to the left to spark the attack, but after Paredes teed Felipe up in a promising spot, the Brazilian went down after contact from Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. D.C. howled for a penalty kick, but referee Fotis Bazakos was not interested.
The physical play carried into the second half, with Gregore — who was booked just moments after halftime — picking up a second yellow card in the 56th minute for a late challenge on Paredes along the touchline.
United nearly scored immediately, with Arriola slipping Gressel in behind only for Christian Makoun to produce a potential goal-saving tackle. United amped up their attacking pressure, with substitute Nigel Robertha — in for the first time since April 24 after a hamstring injury — scuffing a close-range shot following a bicycle kick attempt from Kamara in the 65th minute.
Finally, in the 72nd minute, United got their lead. A Gressel free kick to the back post picked out Brendan Hines-Ike, whose header towards goal struck Makoun in the hand. Bazakos pointed to the spot, and once Miami’s players cleared away from the penalty spot, Kamara stepped up to dispatch the spot kick with ease.
Miami made some moves to try and salvage the game, including subbing former United playmaker Federico Higuain in, but were further undone by a straight red card in the 84th minute for Ryan Shawcross. The English veteran had made a tackle and chased the ball down, but in trying to win it from Joseph Mora, he inexplicably tossed Mora by the neck to the ground.
From there, United pressed for a second goal, but ultimately had little trouble seeing the game out. The win moves United up to 12 points (4W-0D-5L), good enough to be tied for 5th place in the Eastern Conference with the New York Red Bulls. United faces a quick turnaround for their next game, as they head south this Wednesday night to take on CF Montreal in their temporary home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
MLS Regular Season - Game 9
D.C. United 1 (Kamara 72pen)
Inter Miami 0
DCU (343): Bill Hamid; Andy Najar, Brendan Hines-Ike, Donovan Pines; Julian Gressel (Frederic Brillant 91+), Russell Canouse, Felipe Martins (Moses Nyeman 63), Kevin Paredes (Joseph Mora 83); Paul Arriola (C), Ola Kamara (Griffin Yow 83), Adrien Perez (Nigel Robertha 63)
Miami (4231): John McCarthy; Nicolas Figal, Ryan Shawcross, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (C), Christian Makoun (Federico Higuain 80); Gregore, Blaise Matuidi; Lewis Morgan (Kelvin Leerdam 74), Jay Chapman (Victor Ulloa 58), Brek Shea (Joevin Jones 80); Julian Carranza
DCU - Paredes 25, Felipe 37
Miami - Makoun 23, Carranza 37, Gregore 47, Gregore 56 (sent off), Shawcross 84 (red), Jones 94+