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D.C. United lets 10-man CF Montreal off the hook in 0-0 draw

27 shots were not enough for United to put a goal on the board in a game they otherwise dominated

MLS: D.C. United at CF Montreal Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United had more than their fair share of chances, but had to settle for a frustrating 0-0 draw with CF Montreal tonight in a game played Montreal’s temporary Florida home. Despite attempting 27 shots, a lack of attacking precision throughout proved costly as the Black-and-Red let Montreal — who had Zorhan Bassong sent off just before halftime — esceape.

Coming off of a 1-0 win over Inter Miami on Saturday, Hernán Losada named an unchanged starting eleven. Both teams effectively pressed each other in the early going, making chances hard to come by. However, on a simple flick-on from Ola Kamara, United should have gone in front in the 15th minute. Kamara popped the ball up over the Montreal back three, and Adrien Perez raced into the box. Perez adroitly cut the ball away from the defense, but his shot was too close to Clément Diop to open the scoring.

Diop denied Perez again just three minutes later, glancing his powerful shot over the bar after Paul Arriola picked Perez out with an excellent pass from the right.

United were taking charge of the game, with Kamara putting the ball into an empty net after break upfield thanks to more good work from Arriola only for the offside flag to correctly call the play back in the 27th minute.

Just as the half drew to a close, Zorhan Bassong — already on a yellow card for a foul ten minutes earlier — committed an inexplicable handball to slow Perez down after the United forward flicked the ball past him. Referee Drew Fischer had little option but to pull a second yellow card, leaving the Black-and-Red with a man advantage for the second straight game.

Despite out-shooting Montreal 10-1, the United entered the locker room stuck with a 0-0 scoreline. D.C. created an immediate big chance to start the second half, with Arriola picking Kevin Paredes out with a perfect low cross to the back post, but with no defenders nearby, Paredes scuffed his shot. A similar sequence played out in the 52nd minute, with Julian Gressel getting past Mustafa Kizza to cross. This time Paredes got full power on his effort, but it cannoned off a Montreal defender, allowing the “home” side to scramble it away.

United had yet another excellent chance sparked by an Arriola turn at midfield in the 58th minute. DCU surged forward in a four-on-three, with the play moving to the left for Paredes. The United homegrown slid the ball back across, and with Kamara drawing defenders, Arriola was wide open, but his shot allowed Diop to extend his legs and make a kick-save.

The Black-and-Red’s profligacy nearly cost them in the 67th minute, with Djordje Mihailovic curling a shot just wide after Victor Wanyama turned an innocent looking throw-in into a good piece of set-up play.

Still, most of the looks were United’s, but time and again a lack of precision cost them either in the build-up or on the shot. Losada used every attacking player he had in uniform off the bench, including Yamil Asad making his first appearance in over a month.

After a pretty convincing handball shout after one of those subs, Moses Nyeman, had a shot handled by Wanyama was turned down by Fischer, the chances started to pick up. An 85th minute header from an Asad corner seemed very promising, but Diop did enough to push the effort away, while Yordy Reyna’s slashing run saw him send Yow’s cross just barely over the bar in the 87th.

Diop, taking a stoppage-time goal kick, fell and required extensive treatment. Montreal considered putting forward Mason Toye in goal, but Diop soldiered on with a heavy limp, and United couldn’t muster a shot to test whether he was up to make any difficult saves.

The draw won’t feel good, but it does push United (4W-1D-5L) up into 6th place in the Eastern Conference. A draining week for United continues this Sunday, as they stay on the road. NYCFC will play host at Red Bull Arena, with the game set for a 6:00pm kickoff.

Box Score

MLS Regular Season - Game 10
CF Montreal 0
D.C. United 0

Montreal (3421): Clément Diop; Aljaz Struna, Rudy Camacho, Zorhan Bassong; Zachary Brault-Guillard (Clément Bayiha 75), Samuel Piette (C) (Emanuel Maciel 66), Victor Wanyama, Mustafa Kizza (Kamal Miller 53); Djordje Mihailovic, Ahmed Hamdi (Sunusi Ibrahim 53); Bjorn Johnsen (Mason Toye 53)

DCU (343): Bill Hamid; Andy Najar, Brendan Hines-Ike, Donovan Pines; Julian Gressel (Griffin Yow 73), Russell Canouse, Felipe Martins (Moses Nyeman 67), Kevin Paredes (Nigel Robertha 67); Paul Arriola (C) (Yamil Asad 81), Ola Kamara (Yordy Reyna 81), Adrien Perez

Montreal - Piette 19, Bassong 35, Bassong 45 (sent off), Diop 87, Wanyama 95+
DCU - Paredes 59, Najar 63, Nyeman 71