On a pleasant May night at RFK before 14,106, Eddie Johnson opened his account with D.C. United after two much-maligned and often talked about months. While his goal was fun to watch for those in attendance, the game itself felt like a missed opportunity as D.C. drew with the Montreal Impact 1-1.
D.C. started strong, as Johnson had two back to back chances in the 15th minute, one that hit the goalpost and another that went just wide of the net. Montreal eventually gained their footing in the half, predominantly leaning on the matchup between left midfielder Sanna Nyassi and right back Chris Korb (in for Sean Franklin, still nursing a foot injury). Nyassi forced saves from Bill Hamid in the 40th and 41st minutes to keep D.C. in balance. On the other side, Nick DeLeon had a chance to open scoring in the 39th minute but the shot from inside the box went over the crossbar.
In a game where they spent a good portion of the time crossing balls into the box to Impact defenders, D.C. improved their shot selection early in the second from Chris Rolfe and Perry Kitchen, though the former went into the side netting and the latter was saved. But in the 56th minute, Cristian Fernandez played a clumsy ball from his knee that Justin Mapp collected, and Mapp held off Fernandez long enough to find Jack McInerney, who got away from Bobby Boswell just enough to score for the Impact.
The Impact controlled play and almost had a second goal when a Hamid save from a Nyassi shot went right to McInerney, but the ball was deflected into Hamid's hands. While Luis Silva hit the crossbar in the 73rd minute and Fabian Espindola's shot from 18 yards out went just over the net, later Johnson headed a cross from Espindola in the 84th minute that Perkins made little attempt to save, thus leveling the score, which ended as a draw.
"I hate to say it, but I feel okay with the tie because I thought they were pretty good on the night, and I was surprised at their energy level after coming off of Wednesday. Saying that, I don’t think we came with the right enthusiasm for the game in the first half, "Ben Olsen said. While Johnson was not made available to media afterwards, Olsen said of him, "It’s good for him to score a goal. He’s in so many good spots and we’ve let him down a lot with lack of quality service. He knows what to do in the six yard box when the ball is delivered properly. We just need to continue to give him that type of service and he’ll start getting on the board more."
"I'm happy for Eddie, just in terms of that, so people can stop talking about it to be honest with you," Davy Arnaud said. "It's good for him to get the goal but more important, it's a goal for the team and he's going to continue to do that."
Montreal (1-5-4) remained in last in the East and go to Colorado while D.C. (4-3-3) dropped to fourth, two points behind next Wednesday's opponent, the Houston Dynamo.