It may have been windy and rainy, and only 8,224 people were there for it, but D.C. United scored two goals on an 11-man squad for the first time in nearly two months (making yours truly eat his words) and looked at ease facing a Houston Dynamo squad who only dressed 18 players tonight, en route to a 2-0 win in a game where D.C. was without the services of the suspended Eddie Johnson.
Things started ominously for Houston, as a 9th minute battle for a ball between Bobby Boswell and Mark Sherrod resulted in a right knee injury for Sherrod, who was substituted for Brian Ownby. Things quieted down but came to life twenty minutes later when Lewis Neal threw the ball in quickly to Fabian Espindola, who fended off Jermaine Taylor and get the ball to Rolfe, who cut back to his left foot in front of David Horst and shot it from just outside the penalty area, beating a diving Tally Hall on his left for a 1-0 lead, a satisfying result for a half where D.C. had almost 61% possession, and 80% passing accuracy.
The first twenty minutes of the second half started off slightly in Houston’s favor, as Ownby asserted himself into the game (and also drew a 56th minute yellow card from Neal). A 63rd minute through ball from Andrew Driver to Will Bruin did not get over Bill Hamid. But on the counter, Espindola fired home a left footed shot from 15 yards out, beating Hall on the far side along the ground for the second of the night, earning D.C. only their fifth win all-time versus Houston (all in RFK).
"Overall I'm very pleased with the night," Ben Olsen said. "I think we have to be somewhat realistic about the energy level they brought, and they were obviously missing some key guys. I thought we took advantage of them on an off night and we did a very good job."
"I saw him (Espindola) making a dart down the line, thankfully the surface was pretty wet so it skipped up for him and he used his body really well to get in that position and then Rolfie goes and does the rest," Lewis Neal said on his part in the team's part goal.
D.C. (5-3-3) leapfrogs Houston and Sporting Kansas City to claim second place in the Eastern Conference, with a matchup against first-place New England on Saturday. Houston (5-6-2) flies cross country to play San Jose Sunday.