On a muggy Sunday night in front of 12,814 at RFK Stadium, the question coming into the game was whether Taylor Kemp could handle the attack that would likely be thrown his way after two semi-shaky outings at the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake. Kemp responded with two assists as fans fans witnessed entertaining theatrics by some of the younger members of Major League Soccer as D.C. United downed the Colorado Rapids 4-2.
A first half interception of a Nick LaBrocca pass led to a Kemp interception, which he subsequently fed to Luis Silva for the first goal on the night past Clint Irwin. On the play, Rapids center back and captain Drew Moor went down to a right knee sprain, replaced by Jared Watts. D.C. continued the press after the goal, holding a minimum of 55% possession immediately after the goal, an advantage they gradually relinquished over the course of the first half. An Fabian Espindola free kick wide of the net was the closest D.C. came to doubling their lead while any threat the Rapids had was neutralized. Colorado had a chance late when DeShorn Brown tipped a ball to Vicente Sanchez which Bill Hamid successfully parried, along with the subsequent corner kick.
Things remained relatively quiet in the second half until a volley by Dillon Serna beat Hamid volleyed a midfield header from approximately 30 yards out to level the score at 1. As I cannot describe this goal appropriately enough, here is the highlight for it (my pregnancy test was negative, by the way). Silva attempted to respond on a pass from Nick DeLeon 90 seconds later but the ball went into the side netting. The goal seemed to awaken United's creativity, as a 20 yard chip from Espindola in the 57th minute hit the crossbar, and Sean Franklin's rebound attempt was saved by Irwin. Later, a 60th minute attempt by Espindola was deemed to have him offside of Watts and Chris Klute. A 61st minute attempt from Franklin off a chested ball went wide of the net.
D.C. United's chances culminated when Franklin put Silva in on Irwin alone (Klute kept him onside) and put a volley past Irwin in the 66th minute for a 2-1 lead. A late game run from Kemp that put a ball to Chris Rolfe in the 81st minute sealed things for the Black and Red. Espindola heralded his first start in two months by scorching a ball past Irwin's left that David Estrada fed him for the final goal for D.C.. A late Brown header from a goal line chip by Dillon Powers brought the score to 4-2, which was how things ended.
The win pulled D.C. (12-7-4) to within 2 points of Eastern (and Supporters' Shield) leading Sporting Kansas City with a game in hand. D.C. hosts Waterhouse F.C. Wednesday before going to play the Sporks on Saturday. Colorado (8-10-6) remain in 7th in the West, three points from the Vancouver Whitecaps from the last postseason berth. They host the Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday night.