D.C. United looked to pick up their third win on the trot on Saturday night, as the game against the New York Red Bulls crept closer to second half stoppage time. But, up 2-1, United failed to properly deal with a Sacha Kljestan free kick allowing Lloyd Sam to prod home for a 2-2 draw.
Perry Kitchen's brace had given United a two goal advantage with just 25 minutes left to play, but Damien Perrinelle headed home minutes later, setting the stage for Sam's late effort.
In similar fashion to who the first game between the two teams began three weeks ago, the Red Bulls started out with the upper hand on Saturday night, nearly find an opener twice in the first 15 minutes. On a quick counter attack in the 9th minute, Bradley Wright-Phillips was played in behind United's back line. His attempt to cross back into the middle was deflected by Kofi Opare, but bounced off the post for a corner with Bill Hamid beaten.
Right back Chris Duvall then found himself in a good shooting area minutes later, but his long range effort lacked the menace to beat Hamid, who covered easily.
United's first chance fell in the 19th minute, thanks to some miscommunication from New York. Both Matt Miazga and Duvall failed to deal with a simple ball, allowing Chris Rolfe to pick up the ball and get into the box, only to have his effort saved by Luis Robles.
New York got in behind several more times, with Sacha Kljestan having the best opportunity in the 23rd minute, but his cross was cut out for a corner. Which made Kitchen's goal three minutes later all the more surprising.
Jairo Arrieta pressured a long ball, forcing Damien Perrinelle to concede a corner. Taylor Kemp served the ball in, and with Robles failing to claim, Kitchen rose highest to head it in off the post for the 1-0 lead.
United produced arguably their best looking move later in the half, as several players were involved in the buildup. Arrieta's hold up of a long ball led to a pass back to Michael Farfan, who chipped in Sean Franklin. Franklin's cross was flicked on by Chris Pontius to Arrieta, who just couldn't make solid contact in sending the ball wide of the mark.
Wright-Phillips skipped past Opare in the 35th minute for a scoring opportunity, but as the Englishman cut back into the middle of the box, his left footed shot was too weak, and Hamid comfortably saved.
Another intricately built up move from United nearly resulted in a second goal in the 41st minute. After a long spell of possession, Pontius played to Franklin, who quickly returned the favor. Franklin kept his run going, and Pontius got the ball out wide, but Franklin's cross was just behind a wide open Chris Rolfe at the far post.
Neither team started the second half too brightly, which made the goal scoring burst half way through all the more unexpected.
Kitchen added his and United's second of the night in the 66th minute, as he fired home from 20 yards out. Kemp and Rolfe worked the ball down the left, and after just keeping the ball in, Rolfe cut in towards the middle, and teed up a wide open Kitchen. Kitchen took a touch, before sending a low shot skipping past Robles.
But New York's response was immediate, as Damien Perrinelle netted his first career MLS goal. New York won a corner just moments after Kitchen's second, and Felipe's in swinging cross was placed perfectly towards the back post. Perrinelle beat Opare in the air, and bounced a header in to get the Red Bulls back within one.
Arrieta had one more chance before he was replaced by Luis Silva. Davy Arnaud played a ball over the top for the Costa Rican, but as Arrieta cut back in towards the middle, his effort was well wide of the mark.
Silva then came in, and almost immediately had an opportunity from a free kick, from a similar position as his goal against Orlando City last week. Silva's effort was headed on frame, but Dax McCarty alertly dropped back, and headed the shot away for a corner.
New York revved up the pressure in the final 15 minutes looking for the equalizer. New York's domination in possession almost paid off in the 85th minute, as a long ball played over top found substitute Dane Richards. But before an opportunity for a close range shot presented itself, Hamid was quickly off his line to prevent a shot.
The equalizer finally came in the 90th minute, opposite of what United had grown accustomed to in the previous two games. Kljestan's free kick from 25 yards out dipped, which prevented Hamid from collecting the shot. The rebound came back out, and Lloyd Sam was there to poke it home, making it 2-2.