With a chance to move top of the standings in MLS following the New England Revolutions' draw on Friday night, D.C. United instead settled for a 1-1 draw at home against Sporting Kansas City. After looking second best throughout most of the first half, Jairo Arrieta gave United the lead three minutes before the end of the half, before Dom Dwyer equalized on the stroke of the halftime.
With the draw, United kept pace with the Revs atop the East, with both teams sitting on 18 points.
It was a first half to forget throughout much of the duration. Both teams had good looking crosses early on that looked capable of producing goals, but none of the them were met on the other side.
Sporting finally created the first real look after 13 minutes. United failed to clear several long Matt Besler through ins, with Jacob Peterson failing to convert from close range. Jalil Anibaba then kept the ball in and found Dwyer in the box, but the striker's effort skipped past the far post.
SKC were inches from the opener several minutes later, as the bar denied Peterson the opener. Seth Sinovic sent an expertly hit cross from the left, and the ball made it's way to Peterson at the far post. Peterson was able to get in front of Chris Korb, but his sliding effort hit the bar, and United cleared away the danger.
United's first shot of the game came in the 25th minute. Nick DeLeon played up to Arrieta, who held the ball up, waiting for Chris Pontius to make a run. The Costa Rican then found Ponitus, but the left footed shot from outside of the box was well wide of the mark.
Bill Hamid was then called into action moments later, after Perry Kitchen had a turnover deep in his half. Peterson quickly played in Benny Feilhaber, but Bobby Boswell was able to force him wide, which made the shot from Feilhaber easier to save for Hamid.
It was then against the run of play that United took the lead in the 42nd minute, scoring with just their second shot of the game. A long diagonal from Kitchen found Pontius in behind the defense. Pontius took one touch to control, and his second was played back to Arrieta, who got in front of Besler to prod home to give United the lead.
That lead was short lived, as Sporting got their equalizer minutes later, on the stroke of halftime. Roger Espinoza was played into the box after a spell of possession for SKC. Espinoza was able to hold off a challenge, and put the ball into the middle of the box, where Dwyer was on the spot to sweep home his third goal of the season.
Arrieta had an early sight at goal to start the second half, but his effort was easily gobbled up by Tim Melia in goal. Then, a goalmouth scramble in the 51st minute somehow ended with United not finding the back of the net. Melia tipped out a Rolfe cross from the end line that pushed the ball just wide of DeLeon.
Sean Franklin then sent the ball back into the far post, where Pontius nodded a header down towards the middle of the box. Davy Arnaud couldn't connect with a header, and then Arrieta's acrobatic attempt in traffic was wide of the goal.
Dwyer then had the ball in the back of the net for what appeared to be the goal ahead goal in the 62nd minute. From a Espinoza cross, he was the first to the ball, and headed past Hamid, but was ruled to be offside.
The Black-and-Red then went close in the 73rd minute. Pontius was played in behind the Sporting defense, and held up the ball, waiting for help to arrive. Once it did, he played a cross towards Rolfe, who managed to knock the ball down, before sending his shot from the top of the 18 over the goals.
Substitute Luis Silva sent Pontius in behind SKC's defense again the 80th minute. This time, Pontius picked out DeLeon, who was in space near the penalty spot. But DeLeon was never able to set his feet right, and his one timed effort was no bother to Melia in goal.
Besler's long throw late on in the game caused some issues late on for United, but after the ball bounced around the box and was directed towards goal, Hamid was on call to make the save.
The last chance of the game fell to Michael Farfan in the 5th minute of stoppage time. United's corner was cleared out to him at the top of the box, but his left footed effort was just wide of the goal.
D.C. United is back in action on Wednesday night, hosting Orlando City at 8 PM at RFK Stadium.
<script height="594px" width="1056px" src="http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#pbid=4bfc225f82bf46c48dfb065eda97f74f&ec=U4cHh5dDrZizYEsQITITnWBiKJ3MGr-7"></script>