D.C. United ended a two game MLS skid, and started a new home winning streak in the process, in a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution on Sunday at RFK Stadium. The Black-and-Red fell behind early from a goal from former United striker Charlie Davies, but responded in the second half with two goals from Chris Rolfe.
With a lineup that featured 10 changes from the team that beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Wednesday in the US Open Cup, United came from behind in the second half for their 9th win of the season, solidifying their spot atop the Eastern Conference, with 31 points from 18 games.
The Revs set the tempo early on their right hand side, going out wide to Teal Bunbury, who was able to skip past Taylor Kemp in defense and deliver a cross into the box. With Davies lurking, Bill Hamid was able to smother the ball before it reached it's target.
Fabian Espindola had a free kick cleared in the 7th minute, but the ball eventually fell to Rolfe, who saw his effort deflected out for a corner from outside the box. The corner was cleared by the Revs, but as Kemp collected the ball at midfield, he sent a ball back in that Steve Birnbaum headed wide of the target.
Two minutes later, Davies notched the opening goal, his team leading 7th of the campaign. London Woodberry picked out Bunbury on the right, and a deft touch from the midfielder picked out Lee Nguyen's run in behind United's defense. Nguyen sent a cross in on the ground, allowing Davies in between Birnbaum and Bobby Boswell, where he poked the ball home.
Chris Tierney, who was sent off in the first meeting between the two teams last month, nearly doubled New England's lead in the 22nd minute. After a spell of possession, the Revs managed to get United out of position, and Tierney's run into space was found. But from a tight angle, Hamid made the save to keep United within a goal.
United had several near chances in the following minutes, finding space amongst the Revs defense, without creating any threatening scoring chances. Espindola skipped around Woodberry on the left before delivering a cross in, but Nick DeLeon just missed getting on the end of it with pressure from Tierney.
A long ball up from Boswell was claimed by Bobby Shuttleworth with Espindola chasing, before Espindola had another chance tackled away just while he was lining up a shot in the box.
Nguyen came close in the 33rd minute, managing to get a shot in between Birnbaum's legs from inside the box. The shot took a deflection off of Birnbaum, and was on course to go in at the near post, before Hamid reacted quickly to push the ball out for a corner.
DeLeon and Rolfe both had semi-chances from outside the box, but both failed to get their efforts on target. Rolfe then had a little of the ball in the box that went straight to Shuttleworth.
New England had the final chance of the half, as Bunbury found time on the right, sending in a cross that Juan Agudelo won. Agudelo's header had Hamid beat, but the ball bounced just wide of the far post.
Agudelo and Nguyen combined early on in the second half to create a great look for Nguyen to add to the Revs' lead. After Agudelo worked himself into the box, he then picked out Nguyen, who had time and space to line up at shot from the top of the box. But the midfielder's effort sailed just over Hamid and the crossbar, sparing United a two goal deficit.
Shuttleworth made a mess of Espindola's cross in the 57th minute minute, failing to grab the ball as it came towards him near the goal. The drop fell right to Rolfe, who had his shot from close range blocked off the line by Shuttleworth and Jose Goncalves.
Nguyen tried to chip Hamid from outside the box, but Hamid was well positioned to step back and claim the ball. Davy Arnaud then had a great opportunity from the top of the box from a Rolfe feed, but sent his shot high over the goal.
After taking most of United's shots up to that point, it was only right that the equalizer for the Black-and-Red came from Rolfe, who tallied his fifth goal of the season. DeLeon was able to play Espindola into space down the right, allowing the Argentinian to lift a cross to the back post. The cross eluded several Revs defenders, and Rolfe was all alone to volley home to make the score 1-1.
Espindola nearly created a second goal for United two minutes later, as his free kick from the left skipped through the box. Though the ball was in a dangerous position, no one from either team managed to get a touch on it, despite several United players nearly connecting.
United then took the lead in the 81st minute, thanks for Rolfe's second goal of the day, from the penalty spot. Miguel Aguilar, who had come in early in the second half for Conor Doyle, was clipped near the corner of the box by fellow substitute Steve Neumann. Ismail Elfath immediately pointed to the spot, and Rolfe sent Shuttleworth the wrong way for his team leading sixth goal of the season.
The Revs applied plenty of pressure in the dying stages of the game looking for an equalizer, but only came close when Davies headed a Tierney cross over the goal.