One would presume that with a team full of first choice options and two weeks of rest, that D.C. United could have produced more than one shot on goal in forty five minutes, and one in the last 25 minutes of their game with the Colorado Rapids. But that's almost what they almost did, but a flurry of offense, culminating in an 87th minute goal from Steve Birnbaum which leveled the match for D.C., helping them escape Colorado with a 1-1 draw.
The first half was a relatively dour affair. Or at least as much as one can be with four shots between both teams. A Rapids free kick sent in by Vicente Sanchez in the 28th minute was cleared clumsily by D.C., finding Bobby Burling's left foot just outside the box. His shot went through a few players on both sides, and Bill Hamid was left with little recourse on the shot, which trickled in in for a 1-0 lead. The shot was Burling's 4th career goal in 138 games.
The boys in Black and Red came out in the second half and very slowly but surely improved their attacks, with Sean Franklin coming up to provide crosses on several occasions, despite the general lack of shots. In the 87th minute, Chris Pontius (on for Chris Rolfe) drew a free kick that Taylor Kemp took. He spotted Fabian Espindola - in his first action since an August 1 win over Real Salt Lake - on a short pass down the wing. Espindola drove a cross to the back post, where Birnbaum headed the ball in for the equalizer and the draw.
"I thought we covered each others' backs pretty well most of the game and Bill came up with a couple of good saves and I was in the right place at the right time and Fabi had a great ball in, and was able to nod the ball in," Birnbaum said about the game and his goal, his second of the year and third across all competitions.
"I told them at halftime we needed to raise everything, raise our quality, and they did that," Olsen said about his halftime talk with the team. "It wasn't a screaming halftime, I thought we were fairly organized and tough to break down. But on the offensive side we were pretty toothless and I think that changed once our composure on the ball got better in the second half."
D.C. (13-10-6) remains in second place in the East, tied with the New York Red Bulls but losing out on the first tiebreaker (head to head points). They are also a point ahead of Columbus Crew SC, who they play Saturday, but not before hosting Arabe Unido in CONCACAF Champions League play midweek. The Rapids (8-10-10), with a chance to move up to eighth place in the Western Conference, fell to last in the West thanks to RSL's win earlier tonight.