Well, that was a thing that happened. After giving up a goal to Ola Kamara in the second half, D.C. United went up a man thanks to Harrison Afful going studs-up on Marcelo Sarvas. United would take advantage in the 88th minute through Fabian Espindola's blast off a loose ball in the Columbus box. United piled on the pressure in stoppage time, but were unable to grab a second, drawing Columbus Crew SC 1-1.
Here's a quick look at what we learned from this trip to central Ohio.
Lloyd Sam is going to do just fine
The newest member of the Black-and-Red was dangerous all night, combining well with Luciano Acosta and Sean Franklin up the right side. He faded late, but looks likely to add some danger to a DC attack that badly needs it. On that note...
Ben Olsen needs to find some offense
Los Capitalinos generated a respectable 15 shots tonight, 5 of them on target, despite ceding much of the ball to their hosts. This worked exceedingly well through the first half, as United turned their 35% of possession into 5 shots, allowing the Crew to pass the ball around their own half and only turning up the press at opportune moments.
But, the Black-and-Red couldn't find a goal until they were throwing bodies forward against a 10-man side. There were chances, but not many great ones, even after a few moments of very nice, flowing movements. With only 18 goals through 19 games, Ben Olsen has to find a way to score goals, whether it's through acquiring a new target man, getting more attacking nous in the midfield, or something else.
This game is the strongest proof that hoarding the ball doesn't equal dominance
I mentioned that United had a decent enough number of shots in the first half, but that's really a product of comparing the number with the Crew's first half totals: 2 shots, 0 on goal. Without sitting deep, United still managed to stymie the Columbus attack. There was some help from "dumb 60-yard throughballs" and "horribly overhit crosses," but it was still a good, pragmatic performance through 45 minutes.
In the second half, both teams found more room and put up more, and better shots, and the possession game was much closer to even.
That's it from me. ChestRockwell will be up a little later with a fuller recap, but for now, take to the comments to let us know what stuck out to you about this 1-1 draw.