A 90 minute game between D.C. United and Real Salt Lake turned into a two day affair, but after the game was resumed on Sunday night, RSL got their first-ever win at RFK Stadium. A goal from Luis Silva in the second half was all it took to give the Utah side a 1-0 decision. The loss was United’s 15th on the season, and a disappointing end to what was otherwise an unbelievably exciting week for the team.
The teams played 28 minutes on Saturday night, until referee Drew Fischer stopped play at 27:52 for lightning in the area. The skies opened up, dumped all the rain on the field, and after an inspection of the field, the game was officially postponed about 90 minutes after the delay had begun. By the time the game resumed on Sunday night, the field had dried out, presenting a safer playing surface than the night before.
A week of excitement for United during the transfer deadline was capped off by Ben Olsen handing recorded signing Paul Arriola a start as a right winger in his first appearance, replacing the suspended Lloyd Sam. Chris Odoi-Atsem was the only other change from last week’s 1-1 tie with Toronto FC, replacing Taylor Kemp, who missed out due to a hip injury. Russell Canouse and Bruno Miranda, two other signings for United were on the bench, while the other new face Zoltan Stieber awaits for his ITC and visa to come through.
In the first installment of the game, United had the better of the opportunities. Nick DeLeon had an opportunity to score within 15 seconds, but he blasted a shot from the top of the box well over after being set up by Arriola. DeLeon forced keeper Nick Rimando into a save in the 6th minute, earning a corner on a follow up.
Luciano Acosta curled the corner to the far post, where center back Kofi Opare made a run. Opare was able to head the ball back across the face of goal, but no one in the Black-and-Red could get a second touch to direct the ball over the line.
Joao Plata had a free kick blocked out for a corner for RSL, and Arriola - combining with Marcelo Sarvas - had a look at goal from outside the box in the 21st minute, but his left-footed effort was always wide of the goal.
Then came the delay. The same 22 players came back on the field to resume the game on Sunday night, with United restarting the game with a corner kick. Understandably, it took a while for the teams to get a feeling for the game once again.
Deshorn Brown collided with Sunny Obayan, and had to be removed as the first half ticked away. The team was evaluating Brown for a concussion, while Patrick Mullins came on for only his second appearance since returning from knee surgery. It was the firs time that he and Acosta were on the field at the same time since May 28th, during a win against the Vancouver Whitecaps. That lack of time together has been one of many reasons for United’s struggles.
And almost immediately, Acosta and Mullins combined for an opportunity in the 42nd minute. Acosta somehow managed to get the ball into the box between two defenders, and then spun around two more to create space. His pass into the middle was redirected by Mullins, but didn’t have enough to get past Rimando.
In stoppage time, Opare nearly notched his second goal in successive weeks. A free kick from long range from Acosta was blocked by the one man wall, but Acosta quickly recollected. His ball back into the box found Opare, who beat Rimando with a header only to be denied by the crossbar.
A rare first half chance for Salt Lake came about moments later after a poor turnover from United. Luis Silva, formerly a Black-and-Red player, picked up an errant ball and quickly broke towards goal. The angle on his shot was tough though, and it sailed wide of Bill Hamid’s goal.
Kyle Beckerman was the surprise creator of the first chance of the second half, as he used a bit of trickery to create an opening for a cross in the 54th minute. His early service went towards the near post, where Silva couldn’t send his header on target. A second cross from RSL was cleared out by a sliding Opare.
United have had plenty of struggles this year at home, and they went behind once again, as Luis Silva fired RSL ahead in the 65th minute. United couldn’t clear a free kick in the box, and a second cross fell right to Marcelo Sarvas. Sarvas tried to pass the ball out far too casually, sending right to Silva, who smashed a shot past Hamid for the 1-0 lead.
There was an opportunity moments later for RSL to double their lead, as Joao Plata got the ball down on the left flank on a counter. His ball into the middle nearly reached Jefferson Savarino, but a crucial touch from Arriola put the ball out for a corner.
In the 70th minute, a corner from Savarino found center back Marcelo Silva in the box for RSL. Silva got free from Steve Birnbaum, but his bouncing header was saved by Hamid on the line. Plata’s 77th minute shot was well-taken, but it zipped just over the bar.
Miranda came on for Jared Jeffrey to make his debut for United, but D.C. were having a tough time getting back into the game. A long free kick from Marcelo in the 79th minute found Birnbaum in the box, but his weak header bounced right to Rimando, who had no issues in grabbing the ball.
Julian Buescher was then brought on for Odoi-Atsem, but United failed to muster anything that could have led to an equalizer. RSL expertly saw out the final ten minutes plus stoppage time, running their unbeaten streak to six games.
United, with 19 points from 24 games, return to action next Saturday, heading west to take on the Colorado Rapids.