The boys in blue managed to pick up a point but should have had all three as a stoppage-time equalizer gave the home side a point.
Tranquillo Barnetta and Chris Pontius scored for the Union but the defense let them down once again as a late equalizer by Steve Birnbaum in second-half stoppage brought DC United level at 2 and allowed them to gain a point.
Union first XI: Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Tribbett, Rosenberry; Carroll, Barnetta; Pontius, Herbers, Ilsinho; Sapong
DC United first XI: Hamid; Kemp, Boswell, Birnbaum, Franklin; Sam, Acosta, DeLeon, Nyarko, Vincent; Mullins
DC had the better of the play early and they cashed in on it. Taylor Kemp opened the scoring for DC in the sixteenth minute, streaking down the left side after a terrible Ken Tribbett turnover and beating Tribbett yet again right at the box before he fired a rocket side netting past Union keeper Andre Blake. Tribbett’s nightmare night continued when he was left alone in the box for a free header off a corner and couldn’t put it on target, pushing it wide. As the first half progressed, the Union grew into the game however, and right before half, Tranquillo Barnetta curled home a beautiful free kick over the wall from thirty yards out at the top of the box, beating a cheating Bill Hamid and leveling the match at one goal apiece. Brian Carroll had to come out of the match just before that with an apparent ankle injury, and Warren Creavalle took his place.
The Union continued to carry play into the second half. Ilsinho was particularly good for the Union, and in the 57th minute, he set up Chris Pontius for the go-ahead goal. Ilsinho bumped his mark off of the ball and played it to Pontius, who made no mistake in putting it past Hamid for a 2-1 Union lead. Pontius, the Union’s leading goal scorer with nine now, made sure to not celebrate the big goal against his former team, and was applauded when he was eventually subbed off.
The lead held up through regulation time, which saw DC United coach Ben Olsen get sent off in the 85th minute for verbal abuse of the referee. In the five minutes of injury time, DC surged forward and owned the ball, and it seemed inevitable that the equalizer was coming. Blake made a terrific double save, but eventually DC found the equalizer through the head of Steve Birnbaum, who took a cross at the far post and put it past a helpless Blake, nearly at the final whistle.
This was surely two points dropped for the Union, and their run of tepid play continues. While Charlie Davies made his first appearance and Alejandro Bedoya will surely make his next week, they need more from their back line if they’re to make the playoffs let alone make any noise. Ken Tribbett had a terrible night (although he did have a goal line clearance). A clamoring is rising up for Josh Yaro to start the next few matches to see what he has in Tribbett’s stead, and I can’t say I blame them. Something has to get better, or the good start to this season will go for nothing.