WASHINGTON — In front of a crowd of 18,028 spectators at RFK Stadium, DC United fell to the Orlando City Soccer Club, 2-1.
Orlando City owned the majority of the first half, keeping DC United’s defense stretched out. It was the first half that brought Orlando their only two goals of the match. DC United’s frustration with the first half of the match showed up when Luciano Acosta at the 24th minute and Paul Arriola at the 33rd minute were flagged with yellow cards for unsporting behavior.
The second half of the match, DC United was back as the dominating home team that fans expected. They played faster, more aggressively, and with an obvious sense of urgency. DC United head coach Ben Olsen commented that the second half was better for the team. "The second half was pretty gutsy from us, and I thought we should have earned a little bit more out of that game."
In the 79th minute, Orlando City’s Servando Carrasco earned his second yellow card and was removed from the match. Ten minutes later Kofi Opare got a shot off that Orlando could not stop, scoring the first and only goal of the match for DC United.
Injuries and cards, six yellows so far, added a minimum of six minutes of additional playing time to the match. It was a long six minutes at RFK. Orlando City was down to 10 players on the pitch and DC United was keyed up like a swarm of bees attacking trespassers of the hive. The physicality of the game went to all ahead full. Orlando played out a fairly obvious time-wasting injury of player Giles Barnes, who was attended to while on the field, which added to the tension on the pitch. Shortly afterwards, United’s Sam Lloyd and Orlando’s Seb Hines mixed it up.
The result was a near brawl as Hines was awarded a red card and ejected for violent behavior. Lloyd continued to share his opinion with the referee after the incident was resolved. Lloyd’s dissent earned him a yellow card. Orlando midfielder Kaká was awarded a yellow card for dissent three minutes later.
Barnes returned to the field a short while later, showing no signs of injury short of a barely discernible limp.
Due to ejections and card accumulations, Orlando City will be playing without three of their starters at the next match. Orlando maintained their narrow lead until the end of the game.
Defender Steve Birnbaum of DC United said of the seemingly long stoppage time, “It was crazy. I kept going up to the ref asking for more and more time because they were giving cards out and you don’t know how much time is left on the clock, so it was a weird situation.”
DC United’s next home match will be on Saturday, Sept. 23 against the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:00 p.m. On the same day and time, the Washington Spirit will also play a home game against the Boston Breakers at Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds.