In front of a standing-room only crowd, the first-ever Major League Soccer regular season game for the DC United (0-1-2) at the Maryland Soccerplex on Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds, DC United came to a 2-2 draw against the Houston Dynamo (1-1-1).
Spectators packed the stadium in spite of the cold, windy weather spitting snow throughout the match. Good weather or bad, DC United fans are a hardy group willing to travel to northern Montgomery County to see their team play.
Commentators from other news sources predicted DC United would likely have the lowest attendance ever for a MLS game. Instead, DC United played an exciting match against Houston Dynamo in front of a crowd of 5,158.
Playing in a series of snow squalls that rolled through the match, Houston was the first to score a goal, as Alberth Elis scored the first goal of the match in the 30th minute, unassisted. Elis provided the assist for the second goal of the match when Mauro Manotas scored for the Dynamo, placing them 2-0 over DC United. The chances of winning the match did not look good for DC United going into the locker room at halftime.
DC United was the first to score in the second half. Off an assist from Yamil Asad, Darren Mattocks scored in the 50th minute. The goal prevented the match from becoming a shutout for DC United. For the remainder of regular time play, neither team scored.
At the end of regular play, additional stoppage time minutes were added to the match. In the seventh minute of stoppage time, a ball ricocheting off Frédéric Brillant and Paul Arriola found its way to an open slot that Luciano Acosta used to blast the ball into the back of the neck. The Dynamo’s keeper stood no chance of stopping the ball as he was caught far out in front of the net.
The match ended at a 2-2 draw, one point for each team in the MLS standings.
Head coach Ben Olsen said of the match, “It was disappointing not to earn three points today even after gifting them two goals in the first half...I thought there were plenty of opportunities to score goals and put ourselves ahead in the game. Everyone wants instant perfection but this a brand-new group and it’s going to take time. We’re getting opportunities on goal and we were less predictable in the second half. The result shows that the players have some moxie and put on a good performance after a tough first half mentally.”
DC United’s next opportunity to pick up three points will be against the Columbus Crew SC in Columbus, Ohio on March 24.
On the other side of professional soccer, the Washington Spirit played their final pre-season match this past Saturday in a contest against North Carolina Courage. Playing at City Stadium in Richmond, Virginia, the Spirit lost 3-0 to the Courage. This was the first match with a full roster available to play from the Spirit.
It will take a couple of matches for the Spirit to find their footing with all the changes that occurred during the off-season. With their talent and skill, a much better result will be expected from this year’s team. The Spirit open their regular season against the Seattle Reign on March 24 in Seattle, Washington. The home opener will be on March 31 at the Maryland SoccerPlex against the Orlando Pride.