Waterhouse FC 1, DC United 2 | CONCACAF Champions League Match Recap
D.C. United made hard work of it at the end, but saw out a tense encounter with Waterhouse FC to win 2-1 thanks to a pair of goals from Fabian Espindola.
The Argentine’s finest moment of the game came when he opened the scoring late in the first half with a fantastic solo effort, and he added another with a headed goal off a cross from United debutant Samuel Inkoom six minutes into the second half.
D.C.’s seemingly comfortable advantage was eroded in quick fashion, though, as Taylor Kemp was ejected in the 70th minute for denial of a goalscoring opportunity, with Waterhouse converting the resultant free kick to make for a nervy ending.
The win pulls D.C. even with Waterhouse on six points in Group 4, but the Jamaicans have now played all four of their games, whereas United have two games remaining against Panamanian outfit Tauro FC, who have zero points from two games. A point in either of their remaining games against Tauro (Sept. 24 at home, Oct. 21 away) would be enough to win them the group and secure a spot in the CCL quarterfinals.
Head coach Ben Olsen used the match to give a United debut to recently-signed Ghana international defender Inkoom. The lineup was otherwise a mix of first- and second-stringers, with regulars Espindola, Perry Kitchen and Bill Hamid all going from the start.
Both sides probed early, with Waterhouse goalkeeper Richard McCallum stretching to deny Espindola in the 11th minute, and Hamid returning the favor on a couple occasions, including a clean 28th-minute look from Damarley Samuels.
Espindola stole the show in the 38th minute, though, when he picked up an errant pass all alone in the Waterhouse half, took the ball past three men, and lifted it over McCallum and into the far corner with his weaker right foot. He then grabbed his second in the 51st minute, finding enough space to meet an inswinging cross from Inkoom and head home.
Things went south for D.C. United in the 70th minute when Kemp brought down Kenroy Howell just as the Waterhouse midfielder was attempting to go 1-v-1 with Bill Hamid in the area, resulting in a red card for Kemp and a free kick. Hughan Gray converted the chance off the underside of the crossbar, giving Hamid no chance on a night he was called upon to make a number of key saves.
The D.C. 'keeper then had to tip a 76th-minute effort from distance out for a corner, and saved a stoppage-time effort from Gray, but was otherwise spared by some wasteful finishing from the home side.
Before facing Tauro next Wednesday, United return to league action on Saturday with a trip to the Chicago Fire.