DC United 2, New England Revolution 1 | MLS Match Recap
WASHINGTON – D.C. United moved into first-place in MLS on Sunday, getting a pair of second half goals from Chris Rolfe to wash away an early Charlie Davies strike and lead United to a 2-1 win against the visiting New England Revolution.
The result pushed United to the top of the Supporters’ Shield race, with D.C. now holding a two-point cushion on the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps in the league table. The win also extended the Black-and-Red’s lead atop the Eastern Conference to seven points over the second-place Revolution, who sit four points ahead of third-place Orlando.
Both teams were stretched thin, with the two sides having played midweek US Open Cup matches; on Sunday, game-time temperatures in the low 90’s only added to the challenge.
Davies opened the scoring in the 10th minute, putting the exclamation mark on a lovely team combination. Midfielder Scott Caldwell collected a pass around the midfield stripe, easily finding an open Teal Bunbury about 35 yards out. Bunbury flicked it along to a streaking Lee Nguyen, who sent a low cross in from the outside of the area to Davies at the top of the six. The former United forward did well to redirect the ball towards goal with his first touch, eluding an outstretched Bill Hamid and netting his seventh goal of the year.
The Revs nearly doubled their lead on a similar combination play in the 23rd, when Nguyen received a pass from Bunbury and found Chris Tierney streaking into the left side of the area. The veteran left back couldn’t sneak his shot past Hamid, who wisely charged out to meet to smother his shot. About 30 seconds later, United forward Fabian Espindola made his own run down the near sideline, bending a cross in towards Nick DeLeon at the spot. DeLeon could not connect.
Though both sides showed signs of fatigue throughout the opening 45, New England seemed to wilt a bit less in the summer heat. They nearly opened the second stanza with a bang, as a Nguyen screamer from 20 yards only narrowly missed, skimming inches above the crossbar.
D.C. worked themselves back into the match early after the Nguyen chance and nearly equalized in the 56th minute. Espindola collected a pass in the far corner and took advantage of a New England back line that seemed to be looking for an offside call. He quickly fired the ball across the box — finding Rolfe about seven yards from goal — but Rolfe’s effort was deflected away by Tierney near the goal line.
Rolfe would make no mistake in the 70th. DeLeon took the ball into the near corner, cut back an layed it off to Espindola at the near edge of the box. Espindola took a pair of touches towards the endline before sending a bent service across the box to Rolfe, who volleyed the service home without hesitation for the equalizer.
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The former Chicago Fire midfielder’s second goal was a touch easier. In the 81st minute, second-half substitute Steve Neumann clamored into United midfielder Miguel Aguilar at the edge of the area, and referee Ismail Elfath immediately pointed to the spot. Rolfe struck the ensuing PK low and to the right of New England ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth, sealing the victory.
Neither team will have much time to recover after Sunday’s scorcher as both will hit the road for yet another pair of midweek encounters on Wednesday. United will face the Chicago Fire, while New England will travel west to Columbus for an encounter with the Crew.