Columbus Crew SC 1, DC United 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
Fabian Espindola picked a good time to end his scoring drought.
Espindola scored as a substitute in the 89th minute to give D.C. United a 1-1 road draw against Columbus Crew SC on Saturday night. The Argentine forward struck just eight minutes after entering the Eastern Conference tilt at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, giving him his first goal since April 9 and canceling out Ola Kamara's tally earlier in the second half.
Crew SC were forced to finish the game with 10 men after Harrison Afful was controversially sent off with a straight red card in the 74th minute. Afful was ejected by referee Silviu Petrescu for a sliding challenge on D.C. midfielder Marcelo Sarvas.
Columbus were nearly able to manage through the loss of Afful, but Espindola made no mistake when a ball fell to him just outside the penalty area late in the match.
- 63' -- CLB -- Ola Kamara (Harrison Afful, Tony Tchani)
- 89' -- DC -- Fabian Espindola
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- CONTROVERSIAL CALL: Columbus Crew SC will rue their inability to see out the game given how close they were to the finish line, but that they had to do so with 10 men was controversial. Columbus were reduced to 10 men with 16 minutes remaining after Afful went to ground to challenge a 50-50 ball that Marcelo Sarvas stepped on. Replays appeared to show Afful made no contact with Sarvas, but he was sent for an early shower nonetheless by head referee Silviu Petrescu.
- MISFIRING IN FRONT OF NET: After the first half yielded few clear-cut scoring opportunities for either side, things picked up in the second stanza. Still, Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark and D.C. United netminder Bill Hamid were not overly troubled as the two teams' attacks failed to provide much of a threat in the final third aside from their goal-scoring sequences.
- SOLID DEBUT: Lloyd Sam made his first appearance for D.C. since being traded by the New York Red Bulls, and he made it a respectable outing. Sam played a couple of dangerous passes to teammates during his 90-minute shift, whipped in several of his trademark crosses after halftime, and threatened while taking corner kicks. There were a few moments of miscommunication with his new teammates, but this was a performance he can build upon.