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DC United 2, Philadelphia Union 2 | 2016 MLS Match Recap

Steve Birnbaum scored a dramatic goal right before the final whistle to help D.C. United earn a last-gasp point with a 2-2 draw vs. the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night at RFK Stadium.

The 94th-minute equalizer partially spoiled a memorable homecoming for Chris Pontius, who put the Union ahead against his former club earlier in the second half. It was the team-leading ninth goal of the season for Pontius, who spent the first seven seasons of his MLS career with D.C.

Tranquillo Barnetta also scored on a stunning free kick right before halftime for the Union, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Taylor Kemp netted his first goal of the season for D.C. United, who remain winless since June 25.

D.C. head coach Ben Olsen was ejected in the 85th minute after arguing that his team was not getting enough calls.

Box score

Three things

  1. PUSHING FOR THE WINNER: After controlling play for much of the first half, D.C. United hit a snag to let the Union pull ahead with two straight goals. But the hosts showed a lot of fight after falling behind, hounding the goal and refusing to left the struggling Union backline get settled. If not for a monster double save from Andre Blake earlier in stoppage time, D.C. United could have tied the game or perhaps even rallied completely back for a victory. But they’ll likely be mostly content to get a point on such a dramatic late goal and avoid dropping to 0-3 vs. the rival Union this season.
  2. HAPPY HOMECOMINGS: Pontius had already played two games against D.C. United this season, but the longtime D.C. player still knew it would feel special to play in his old stomping grounds at RFK Stadium for the first time as a visiting player. And he showed his respect for his old club by hardly celebrating his go-ahead goal in the second half — one that was made possible by an excellent defensive play and pass by Ilsinho. Pontius’ exit also marked a cool moment as he was replaced by Charlie Davies, the former D.C. United player making his Union debut a couple of days after being traded from the New England Revolution.
  3. DEFENSIVE SHORTCOMINGS: The Union will naturally be happy that Pontius upped his goal total to nine and Barnetta scored his second dazzling free-kick goal of the season. And the midfield will certainly be boosted when Alejandro Bedoya — who wasn’t available vs. D.C. after getting acquired from FC Nantes on Wednesday — makes his MLS debut next week. But defensive issues continue to persist for the Union, who have now given up 11 goals in four games and lost valuable defensive midfielder Brian Carroll to an injury right before halftime. Of course, credit must also go to D.C. United, who enjoyed just their fifth multi-goal game of the season after trying to upgrade their own attack during the transfer window.

Next Up

  • DC: Saturday, August 13 vs. Portland Timbers (7pm ET, MLS LIVE)
  • PHI: Saturday, August 13 at New England Revolution (7:30pm ET, MLS LIVE)
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