For the first time in the season DC United were leading a game. Fabian Espindola with a 21-yard shot, and Perry Kitchen with a right-footer put the Black-and-Red at the driving seat against Chicago Fire on Saturday. But the lead didn’t last for too long.
In the 82nd minute at RFK Stadium, Quincy Amarikwa netted his second goal of the season for the Fire after a clinical assist from Patrick Nyarko, handling a final draw to both sides at 2-2.
With the negative result United have extended their winless streak to 15 matches, and the Chicago side prolonged its undefeated streak versus the Ben Olsen’s side to five matches since late 2012.
Chicago Fire (4-4-2): Johnson, Watson, Hurtado, Soumare, Cochrane, Shipp, Larentowicz, Alex (80’ Anangono), Joya (56’ Nyarko), Amarikwa (89’ Rolfe) and Magee
DC United (4-3-1-2): Hamid; Franklin, Parke, Boswell, Fernandez, Neal (63’Jeffrey), Kitchen, DeLeon, Silva (38’ Arnaud), Espindola (81’ Doyle) and Johnson.
Yellow cards: 22' Nick DeLeon (DC), 56' Jeff Parke (DC) and 58' Greg Cochrane (Fire).
DC United and Chicago Fire started in a very slow tempo due to the rain in the nation’s capital. With that in mind, the visitors tried long-range balls and showed signs of tension in their backline kicking any possible incoming balls sideways.
Meanwhile, United had a consistent passing game and created the first attacking opportunities with Sean Franklin crossing into the box from the right wing.
In the 16th minute, Eddie Johnson’s stroke with his right foot, but Fire’s goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped the attempt. Just a few minutes later, United striker Fabian Espindola fired a powerful header, which once again was punched away by Johnson.
The Black-and-Red came in to this match with the fewest shots on goal in the league, but just before the end of the first half they had doubled their numbers.
As the home crowd started to feel the possibility to see the first goal of DC United in the season, central defender Jhon Hurtado from Chicago Fire scored a header in the top left corner of Bill Hamid, putting the visitors ahead at RFK stadium at the 27th minute.
Less than 10 minutes later, Johnson pushed another counter-attack for the home team and suffered a foul inches away from the box. In a two-touch set piece, Espindola fired up to beat Johnson after Nick DeLeon rolled it to the side in the free-kick making the game 1-1.
Close to the end of the first half, Olsen was forced to burn his first substitution after Luis Silva made a tackle and apparently twisted his right ankle around the 38th minute, so Davy Arnaud entered for the midfielder.
The second part of the match kicked off completely different from the first 45 minutes and both the Black-and-Red and Fire came close to take the lead. The visitors almost saw a second net with consecutive crosses and corners chances pounding on United’s door.
But at the 74th minute, it was time for the home team to come up with a surprise. In a left side corner, Bobby Boswell headed on goal, tried a shot after a rebound from Johnson, but it didn’t go through. Then in a third attempt, at this time from United midfielder Perry Kitchen, the ball went in and the home side were ahead in the game.
Seeing his team behind, Frank Yallop decided to switch midfielder Alex for the forward Juan Anangono. Yet it was Nyarko, who entered in the 56th minute for Benji Joya, that delivered a cross inside the box so Amarikwa could finish on the right down side of Hamid making it 2-2.
Johnson tried one last counter-attack for United and found Jared Jeffrey open on the left wing, but the midfielder didn’t reach his teammate’s expectations to return the ball to him. And the game ended at a tie.
With the draw DC United moved up one position from last in the Eastern Conference to ninth place with one point in three matches. While Chicago Fire continue as the sixth seed in the same conference after four games and three points.
Game Numbers (full time): DC United vs Chicago Fire
Possession: 52.4% 47.6%
Shots (on goal): 17(9) 13 (4)
Fouls: 16 7
Corners: 5 4
Most effective player for DC United: Eddie Johnson
Most effective player for Chicago Fire: Quincy Amarikwa
Least effective player for DC United: Cristian Fernandez
Least effective player for Chicago Fire: Matt Watson
Next on for DC United:
After scoring their first point in the 2014 MLS season, Ben Olsen’s side will remain in Washington D.C. during the week and face the New England Revolution next Saturday.