United play complete match in win over Red Bulls
By Dylan Butler / MLSnet.comE. RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After losing leads in three of the first four games of the season, D.C. United coach Tom Soehn has been stressing the importance of playing the entire 90 minutes to his team since the beginning of the season.That point was fired home emphatically Sunday afternoon when United scored two late goals in a span of less than two minutes to come away with a dramatic 3-2 win against the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium."It's funny. We said it's a 90-minute game and we waited until the last three minutes to turn it up," Soehn said. "It was a gutty performance."Staring at what would have been a bitter 2-1 loss to their archrivals, D.C. rallied late -- very late. In the 90th minute, Pontius switched fields, finding Quaranta, who played a sublime first-time volley across the goal where Luciano Emilio tapped home the equalizer."It always felt like once we got that one, we could get the last one," Quaranta said. "It shows the amount of fight. It was a young team out there for us at the end of the game. You have to be happy with this result because this is going down in the end to help us a lot."Less than two minutes later, D.C. struck for the winning goal, capitalizing on a defensive breakdown between Jon Conway and Alfredo Pacheco, who both froze as Thabiso (Boyzzz) Khumalo pounced on Marc Burch's long ball and attempted a shot. The ball found Pontius, who knocked it into the open net for the winner in the first of three minutes of second-half stoppage time."I though the 'keeper was kind of slow because I reached the ball before he got there," Khumalo said. "I didn't mean to pass, I was trying to score, but somehow it slipped to Chris and Chris was there and he put it in the net."As pleased as they were to come away with three points in dramatic fashion, D.C. players were disappointed that they didn't put the game away in a dominant first half. After Rodney Wallace's first Major League Soccer goal in the 21st minute, there were chances aplenty for D.C. to get more.The best chance came five minutes after Wallace's goal, when Pontius flicked the ball on to an open Quaranta, who attempted to chip Conway from the top of the 18-yard box, but his lob went off the top netting.Then, in first-half stoppage time, Conway was late off his line in an attempt to punch the ball away. The 'keeper crashed to the turf and Wallace found himself staring at an open net, but he was denied of a brace by former University of Maryland teammate Jeremy Hall, who made the save on the line."I missed a chance, we hit the crossbar and you're looking at a game that could be 3-0 at halftime," Quaranta said. "When you let a team like New York hang around, they have a lot of weapons -- Juan Pablo (Angel) is phenomenal. We showed a lot of heart and character and that's all you can ask of the team."The Red Bulls switched formations, brought on Jorge Rojas at halftime and went to three defenders and D.C. struggled to adjust. The Venezuelan international placed his stamp on the game, setting up both New York goals in a six-minute span.But Soehn also made a key change, bringing on Khumalo's pace in the 81st minute for Wallace."We wanted to win the game and do whatever we can to get points," Soehn said. "Boyzzz carried a lot of energy for us, (Brandon) Barklage came in and we started to play a little soccer at the end. It caught them by surprise."With the win, D.C. is currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Perhaps more importantly, it is the second consecutive game where United have been able to salvage points at the death."It's huge," Pontius said. "Obviously everyone knows it wasn't the prettiest game, but if you could manage to get 'Ws' on the board, that's what this league is about. Three points here is huge."