D.C. United and Chivas USA may have been in last place in their respective conferences headed into Saturday’s meeting at RFK Stadium, but they certainly served up plenty of entertainment for the 13,043 fans in attendance, trading goals all night before Carey Talley’s injury-time penalty kick gave the home side a 3-2 victory.
United’s teenage midfielder Andy Najar, who turned in a man-of-the-match performance on the right wing, scored the opener and Adam Cristman tapped in before Talley’s late heroics, while Justin Braun and Maykel Galindo found the net in a losing effort.
The opener came from the visitors. Chivas USA frontman Justin Braun raced past D.C. center back Talley, getting around the corner and advancing on United’s goal. With a tight angle, Braun hit a low shot underneath Bill Hamid to give the Rojiblancos the lead on their first foray forward.
It marked yet another gut punch for a team grown accustomed to them this season, but they responded admirably.
In the 26th minute, United grabbed a well-deserved equalizer when Rodney Wallace tracked down Chivas’ clearance and lofted an angled ball to the far post. Najar had expertly timed his run to beat the Goats’ offside trap. With Thornton at his mercy, the 17-year-old rookie powered a header into the far side of the net for his first league goal.
The Black-and-Red came within inches of taking the lead just moments into the second half when the hard-working Najar deflected Trujillo’s clearance into a dangerous spot just inside the Chivas box. Allsopp strode forward and lashed a first-time shot that beat Thornton, but clanged off the inside of the right post and flew across the face of goal and wide.
The Rojiblancos sat deeper and deeper as United continued their good work.
Finally, in the 76th minute, Quaranta sent Clyde Simms clear into space behind the Chivas defense, and Simms curled a smart early ball into the box. Thornton looked certain to gobble up the cross until a backtracking Dario Delgado lunged at it and poked it away. The ball hit the left post and second-half sub Adam Cristman tapped home the easiest of finishes.
United’s lead lasted less than five minutes, though. Chivas USA caught the Black-and-Red back line napping with a nimble sequence of one- and two-touch passes that culminated in Maykel Galindo sidestepping Juan Manuel Pena and stroking a low shot through Hamid’s legs in the 80th minute.
But it wasn’t over. Just when the Goats seemed to have secured a hard-earned road draw, injury-time drama erupted when Thornton took out Quaranta’s legs, drawing a penalty call and a red card from referee Jasen Anno.
The home fans erupted at the late breakthrough and after the departing Thornton handed his gloves and jersey to the unfortunate Delgado, Talley—of all people—stepped up to the spot and drilled his bid into the lower left corner to give United their second win on the season.
CHV -- Justin Braun 4 (Michael Lahoud 2) 16
DC -- Andy Najar 1 (Rodney Wallace 2) 26
DC -- Adam Cristman 1 (unassisted) 76
CHV -- Maykel Galindo 1 (Justin Braun 3, Sacha Kljestan 3) 80
DC -- Carey Talley 1 (penalty kick) 92+
CHV -- Mariano Trujillo (caution; Reckless Foul) 78
DC -- Stephen King (caution; Reckless Foul) 87
CHV -- Zach Thornton (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity (Foul)) 90
Chivas USA -- Zach Thornton, Mariano Trujillo, Michael Umana (Yamith Cuesta 88), Dario Delgado, Marcelo Saragosa, Michael Lahoud, Ben Zemanski, Blair Gavin, Jesus Padilla (Maykel Galindo 67), Justin Braun (Jose Macotelo 84), Sacha Kljestan.
Substitutes Not Used: Carlos Borja, Osael Romero, Maicon Santos, Kevin Guppy.
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Jordan Graye, Carey Talley, Juan Manuel Pena, Rodney Wallace, Stephen King, Clyde Simms, Andy Najar (Christian Castillo 83), Santino Quaranta (Kurt Morsink 89), Danny Allsopp (Adam Cristman 70), Chris Pontius.
Substitutes Not Used: Julius James, Devon McTavish, Jaime Moreno, Troy Perkins.
Referee: Jasen Anno
Referee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-78-degrees