WASHINGTON – A second-half penalty kick from D.C. United’s Chris Pontius canceled out Drew Moor’s first-half goal, as United battled back for a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.
The result means the Rapids finish a three-game road swing with a win and two draws. United, meanwhile, also stretched a recent unbeaten run to three games.
The Rapids entered the match missing several injured forwards, including Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan. The return to fitness of Conor Casey, though, gave them optimism. The big striker started on the bench after missing several matches, and came on late in the second half.
The regular D.C. frontline of Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies looked active early. The former nearly sent the latter in on goal in the 10th minute. But Davies’ touch let him down, as the Colorado defense bent without breaking.
Their sternness set the scene for the opening goal from Moor in the 23rd minute. Jamie Smith’s in swinging delivery from the left side wasn’t cleared by D.C.’s defense, and Moor pounced on the loose ball, sliding a shot past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
As D.C. struggled to get back into the game, coach Ben Olsen was forced to sub out his starting forward line before the half was out. Davies and Wolff both picked up injuries, and Santino Quaranta and Joseph Ngwenya came on in their place.
Ngwenya’s speed proved to be mettlesome for the Rapids defense. Early in the second half, he carried the ball into Colorado’s box and as he lined up his shot, he was dragged down by Rapids midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. Referee Terry Vaughn, however, waved play on.
D.C. continued the pressure, and their efforts were rewarded in the 62nd minute.
Working on the far left side of the Colorado area, Pontius collided with Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura. Both players went down, and this time Vaughn pointed to the spot.
With normal United penalty taker Davies off the field, Pontius stepped up and beat Pickens to level the score at 1-1.
A gritty and physical encounter unraveled over the game’s final 30 minutes, and both sides had chances to win it.
In the 87th minute, Rapids’ substitute Sanna Nyassi’s cross was tipped by D.C. defender Dejan Jakovic, but it fell right to Wells Thompson, who blasted his shot way over at the top of the box.
In stoppage time, United nearly earned all three points but Ngwenya fired wide after Pickens made a good save from a Pontius effort.
D.C. now have a two-week break from league play before facing off with the Portland Timbers on Sunday, May 29. They take on Dutch side Ajax in a friendly next Sunday.
The Rapids return home to play Toronto FC on Sunday, May 22.
D.C. UNITED: Hamid; Kitchen, White, Jakovic, Woolard; Najar, Simms (Fred 80'), McCarty (c), Pontius; Wolff (Ngwenya 44'), Davies (Quaranta 34')
Unused substitutes: Brettschneider, Burch, Korb, Cronin
Colorado Rapids: Pickens; Kimura, Marshall, Wynne; Moor, Thompson (LaBauex 94'), Larentowicz, Mastroeni; Smith, Akpan (Nyassi 75'), Amarikwa (Casey 67')
Unused substitutes: Ceus, Earls, Palguta, Nane
Colorado Rapids - Drew Moor 23'
D.C. United - Chris Pontius 62' (PK) | VIDEO
D.C. United - 11
Colorado Rapids - 7
SHOTS ON GOAL:
D.C. United - 4
Colorado Rapids - 2
D.C. United - 1
Colorado Rapids - 3
Drew Moor - caution 45'
Matt Pickens 92'
D.C. United - 15
Colorado Rapids - 7
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Assistants: Steven Taylor, Jason Cullum
4th official: Daniel Fitzgerald