WASHINGTON – Brian Ching’s 88th-minute goal earned the Houston Dynamo a 2-2 draw against D.C. United and a valuable road point at RFK Stadium on Saturday.
The forward’s tally canceled out goals from DC’s Charlie Davies and Chris Pontius, which came either side of a first-half Brad Davis penalty. Looking to take revenge from a 4-1 loss earlier in the year, DC dominated possession in the first 20 minutes, creating a number of scoring opportunities that they couldn’t convert.
The hard work finally paid off in the 31st minute. Midfielder Dax McCarty hustled to keep a ball in play on the left wing. He found Josh Wolff running away from goal, who kept the ball moving to Chris Pontius. From 25 years out, the midfielder took two touches to find space and fired a driven shot past a sprawling Tally Hall.
Just 10 minutes later, Houston got on the board. Brian Ching received the ball in the DC box and Hamid dove in, reaching for the ball. Ching eluded Hamid, and his left foot caught the Dynamo striker. Referee Mark Kadlecik pointed to the spot, and Brad Davis stepped up and converted the penalty to tie the game in the 41st minute.
United weren’t content to sit on the tie and continued to press forward. McCarty almost scored off a corner, and Hall came up huge to save Davies' header. Right before the half, Hamid then had to be alert to keep out a Bruin header.
While DC started the game on the front foot, Houston came out of the gates in the second a much different side – this despite having to sub off playmaker Davis for Colin Clark. In the 58th minute, Hamid tipped a speculative volley from Danny Cruz onto the bar, and Perry Kitchen’s lunging block off Bruin kept it tied.
As DC struggled to seize momentum, Houston kept pressing in search of their first win on the road. Clark, in a lively substitute’s role, sent a low cross in that eluded a diving Hamid, and Cruz hit off the post with an empty net.
Despite Houston’s bright performance in the second half, DC took the lead again in the 73rd minute. Sub Fred played a cross-field ball for Andy Najar on the right wing. Najar danced past Houston's Colin Clark. Mike Chabala intervened to strip Najar, but Davies was there to poke home past Hall.
The Dynamo were down but not out. Throwing numbers forward in search of an equalizer, it came in the 88th minute. Clark had time on the left wing, and curled in a cross to an unmarked Ching for the tying goal.
June 25, 2011 -- RFK Stadium
DC -- Chris Pontius 5 (Josh Wolff 4, Dax McCarty 2) 31
HOU -- Brad Davis 2 (penalty kick) 41
DC -- Charlie Davies 8 (unassisted) 73
HOU -- Brian Ching 1 (Colin Clark 1, Geoff Cameron 3) 89
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie (Cam Weaver 78), Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe (Mike Chabala 68), Danny Cruz, Je-Vaughn Watson, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis (Colin Clark 46), Brian Ching, Will Bruin.
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Boswell, Hunter Freeman, Jason Garey, Tyler Deric.
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Jed Zayner, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Clyde Simms, Dax McCarty (Fred 59), Chris Pontius, Charlie Davies (Stephen King 85), Josh Wolff (Blake Brettschneider 69).
Substitutes Not Used: Brandon Barklage, Chris Korb, Conor Shanosky, Steve Cronin.
HOU -- Kofi Sarkodie (caution; Reckless Tackle) 74
DC -- Chris Pontius (caution; Dissent) 96+
HOU -- Danny Cruz (caution; Delaying a Restart) 96+
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Referee's Assistants: -Rob Fereday; James Conlee
4th Official: John McCloskey
Time of Game: 1:53