D.C. United played its fourth preseason scrimmage against Real Salt Lake Tuesday afternoon at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz. The Black-and-Red showed character and determination to overcome a 0-1 deficit, earning a 1-1 draw against the Western Conference rivals.
Ben Olsen sent his team onto the field with Joe Willis on goal; Daniel Woolard as left back, Emiliano Dudar and Dejan Jakovic as center backs, Robbie Russell as right back, Perry Kitchen in the defensive midfield, Danny Cruz on the left, Andy Najar on the right and Stephen King as attacking midfielder. Nick DeLeon played up top, pairing up with center forward Maicon Santos.
The first warning for United came in the fifth minute, as Fabian Espindola was caught offside. The Argentine forward would play an important role for his team minutes later, being involved in the play that preceded RSL’s goal.United showed initiative in the first half by pressing hard in the middle and using the flanks to develop attacking plays. Perry Kitchen demonstrated command of the defensive midfield position by recovering and distributing the ball accurately to the flanks, where Najar and Cruz awaited to push the team forward. United was also able to take control of the left flank several times with good triangle passing between DeLeon, Cruz and Woolard.
An isolated play took place in the 27th minute, as RSL defender Samir Bengelloun lunged at Najar with both feet forward, earning a red card from the referee. Despite the ejection, both teams maintained their composure and were able to continue the match without additional issues. Real Salt Lake was allowed to replace Bengelloun immediately after the red card.
The first goal of the game came in the 33rd minute after Dudar took down Espindola at the top of the box. RSL’s Ned Grabavoy placed the free kick perfectly on Jamison Olave’s head, as the defender broke free from his mark to send the ball into the back of the net, giving his team the 1-0 lead.
The rest of the first half saw the Black-and-Red determined to get the equalizer, with King hitting the left post from the top of the box and Najar shooting from long-range into the hands of former United goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
United kept the pressure on after the break, sending in fresh players in the 60th minute. Midfielder Chris Pontius and defender Ethan White were able to take a significant step forward in their respective recoveries, as they both played the last 30 minutes of the match.
The equalizer arrived in the 76th minute thanks to a great individual effort by midfielder Lance Rozeboom. The Supplemental Draft pick cut out RSL’s play in the middle of the field and took a shot from outside the box, sending the ball into the lower right corner of Lalo Fernandez’s goal.
United came close to capturing the win in the end with two close attempts from Brazilian trialist Alfredo Martins, but neither ball found the net.
D.C. United will remain in Phoenix until Thursday, February 16. The Black-and-Red will then go back to DC and train until Wednesday, February 22nd, before departing for Charleston, South Carolina, where the team is set to participate in the Carolina Cup Challenge.
RSL - Jamison Olave 33' (Ned Grabavoy)
DC - Lance Rozeboom 76'
DC - Emiliano Dudar (caution) 20'
RSL - Samir Bengelloun (ejection) 27'
RSL - Luis Gil (caution) 37'
D.C. UNITED: Willis (Dykstra [trialist] 65'); Woolard (Korb 30'), Dudar (Shanosky 60'), Jakovic (White 60'), Russell (Bruciaga [guest] 46'); Cruz (Pontius 60'), King (Rozeboom [trialist] 60'), Kitchen (Saragosa 46'), Najar (C'deBaca [trialist] 60'); DeLeon (Alfredo [trialist] 60'), Santos (Richter [trialist] 46')
REAL SALT LAKE: Rimando (Fernandez 60'); Bengelloun [red card] (Knight 32'), Schuler (Cruz 60'), Olave (Salcedo 60'), Tanaka (de Almeida 60'); Neal (Steele 46'), Alvarez (Beckerman 60'), Gil (Velasquez 60'), Grabavoy (Muniz 60'); Paulo Jr (Bonfigli 60'), Espindola (Arnoux 46')