The absence of a finishing touch was the name of the game Saturday night at RFK Stadium, as D.C. United and the Seattle Sounders FC battled to a 0-0 draw in front of 15,651 fans.
Despite a lack of clear-cut opportunities throughout the match, Seattle left back Marc Burch nearly stole the show late on, as he sent a header crashing against the bar moments after coming into the match.
By each gaining a single point, Seattle (2-1-1) and D.C. (1-2-2) remained stuck in mid-table in the Western and Eastern Conferences. United squandered a chance to win back-to-back games at RFK, while Seattle was forced to settle for a draw in their first road game of the season.
Neither side dominated in the first half, but there were several chances for each team to find the opening goal. Fredy Montero had decent look at goal from just outside the box in the 22nd minute, but the Colombian’s shot was straight at United keeper Joe Willis.
Just a minute later, Albanian striker Hamdi Salihi almost opened his MLS account for United, as he made a near post run to meet a Nick DeLeon cross. The striker’s unlucky streak continued, though, as he beat Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning but hit the bar with his shot from six yards out.
United couldn’t hold the momentum, however, and Montero nearly punished them. Estrada had a shot that was wide of the mark in the 34th minute, but the Colombian was kept onside by a napping D.C. backline. However, the shot came too quickly for Montero, and he could only steer a header wide of the target.
The game quieted down through halftime and early action in the second stanza before DeLeon, who scored and had an assist in a 4-1 win against FC Dallas a week ago, made his presence felt once again.
Gspurning was again called into action in the 69th minute, as the rookie tried to sneak a free kick inside the near post from the left flank. But the Austrian ‘keeper was quick to react, staying focused and punching the ball out for a corner, which United failed to convert.
United’s best move of the night came minutes later, as substitutes Branko Boskovic and Chris Pontius combined with Maicon Santos to get Pontius free in the box. But the Pontius was caught between two minds, cutting down his angle, and his left-footed effort ended up wide of the far post.
Burch then nearly stole the show in stoppage time. Osvaldo Alonso had a shot from outside the box punched away by Willis, but the ball fell to Burch six yards from goal. Although the substitute made good contact, his header smacked off the bar, and United quickly cleared to ensure they earned a point at home.
D.C. United head to north to Foxborough, Mass., next Saturday to face off against the New England Revolution, while Seattle returns home to face the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.
Lineups and boxscore (MLSsoccer.com)
Opta Chalkboard (MLSsoccer.com)