D.C. United and the Montreal Impact, two Eastern Conference rivals, today played to a 1-1 draw to round out group play at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. United finished the round of group play with four points and await the results of Sporting Kansas City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies tonight at 8:00 p.m.
The game, which saw one of United’s strongest lineups of pre-season, was back and forth for ninety minutes. Both coaches pushed their starters’ minutes, but D.C. United controlled a good part of the game, possessing well out of the back and applying valuable pressure that caused quite a few turnovers by the Impact. One thing on display today was grit and a bit of bite from both sides as there were multiple scuffles and hard fouls on both teams behalf. The game resembled something more of a late-October matchup than a mid-February pre-season matchup.
Despite having a firm grip of control over the game, the Black-and-Red went down 1-0 after 16 minutes when Pisanu had what could have been the goal of the tournament. After a deflection, the ball popped up in the air and Pisanu did well to create something out of nothing when he went airborne to strike a volley past United’s Hamid. Just five minutes later, United answered with its own chance when a De Rosario bicycle kick was blocked and Pajoy found himself in front of the net with the ball, but former United keeper Perkins did well to make an impressive save.
The first half ended 1-0 and United newcomer James Riley made his debut as a substitute in the 46th minute. Riley, along with Woolard, Korb, Jakovic, and McDonald all did well to defend against Montreal’s crafty attacking and midfield play. Despite creating numerous chances in the second half, especially a long distance shot by Pontius that missed by just a hair, United spent much of the second half down before making a mass substitution in the 76th minute. Just nine minutes later, with time dwindling, trialist Kyle Porter volleyed home the game-tying goal in resounding fashion, leaving Perkins with no chance.
The game ended minutes later in a draw, leaving both United’s and the Impact’s fate up to Sporting Kansas City tonight as they face off against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The finals and consolation games will be played on Saturday, February 23 with the first places teams featuring at 8:00 p.m.
D.C. United Starting XI:
Hamid; Korb (76' Kemp), McDonald (76' Porter), Jakovic (45' Riley), Woolard (77' Russell); DeLeon (76' Martinez), Saragosa (75' Thorrington), Kitchen (78' Sanchez), Pontius (75' Rozeboom); De Rosario (75' Rafael), Pajoy (78' Thomas)
Montreal Impact Starting XI:
Perkins; Brovsky, Ferrari, Nesta (80' Ouimette), Camara; Bernier; Mapp, Felipe, Arnaud (70' Romero), Pisanu (63' Warner); Di Vaio (78' Wenger)
Montreal Impact: 16' - Pizanu
D.C. United: 85' - Porter
Montreal Impact: 40' - Arnaud (yellow)
Montreal Impact: 41' - Di Vaio (yellow)
D.C. United: 51' - Riley (yellow)