D.C. United entered their matchup against FC Dallas on Saturday evening riding a four-game unbeaten streak. Dallas entered the match as winners of four of their last five. Something had to give.
In a matchup of two of Major League Soccer’s hottest teams, it would be United who emerged victorious on Saturday evening with a 4-1 victory. D.C. rode a Fabian Espindola brace and tallies from Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin to victory; they’d also be aided by Dallas defender Zach Loyd, who showed himself off during first-half action, much to the delight of the 11,172 in attendance at RFK Stadium.
Dallas would open the scoring just twelve minutes in. Fabian Castillo collected the ball at the left side of the area, cut back and played a ball to his strike partner Blas Perez at the top of the box. Perez one-touched Castillo’s service along to midfielder Mauro Diaz, who avoided badly-fooled United outside back Cristian Fernandez and hammered a shot home from 12 yards out.
OPTA Chalkboard: D.C. take full advantage in controlling game after Loyd's red card
Dallas would be forced to defend their lead a man down after Loyd’s rash, studs-up challenge on United midfielder Davy Arnaud earned him his second yellow of the match in the 39th minute.
Deep into first-half stoppage time, United would equalize with a bit of flair of their own. Nick DeLeon deftly played a ball down the near touchline to Eddie Johnson. Johnson’s cross was picture-perfect, finding Espindola inside the six for an easy head-in.
The floodgates would open for United in the second stanza, figuratively and literally. Defenders Franklin and Jeff Parke and second-half substitute Conor Doyle would combine on the build-up for DC’s go-ahead goal, with Doyle’s effort from 8 yards out caroming off Dallas keeper Chris Seitz and falling perfectly for an onrushing Boswell, who made no mistake with the finish.
A man down, Dallas struggled to find any real rhythm in the game’s later moments. Espindola would be involved in both of United’s insurance tallies; his run down the near sideline and slick evasion of two Dallas defenders would set up Franklin for United’s third goal in the 64th minute, and he’d find himself alone in the box five minutes later to tally United’s fourth, off a cross from Chris Rolfe.
Dallas would again lose their focus in second-half stoppage time, with midfielder Michel being shown a straight red card for violent conduct after taking a swat at United midfielder Rolfe.
United will look to extend their unbeaten run to six when they travel to Portland next Saturday evening. Dallas will regroup before welcoming New York the following day.
Goals: Mauro Diaz 13', Fabian Espindola 45', Bobby Boswell 60', Sean Franklin 64', Fabian Espindola 69'
Disciplinary: Zach Loyd 10' and 39', Chris Seitz 48', Matt Hedges 74', Michel (red) 89'
DCU Lineups: Hamid; Franklin (Korb 74'), Boswell, Parke, Cristian; DeLeon, Kitchen, Arnaud, Rolfe; Johnson (Doyle 51'), Espindola (Silva 79')
DAL Lineups: Seitz; Benitez, Hedges, Keel, Loyd; Castillo (Texeira 74'), Thomas, Diaz (Moffat 45'), Michel, Watson; Perez (Jacobson HT)