Three games into the 2017 season, United are still looking for that first elusive win. After a 2-0 loss to visiting Columbus Crew SC at RFK Stadium on Saturday night, the Black-and-Red will have time to turn it around as MLS head into the first FIFA international break of the year.
Luciano Acosta made his season debut after returning from a knock he picked up in preseason. Providing an instant spark to the offense that was missing in the first two matches, the opening 30 minutes looked fluid and open with plenty of chances for United.
In the 26th minute, United forward Patrick Mullins pulled up on a run with an apparent leg injury and forced Ben Olsen into an early substitution. José Ortiz, who was recently called up to the Costa Rican national team, came on and put in a solid effort up top, creating multiple chances for United throughout the match.
Ian Harkes made his home debut and second consecutive start, but Federico Higuaín's 38th minute spot-kick opened the scoring and United went into halftime down one.
Looking for a veteran presence to help build the attack, Ben Olsen turned to Sébastien Le Toux, who made his Black-and-Red debut in the 60th minute, but Norwegian forward Ola Kamara added another in the 66th from the penalty spot and United finished the match throwing everything into the attack including Birnbaum, who stayed up front for the final 20 minutes.
Crew SC now move to 1-1-1 with their first win of the season while the Black-and-Red have two weeks to learn and build from this match as they prepare to take on the Philadelphia Union on April 1 at RFK Stadium.