DCU_2021-MatchRecap_ENG-TOR-Web-NOV7

In their final match of the 2021 Major League Soccer (MLS) Regular Season, D.C. United won 3-1 against Toronto FC at BMO Field to end the Black-and-Red's 2021 campaign on a high note. United finished the season in eighth place, one spot shy of the MLS Cup Playoffs, with 47 points in the Eastern Conference.

D.C. United started strong and Ola Kamara had a great chance to open the scoring within the first 10 minutes, only to be denied by the crossbar. In the 13th minute, the Black-and-Red’s pressure paid-off as captain Steven Birnbaum rose highest to thunder home a header from Gressel’s whipped in corner kick.

Minutes later, Kamara almost doubled D.C. United’s lead, but Jonathan Osorio cleared the forward’s effort off the line to deny him. The home side equalized in the 18th minute against the run of play, as an unmarked Richie Laryea found the bottom corner from just outside the box.

At the 30 minute mark, a perfectly waited through ball was slipped into Kamara by Andy Najar, forcing Toronto keeper Quentin Westberg to come rushing out. Kamara beat Westberg to the ball and the goalkeeper caught his leg, tripping him in the box for a penalty. Kamara, United’s leading scorer, stepped up to take the penalty and coolly converted it to put the Black-and-Red back ahead, 2-1.

Five minutes after their second goal, D.C. United won another corner kick. Gressel played the ball short to Paul Arriola, who cleverly backheeled the ball back to Gressel who fired an effort towards goal that Kamara diverted with a slight flick putting United ahead 3-1 at the break. The first half brace propelled Kamara to 19 goals on the season, the most in the league.

D.C. United began the second half with a more defensive, pragmatic approach to manage the remainder of the match. The Black-and-Red were able to keep a more attacking Toronto side off the scoreboard, while managing to produce a few clear chances to extend their lead. In the 67th minute, Kamara intercepted a Toronto pass and went for goal, but his shot went straight to Westberg.

With just 15 minutes to go, Nigel Robertha made a run down the left flank and crossed it into the area where second half substitute Adrien Pérez’s diving header was parried away by Westberg. Then, in the last minute of regular time, Kamara nearly completed his hat-trick, but Westberg once again stood up to the challenge and the match ended 3-1. 

Despite United winning their 14th match of the season (the second most in the Eastern Conference), the 1-1 result in the New York Red Bulls and Nashville SC match kept the Black-and-Red one point short from qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs.