D.C. United played to a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, as part of the inaugural Tampa Bay Rowdies Suncoast Invitational.
The Black-and-Red fell behind early due to a Sebastien Le Toux goal seven minutes into the first half after C.J. Sapong's shot rebounded off the crossbar.
With a central midfield comprised of Markus Halsti and Marcelo Sarvas, Nick DeLeon lined up at left midfield for the first time this preseason. Both DeLeon and Nyarko, who played on the right, worked hard to create space on the wings and provide width to the Black-and-Red attack. New signing Luciano Acosta played underneath Fabián Espíndola, and the two Argentinians continued to develop a budding partnership, swapping positions and making it hard for defenders to track either of them. With Espíndola dropping deep to get on the ball and Acosta making runs in behind from his advanced midfield position (not to mention Chris Rolfe's continuing return to fitness, as he entered the match in the second half), there looks to be more creativity in the Black-and-Red attack.
That creativity, combined with the wide play from Nyarko, led to United's game-tying goal in the second half. Nyarko dribbled through several Union players as he got to the endline, and was brought down inside the area, earning his side a penalty kick. Espíndola cooly slotted the ball right down the middle for his second goal in as many games during this tournament in the 56th minute.
Rob Vincent, who officially joined the Black-and-Red today from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, entered the match in the second half along with Collin Martin, Luke Mishu, Álvaro Saborío and Paul Clowes.
D.C. United play their final match at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night against the Montreal Impact at 4 PM before departing for Mexico. They face Querétaro F.C. on February 23 in the first leg of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals before returning to Washington for the second leg on March 1.