D.C. United defeated the LA Galaxy 2-1 on Sunday night in the Nation's Capital. With the Black-and-Red and LA sitting at the No. 5 spot in both conferences respectively, this game gave the chance for D.C. United to jump back to 3rd place, leapfrogging both New York Red Bull and FC with 39 points.
The starting lineup had been tweaked with the introduction of a new face, Felipe Martins who was acquired last week via trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Without several starting players including Rooney (illness), Durkin, Canouse and Moreno (suspension), head coach Ben Olsen was forced to make changes. That didn’t stop the Black-and-Red from playing a hard-fought and grinding game.
In the first half, the Galaxy's Diego Polenta rifled a left-footed shot from outside the box but the shot trickled wide for a D.C. United goal kick. Shortly after Quincy Amarikwa gained possession of the ball and found space outside of David Bingham's goalie box, the striker took a long-range effort that nearly sliced its way into the top corner but sailed just over the bar.
Paul Arriola broke the deadlock in the 28th minute of the match and gave United an early 1-0 lead. United caused a turnover in the Galaxy's defensive half and Ulises Segura got on the end of the ball. He quickly popped the ball over the Galaxy backline and sent Arriola into a one-on-one with Bingham and he slotted the ball to the back of the net. United took the 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Bill Hamid made several key saves in the first half but perhaps his best save of the game came in first-half stoppage time after Uriel Antuna fired a low shot inside the box to Hamid's right side, the 28-year-old dropped down to his right and made a quick reaction save by securing the ball on the goal line.
The Galaxy tied the match in the 48th minute, Favio Álvarez scored his third goal of the season after a broken play inside the box led to Álvarez pushing the ball home with a left-footed effort past Hamid and into the back right corner of the net tying the match,1-1.
United regrouped and in the 62nd minute of the contest nearly broke the deadlock again. Amarikwa sprung a counter-attack with a well-played first-time ball over the top to Segura. The Costa Rican then played Arriola down the right-wing and he nearly connected with a waiting Amarikwa inside the box for a simple tap in. The play was well defended but United were hunting.
Another example of Hamid's impressive athleticism occurred in the 71st minute of the match, Zlatan got on the end of a Galaxy corner kick and nearly rocketed a ball into the top-left corner of the net. Hamid made a cat-like save on the goal line once again! Hamid reacted to the shot with his left hand and sprung to make the save keeping the match tied at 1-1.
D.C. found their tiebreaker in the 73rd minute of the match after two shot attempts landed the ball at Lucas Rodríguez's feet in the center of the box. the Argentine calmly passed the ball into the bottom right corner of Bingham's net to give United the late 2-1 lead late.
The match finished 2-1 in favor of the Black-and-Red and gave United their first win at Audi Field since June 26, against Orlando. Hamid's performance tonight (three saves), has continued to show why he is one of the league's most impactful players on the pitch. He is now second in MLS in saves with 102. Jalen Robinson made his 18th MLS start at right-back tonight and stifled Zlatan on a number of occasions during the 90-minutes. Newly acquired Felipe Martins had an impressive debut showing for United. He was a rock in the middle of the park tonight, he made a number of big-time tackles to shut down the Galaxy in several key areas of the pitch.
D.C. United will now shift their focus to Vancouver as they travel to BC Place this upcoming weekend to take on the Whitecaps. Coverage begins on FloFC at 9:30 PM.