D.C. United is now unbeaten in four matches. It's true United was just moments away from a three-game winning streak, but had to settle for one point and a 1-1 tie with the Crew in Columbus.
There is real frustration that United could not secure the second goal and really kill the game off. Yet it is a sign of progress that the talking point is about a draw on the road instead of a total loss. In the end United held the Eastern Conference co-leaders to just a desperation goal in the 90th minute.
“Yeah, I thought it’s a good sign to get a point at Columbus. That’s what I keep trying to tell myself.
Yes the disappointment is real, but the point is significant.
1. United followed the game plan. The goal for D.C. United was to put better pressure on Columbus and specifically Federico Higuain than it did in the 3-0 loss to the Crew at the start of the season. United’s goal was a result of that pressure. Nick DeLeon pressured Higuain into a turnover and then started a counterattack that led to Fabian Espindola’s goal. Columbus did have a 60 percent of the possession, but United did a good job of narrowing the field and limiting space. The Crew only had two shots on target.
2. Johnson is feared and there are real options in attack. We are still waiting on Eddie Johnson to open his goal-scoring account with United. Johnson had a breakaway in the 71st minute and all defender Giancarlo Gonzalez could do was pull Johnson down from behind just outside the penalty area. Johnson had beaten Gonzalez. Referee Juan Guzman issued a yellow card to Gonzalez. It should have been a red card. Regardless Johnson is dangerous and will continue to cause problems. He needs to score, but his presence on the field helps others. Espindola’s finish on the first goal was spectacular and he could have doubled the lead on a counterattack with Chris Rolfe. One goal is not always enough as witnessed in Columbus, but United has the quality to deliver more.
Final thought from Ben Olsen:
“Absolutely, this is a good measuring stick for us because of how recent the game was against them. I thought tactically we were very good tonight, I thought the guys did everything we asked them to do and I think we’re frustrated. This is a team that has been as good as any in the league and we came in here and I thought we had a good game plan but at the end it still hurts. “