Dave Johnson: United Fights For Draw On Road

Dave Johnson: United Fights For Draw On Road
July 4, 2010, 4:20 am
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Sunday July 4, 2010, 12:20pm
By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comSanta Clara, California----With recent signings DC United has been planning for the future. On Saturday United had to deal with the present and responded in MLS play by fighting back from a half-time deficit to earn a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.Jamie Morenos introduction into the DC United lineup to start the second-half jump started an offense that was struggling to connect. In the 54th minute Andy Najars spectacular volley 12 yards from goal on the right side of the penalty area delivered the equalizer and rewarded head coach Curt Onalfo for his decision to go with Moreno.
While United was committed to attack from the start of the game, they struggled to maintain possession to consistently challenge the Earthquakes defense. Moreno changed that and early in the second half United started to hold the ball and more players became involved in the offense.On Najars goal, Moreno set the stage by winning and then holding possession just inside the Earthquakes half of midfield. Moreno then slotted a ball to Stephen King at the left point of the box. King, well defended by Ike Opara, managed to turn and swing a ball to the right side of the area. It was there that Najar was able to just slip behind a back tracking Bobby Convey and with clinical precision drive home the cross with his right boot.With Moreno pulling the strings, it was no longer just Chris Pontius and Santino Quaranta trying to create chances on their own. While Moreno did not have as much influence late in the game, his performance capped an impressive week that included involvement in both goals in the US Open Cup win over Richmond.United was forced to battle back after conceding a goal in the 15th minute to Opara. With two goals on the season with his head, Opara scored with his right-foot. Opara collected a Convey corner kick after Ramiro Corrales attempted a header that ricocheted off United defender Juan Manual Pena.While the quality was not always on display the commitment and desire for the full three points was clear. In the 88th minute Convey threaded a pass to Arturo Alvarez in the corner. 17-year old rookie Omar Jasseh got his foot on Alvarezs cross but was denied by United goalkeeper Troy Perkins diving save.Two minute later United put the pressure on the Earthquakes. The fresh legs of substitute Thabiso Khumalo allowed him to get free on the right flank to deliver a perfect cross to Quaranta at the top of his box. Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch saved Quarantas one-timed effort.In the first half United came close to tying the game on a Dejan Jakovic header. Jakovic was able to get off a prefect snap header off a Quaranta cross. While Jakovics shot cleared 65 defender Bobby Burling, Convey was at the near post to head it off the line.Going forward United is excited about the addition of midfielder Branko Boskovic and forward Pablo Martinez who will make their debut sometime after July 15th. For now United will have tofind satisfaction in a point on the road and one of its best responses of the season after giving up the first goal.Video: Dave Johnson and Thomas Rongen break down United's 1-1 draw in San Jose.