WASHINGTON – Carlos Ruiz’s 85th-minute goal earned the Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union a 2-2 draw against D.C. United in a wild affair at RFK Stadium on Saturday night which also marked the DC debut of MLS star Dwayne De Rosario.
Ruiz’s late tally spoiled Andy Najar’s second half wonder-goal that restored DC’s lead in the second half. Josh Wolff opened the scoring for the home side just before halftime on a De Rosario assist, before a Perry Kitchen own goal provided the equalizer early in the second half.
D.C. United manager Ben Olsen inserted both of his new acquisitions in the starting lineup with De Rosario occupying the attacking midfield role in a diamond midfield while Brandon McDonald slotted in at center back as DC looked to gain ground on first-place Philadelphia in the East.
The opening minutes of the first half were a tense affair, with both sides looking tentative in the offensive third. Both goalkeepers — Philadelphia’s Faryd Mondragón and DC’s Bill Hamid — had to be alert to keep the score tied with smart saves.
Philadelphia nearly got on the board in the 26th minute. Sébastien Le Toux received a through ball in behind D.C.’s back line and dashed down the right flank. However, his right-footed curling effort went wide of Hamid’s post.
Just before the half, United took the lead. A clever ball from Najar found De Rosario on the left side of the box. He dribbled toward the end line, drawing two Philly defenders, and dinked a pass to a wide-open Josh Wolff, who stabbed the ball home past Mondragón.
The lead didn’t last long after the break. Four minutes into the second half, Philly midfielder Veljkso Paunovic intercepted a loose clearance, and chipped the ball back into the box. Kitchen was first to the ball, but his clearance attempt saw the ball deflect off his shin and into his own net.
It wouldn’t be long before the stalemate was broken again. Reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Najar was given too much time and space on the ball and teed up a searing 35-yard shot past a diving Mondragón to restore the home side’s lead.
Down a goal on the road, Philadelphia’s offense sputtered to generate chances until the last five minutes of the game. With numbers forward, Le Toux’s measured through ball caught DC's Chris Pontius on the wrong side of Sheanon Williams, and the right back’s cross was re-directed by Ruiz past Hamid to tie the game.
D.C. United hit the road next weekend to take on the New York Red Bulls, while Philadelphia travel west to San Jose.
DC -- Josh Wolff 4 (Dwayne De Rosario 1, Andy Najar 3) 44
PHI -- own goal (Perry Kitchen) 49
DC -- Andy Najar 2 (unassisted) 58
PHI -- Carlos Ruiz 5 (Sheanon Williams 2, Sebastien Le Toux 6) 84
PHI -- Jordan Harvey (caution; Tactical Foul) 16
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Justin Mapp (Jack McInerney 78), Sebastien Le Toux, Brian Carroll, Veljko Paunovic (Gabriel Farfan 66), Danny Mwanga (Keon Daniel 71), Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Roger Torres, Zac MacMath.
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Dwayne De Rosario, Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius, Charlie Davies (Blake Brettschneider 57), Josh Wolff (Fred 68).
Substitutes Not Used: Brandon Barklage, Stephen King, Chris Korb, Joseph Ngwenya, Steve Cronin.
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland, Adam Garner
4th Official: Daniel Fitzgerald
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 92 degrees