CARSON, Calif. — Charlie Davies scored a hat trick off three assists by Chris Pontius as D.C. United surged back into the playoff race with a commanding 3-0 victory over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
The pair led DC throughout the match, but were eventually stopped after Pontius suffered an injury late in the match that required him to helped off the field with the aid of a stretcher.
In their first match without defensive stalwart Heath Pearce, miscues along the back line once again plagued the Goats.
In the 11th minute, Juan Pablo Ángel’s back pass careened off referee Ricardo Salazar and fell to a waiting Dwayne De Rosario, who streaked up the field before finding Pointus on the right flank. The midfielder found a sliding Davies, who hit a left-footed shot in the back of Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy’s net. That marked the US international's first goal since June 25.
DC pounced on Chivas’ miscues again just three minutes later as a failed clearance by right back Ben Zemanski fell to the foot of Pointus, who again set up Davies for the second score.
As the match wore on, United continued to push the issue against the Rojiblancos backline, but were slowed in the 20th minute when goalkeeper Bill Hamid went down with an apparent injury. The budding US international was slow to rise and did not take goal kick for the rest of the match.
With their attack stagnating, Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made a pair of second-half substitutions with Alejandro Moreno and Laurent Courtois coming into ignite a stagnant offense. In the 65th minute, the work nearly paid off as defender Ante Jazic nearly found the back of the net, forcing Hamid to push away a dangerous floating ball.
But United put the match out of reach in the 66th minute as Pontius and Davies combined one last time on a counter that ended with Davies getting his third goal of the night and 11th of the season, catapulting him into second place in the Golden Boot race.
Pontius’ night ended early, however. In the 67th minute of play, the Southern California native and Chivas defender David Júnior Lopes scrambled for a loose ball, and met in a harsh collision. Pontius needed to be helped off the field on a stretcher while Júnior Lopes was red-carded for the challenge. The injury to Pontius caused a five-minute delay in the action.
With their victory, D.C. United (8-7-10) leapfrog New York into the 10th and final playoff spot with nine matches to play. Ben Olsen and his men will look to continue their drive to the playoffs when they travel to Seattle on Sept. 17.
The defeat will likely damage the playoff hopes of Chivas USA (7-11-10), who were shut out for their third straight match, but does not put them out of the race. The Goats will look to rebound in their next match on the road at Chicago, also on Sept. 17.
DC -- Charlie Davies 9 (Chris Pontius 3, Dwayne De Rosario 9) 11
DC -- Charlie Davies 10 (Chris Pontius 4) 14
DC -- Charlie Davies 11 (Chris Pontius 5, Dwayne De Rosario 10) 66
CHV -- Juan Pablo Angel (caution; Reckless Tackle) 29
CHV -- David Junior Lopes (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 69
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Brandon McDonald, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Clyde Simms (Stephen King 46), Santino Quaranta (Austin Da Luz 62), Chris Pontius (Marc Burch 73), Dwayne De Rosario, Charlie Davies.
Substitutes Not Used: Kurt Morsink, Joseph Ngwenya, Josh Wolff, Joe Willis.
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Ben Zemanski, Michael Umana, David Junior Lopes, Ante Jazic, Blair Gavin (Michael Lahoud 73), Nick LaBrocca, Simon Elliott, Jorge Flores (Laurent Courtois 62), Justin Braun (Alejandro Moreno 57), Juan Pablo Angel.
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Boyens, Marcos Mondaini, Zarek Valentin, Zach Thornton.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Corey Parker
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:40
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 69 degrees