The MLS Eastern Conference's last-place team stymied its frontrunners on Saturday night, as Toronto FC were unable to break a 1-1 deadlock with D.C. United at RFK Stadium despite playing more than half the match with a man advantage.
United stormed out to a surprisingly dominant start and were fully deserving of their 1-0 lead, earned on a Kofi Opare header. But their good early work vanished in a flash when Lloyd Sam earned a straight red card just before halftime for a high, two-footed challenge on Chris Mavinga.
TFC drew level just minutes after the break on an ugly scramble in the D.C. penalty box that culminated in an own goal, and looked on course to grind down their hosts and find a late winner. But the shorthanded Black-and-Red held serve, breaking their six-game losing streak as a result.
- D.C. don't give up vs. TFC, even as playoff hopes fade
- Victor Vazquez thinks TFC needs "to be better" when opponents park the bus
LAST CHANCE, MISSED CHANCE
: This was Toronto's final visit to stately old RFK, which is set to host just six more MLS matches (notwithstanding any potential postseason action for United) as D.C. count down to the debut of Audi Field, their new home south of the U.S. Capitol. And it probably should've been a victory for the Supporters' Shield leaders, who forced 10-man United back into a shell but utterly failed to make it count:
CAN'T CATCH LUCHO
: United playmaker Luciano Acosta continues to be his team's most exciting attacker, routinely bewitching would-be defenders with his skill and quickness. Michael Bradley earned a first-half yellow card for hacking him down, one of
a whopping six fouls
sustained by the diminutive Argentinean. D.C.'s opponents have made a habit of knocking around Acosta, who has grown accustomed to appealing to referees amid all that persistent infringement.