WASHINGTON – A second-half penalty kick from D.C. United’s Chris Pontius canceled out Drew Moor’s first-half goal, as United battled back for a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.
The result means the Rapids finish a three-game road swing with a win and two draws. United, meanwhile, also stretched a recent unbeaten run to three games.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: DC 1, Colorado 1
The Rapids entered the match missing several injured forwards, including Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan. The return to fitness of Conor Casey, though, gave them optimism. The big striker started on the bench after missing several matches, and came on late in the second half.
The regular DC front line of Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies looked active early. The former nearly sent the latter in on goal in the 10th minute. But Davies’ touch let him down, as the Colorado defense bent without breaking.
Their sternness set the scene for the opening goal from Moor in the 23rd minute. Jamie Smith’s in swinging delivery from the left side wasn’t cleared by DC’s defense, and Moor pounced on the loose ball, sliding a shot past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
As DC struggled to get back into the game, coach Ben Olsen was forced to sub out his starting forward line before the half was out. Davies and Wolff both picked up injuries, and Santino Quaranta and Joseph Ngwenya came on in their place.
Ngwenya’s speed proved to be mettlesome for the Rapids defense. Early in the second half, he carried the ball into Colorado’s box and as he lined up his shot, he was dragged down by Rapids midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. Referee Terry Vaughn, however, waved play on.
DC continued the pressure, and their efforts were rewarded in the 62nd minute.
Working on the far left side of the Colorado area, Pontius collided with Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura. Both players went down, and this time Vaughn pointed to the spot.
With normal United penalty taker Davies off the field, Pontius stepped up and beat Pickens to level the score at 1-1.
A gritty and physical encounter unraveled over the game’s final 30 minutes, and both sides had chances to win it.
In the 87th minute, Rapids’ substitute Sanna Nyassi’s cross was tipped by D.C. defender Dejan Jakovic, but it fell right to Wells Thompson, who blasted his shot way over at the top of the box.
In stoppage time, United nearly earned all three points but Ngwenya fired wide after Pickens made a good save from a Pontius effort.
DC now have a two-week break from league play before facing off with the Portland Timbers on Sunday, May 29. They take on Dutch side Ajax in a friendly next Saturday.
The Rapids return home to play Toronto FC on Sunday, May 22.
COL -- Drew Moor 1 (unassisted) 23
DC -- Chris Pontius 3 (unassisted) 62
COL -- Drew Moor (caution; Tactical Foul) 46+
COL -- Matt Pickens (caution; Delaying a Restart) 92+
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Kosuke Kimura, Jamie Smith, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Wells Thompson (Ross LaBauex 89), Andre Akpan (Sanna Nyassi 75), Quincy Amarikwa (Conor Casey 67).
Substitutes Not Used: Danny Earls, Joseph Nane, Scott Palguta, Steward Ceus.
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Dax McCarty, Clyde Simms (Fred 80), Chris Pontius, Josh Wolff (Joseph Ngwenya 44), Charlie Davies (Santino Quaranta 34).
Substitutes Not Used: Blake Brettschneider, Marc Burch, Chris Korb, Steve Cronin.
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Steven Taylor; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Daniel Fitzgerald
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Cloudy and 66 degrees