SANDY, Utah — D.C. United countered Real Salt Lake’s penalty kick with a controversial late goal of their own from the spot as they played to a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.
Second-half sub Charlie Davies ended up being the difference, converting his spot kick after going to ground in the 83rd minute on an apparent challenge by Chris Wingert. Replays showed no contact on the US national teamer.
DC were the aggressors early on, controlling much of the possession through the first 20 minutes and created a couple of chances in the process.
The first came in the 18th minute when a diagonal ball was delivered to Andy Najar, who appeared to have space in front of him, but RSL defender Jámison Olave came in with a well-timed sliding challenge that halted the opportunity.
A few minutes later it was Real Salt Lake’s turn to put the fans on the edge of their seats. Collen Warner broke free down the right side and delivered a low cross that just missed the outstretched foot of the onward rushing Jean Alexandre. The ball went through the goalmouth and was collected by Andy Williams, but his shot attempt went directly into the torso of the well-positioned Bill Hamid in the United net.
Midway through the half, RSL started to take the edge of possession, creating additional chances in the process. They hit payday in the 38th minute, when pressure just inside the penalty area led to a call on Clyde Simms for handling the ball. Fabián Espíndola stepped up to the spot and pushed it the opposite direction of the diving Hamid and into the net.
DC head coach Ben Olsen brought Dax McCarty on after haltime in favor of Simms to bring a stronger attacking mind set into the midfield in an effort to find the equalizer. That nearly came just a few minutes into the second stanza when Chris Pontius launched a shot from outside the 18-yard box that struck the crossbar.
Real Salt Lake countered immediately with a nice flick-on from Ned Grabavoy to Warner with a run into space near the penalty area. However, Warner ended up with a low angle shot that Hamid easily deflected.
It appeared the game was headed to a 1-0 result, but United found a counterattack opportunity in the 83rd after an RSL set piece. Davies and Fred led the breakout chance, with three defenders struggling to keep pace. As Wingert slid to make the tackle, Davies hit the turf inside the box, and official Terry Vaughan whistled to the spot. The US striker converted the ensuing penalty to bring the score level at one. The strike was Davies’ seventh of the season and first since May 4.
DC got one last chance in the dying minutes as Pontius again hit the crossbar, but United earned their point at Rio Tinto.
With the draw, Real Salt Lake move to 6-3-4 and are now winless in three straight. They next travel to Chicago on June 22. D.C. United, meanwhile, move to 4-5-5; they host Houston on June 25.
RSL -- Fabian Espindola 4 (penalty kick) 38
DC -- Charlie Davies 7 (penalty kick) 85
DC -- Blake Brettschneider (caution; Tactical Foul) 65
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Jed Zayner, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Stephen King (Fred 78), Clyde Simms (Dax McCarty 46), Chris Pontius, Blake Brettschneider, Josh Wolff (Charlie Davies 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Brandon Barklage, Chris Korb, Conor Shanosky, Steve Cronin.
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Robbie Russell 86), Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Collen Warner (Will Johnson 66), Ned Grabavoy, Jean Alexandre, Fabian Espindola (Artur Aghasyan 83).
Substitutes Not Used: Luis Gil, Nelson Gonzalez, Chris Schuler, Kyle Reynish.
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Elias Bazakos
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Cloudy and 78 degrees