WASHINGTON – D.C. United rookie and Home Grown product Ethan White picked an opportune time to score his first professional goal.
Or so he thought.
White’s goal-crashing run on a corner kick was rewarded when Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy palmed Dwayne De Rosario's shot right into the center back’s path. The former Terrapin slammed the bouncing ball home for a 2-0 lead, and three points looked within reach.
It was the defender's first goal in a long time, his last coming as a freshman at Maryland back in 2009, which was the only score of his two-year collegiate career.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” he said of scoring against Chivas. “I grew up watching D.C. United, and stepping up and scoring during my rookie year – I wasn’t expecting that.”
However, White was soon part of a DC back line that surrendered two goals to Chivas, at home, to see three points slip away. It certainly dampened the moment for the rookie.
“It’s tough, because this tie feels like a loss,” he said. “It’s very disappointing being two goals up and giving up that lead. We’ve got to keep playing and we are looking forward to the next game on Saturday.”
First headed, corner goals
All season, goals on set pieces have eluded DC. Aside from a free kick scored by Marc Burch back on April 29, DC had yet to score from a dead ball all season until Wednesday night.
Not only was De Rosario’s goal in the 39th minute a reversal of the set piece trend, it also marked the first time all season that a DC player scored with his head.
White’s goal in the second half then ended another long stretch as it was the first goal scored from a corner kick in 2011.
Playoff chances dented, not shattered
Up two goals against a team in more or less the same position in the standings, Wednesday’s draw was a golden chance for DC to continue to climb toward a playoff spot.
“This was a missed opportunity,” midfielder Clyde Simms said. “Obviously being at home and being up 2-0 in the second half, this isn’t what we wanted. At the same time, there is time left in the season, we are still in the playoff hunt, and there is plenty we have to learn from.”
The two other league results helped ease the sting slightly – the New York Red Bulls lost 3-1 at home to Real Salt Lake (DC’s opponents on Saturday), and the Portland Timbers could only muster a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.
DC sit 12th in the overall standings, trailing New York by a point and Portland — who occupy the 10th-and-final playoff spot — by two points. However, DC hold two games in hand over both teams.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.