WASHINGTON – D.C. United’s best chance to win back-to-back league games for the first time since June 2009 presented itself at RFK Stadium on Wednesday night – expansion side Montreal Impact came to town, days after United beat the New England Revolution. Instead of finally getting that monkey off their back though, United only managed to draw with the Impact, thanks to Maicon Santos’ long-range effort in the 73rd minute.
“It was a disappointing tie for sure,” United manager Ben Olsen said after the match. “They are a good team, but we just didn’t have that pep, that anger that we needed tonight.”
In particular, United struggled to match the intensity of the Montreal in the first half. After a morale-boosting win over New England on Saturday, United came out flat-footed in the first stanza of the game, and failed to create any dangerous chances in the first 45 minutes.
“In the first half, we weren’t prepared for what they showed,” forward Chris Pontius said. “They outmatched us in the first half. They were winning the 50/50 challenges, and those started going our way in the second half.”
Maicon Santos provided the spark for United in the second half, and in a time of need for the Black-and-Red. After conceding the opener to Montreal through Bernardo Corradi in the 68th minute, Santos wasted no timing pulling United back, fizzing a shot past Donovan Ricketts at the near post.
“I have been trying every game to have shots on goal as much as I can,” Santos said. “I know [Ricketts] from his time with the Galaxy, so I know the way he works, [so I knew where to put the shot].”
Santos’ fourth goal of the season gave United an opportunity to win the game, and Santos appeared to have scored the winner on the stroke of the full 90 minutes. But in turning in Dwayne De Rosario’s cross, Santos was correctly ruled offside, sending United home with just a point to show for their efforts.
The draw ensured that United stretched their current unbeaten streak to five games, with two wins and three draws to show for it. Though the draw wasn’t the most desirable result against the expansion side, at a minimum, United picked up a point.
“It’s five games in a row where we’re grabbing points,” Pontius said after the game. “We have showed resiliency in the last two games coming from behind. But we just got off to a slow start tonight.”
The back to back wins in the league will have to wait again for United. Attention must immediately be refocused ahead of the game on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls (6 pm ET, ESPN2), but it was hard to escape the disappointment after the game.
“Anytime we are playing at home, of course we want to win the game,” defender Robbie Russell told MLSsoccer.com. “We lost the opportunity, and didn’t get all three points, so it felt like we lost.”