WASHINGTON, D.C. – With only six league goals accrued during a 10-year MLS career, it’s fair to say that Brian Carroll is not a scorer.
Well, except when he plays against D.C. United on the road.
On Sunday at RFK Stadium, the Philadelphia Union defensive midfielder netted his third goal against his former team in the past two seasons. The other two came in US Open Cup games at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
GOAL: Carroll cleans up mess in front of net
“I can’t explain it,” said Carroll, who played for D.C. United from 2003-07. “I’m just happy I’m able to do OK here.”
Sunday’s goal came in the eighth minute after a Freddy Adu free kick was headed by Amobi Okugo, shot by Carlos Valdes, deflected off D.C. United’s Perry Kitchen and cleaned up by Carroll right in front of the net.
The goal proved vital in helping Philly escape D.C. with a 1-1 draw.
“I just made sure I was on the back post where I’m supposed to be,” Carroll said. “I think it was rolling in anyway but it was going off their player, so thankfully I was there to tap it in and make sure.”
And what’s the reaction like when a player who rarely scores is able to bag one?
“Surprise,” Carroll said. “And I’m glad I don’t have to run back and defend right away.”
Head games precede PK miss
On Dwayne De Rosario bobblehead giveaway night, the Union did their best to make the real DeRo’s head bobble.
In the chaotic moments after De Rosario’s 87th-minute penalty kick goal was nullified because of an encroachment call, Philly defender Amobi Okugo did a little bit of jabbering before the D.C. United star’s next PK attempt.
“When he spotted it, I told him that [goalie Zac MacMath] already knows you’re going left,” Okugo said. “Then Carlos [Valdes] was calling his name and Zac was pointing which way he was going to.”
WATCH: DeRo skies second PK attempt
De Rosario ended up hitting the second PK high, allowing the game to stay tied through the frenzied final minutes.
And if MacMath and Okugo were able to get into De Rosario’s head, it would have been a little bit of vindication after a miscommunication between the two of them allowed D.C. United to tie the game at 1-1 earlier in the second half.
On that 71st-minute goal, which came off a Branko Boskovic free kick, Okugo hit it into his own net, just in front of MacMath.
“I was trying to cover him and it hit off my hand and went in,” Okugo said. “Maybe I’ve got to be me more demanding on my part and take out Zac, or he’s got to take me out just to be safe back there.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.