"Old-fashioned Atlantic Cup dustup" ends in another home draw for DC United

WASHINGTON—D.C. United ended their match against arch-rival New York on Sunday afternoon with a rousing comeback - a late Patrick Mullins equalizer was good enough to draw level with the Red Bulls, good enough to send their rain-soaked fans home happy after a 2-2 tie.

But the thrill of that comeback – which leaves United just above the red line in an ever-tightening Eastern Conference – was tempered by a bit of a reality check.

The draw against New York capped off a crucial four-game home stand, one which United finished unbeaten. Their haul, however, was relatively meager: six points from four matches.

“We’ve come a long way over four games and I really like this team and I like our pieces,” United head coach Ben Olsen told MLSsoccer.com. “I like the way we play and the chances we created over these four games. I don’t like having six points. We should have more than six points, but we don’t, so what can you do.”

D.C.’s performances in the first three games of the homestand were erratic, and Sunday’s draw was no different. D.C. seemed eager out of the gate, but were de-railed by a summer storm, one which delayed the match some 75 minutes after fewer than 10 minutes of action. What followed was more than an hour of both sides wrestling for control of the sloppy match on a weather-beaten pitch.

“I think that was a good, old-fashioned Atlantic Cup dust-up, certainly in the first half,” Olsen said. “The conditions were, after the break, pretty poor, and it became a game about second [chances] and going Route 1. But I thought it was overall a pretty good first half.

“In the second half, they came out and I think the conditions were a little better and some of their quality stood out – in particular Sacha [Kljestan] was pretty good – and I think they were a better team for a good 20 minutes. But then it changed and we took the rest of the game – our energy rose and I felt down the stretch we were unlucky not to get out of here with more than one point.”

United next face a suddenly struggling Montreal side before returning home to welcome the last-place Chicago Fire, giving D.C. a chance to recover for some of the points they’ve dropped in recent weeks.

“We go to Montreal in two days,” said Olsen. “We don’t have time to worry about what could’ve been. We’re also unbeaten in a while. That’s not easy to do either in this league – there are some good teams – that’s a good team, New York as well. There are some positives, again, I like this group and I think there’s a good chemistry and good vibe with this team. There’s no reason why we can’t be a playoff team in this league. We gotta pick up some points now on the road in a busy stretch.”