When a team is struggling to find the back of the net they will take any chance they can get to find the back of the net. For Columbus Crew SC on Saturday night those chances would come from penalty kicks. Against their longtime foes D.C. United Columbus would hit home both of their chances and earn their first win of the season on Saturday at RFK Stadium.
With Luciano Acosta back into the fold it appeared that D.C. United’s goalless drought would not last much longer. Acosta picked up right where he left off in 2016, funneling goal-scoring opportunities into Patrick Mullins. Mullins nearly capitalized one such chance with a low shot early first half that would go wide.
But the Acosta-Mullins partnership would be short lived. Mullins would leave the match in the 28th minute with an apparent hamstring injury. Although Jose Guillermo Ortiz would provide some good chance for D.C. he and United were unable to gain the advantage.
Columbus however would make the most of their chances on the counter-attack. In the 37th minute Federico Higuain would connect with Ola Kamara with an opportunity that appeared destined for the back of the net. United center-back Steve Birnbaum would half Columbus’ aspirations for just a brief moment, drawing the penalty. Higuain would finish his work, drilling his shot past a diving Bill Hamid to give Columbus the 1-0 lead. The goal was Higuain’s first of the season.
Despite receiving considerable pressure from United in the second half Crew SC would put the game away thanks to another counter-attack and another penalty kick. This time it would Kamara who would finish off his own work knocking back the set piece for his second goal of the season.
D.C. nearly cut the lead in half just a few minutes later with Patrick Nyarko hammering a header on target. But Zack Steffen, former Maryland Terrapin, would make the diving save to preserve the 2-0 victory.
Both sides are off next week due to the FIFA international. United will be off next for the FIFA international window while Crew SC will host the Portland Timbers next Saturday (730pm EST MLS Live).
D.C. United- Bill Hamid, Nick De Leon, Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp, Marcelo Sarvas, Ian Harkes, Luciano Acosta (Lamar Neagle 75′), Lloyd Sam (Sebastian Le Toux 60′), and Patrick Mullins (Jose Guillermo Ortiz 28′)
Yellow Cards- Harkes (17′), Sam (41′), and Sarvas (70′)
Columbus Crew SC- Zack Steffen, Alex Crognale, Josh Williams, Nicolae Naess, Artur, Harrison Afful, Jukka Raitala, Will Trapp, Ola Kamara (Adam Jahn 80′), Justin Meram (Ethan Finlay 63′), and Federico Higuain.
Yellow Cards-Afful (45+2′) and Williams (72′)
Goals- Higuain (38′) and Kamara (67′)