By CHRISTIAN ARAOS
New York City FC controlled most of Saturday’s game at D.C. United but return home after a 2–1 loss ruing the moments they loosened their grip.
NYCFC had the lion’s share of the possession (66 to 34 percent) and kept D.C.’s chances at a minimum but an error from Frederic Brillant allowed Lloyd Sam to break the deadlock in the 53rd minute. Luciano Acosta would follow up on a rebound to put D.C. 2–0 up 20 minutes later. A late goal from David Villa gave City a late chance for the points but United were able to see out the final six minutes.
The second meeting of the two teams this season began to play out like the first with The Pigeons controlling play in the midfield as the hosts dropped back and looked for opportunities on the counter. City made one change in their starting lineup with Brillant replacing Ethan White at right back while keeping the 4-3-3 shape. Ronald Matarrita was able to frequently surge forward to join the attack tilting them to the left in what resembled a 3-4-3.
D.C. started both halves pressing NYC in its own end and it yielded chances for them early in the second. They were dropping back when City defenders Maxime Chanot and Brillant botched a loose ball allowing Sam to close down and seize possession and score. After the game, both Sam and Coach Patrick Vieira attributed the goal to the bumpy field at R.F.K. Stadium.
With City pressing for the equalizer, it was exposed on the counter by Acosta who led the 4 v 3 break. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved Sam’s shot but the rebound fell to Acosta who was able to finish the rebound from six yards. City struggled to create chances against a compact D.C. defense led by Bobby Boswell at center back. Bill Hamid also made a double save that kept the score at 2–0.
Thomas McNamara would come off the bench and be involved in a goal for the second consecutive game assisting on Villa’s goal. Miguel Camargo made his debut in the 80th minute but only had a missed shot from outside the area to show for it.
City play at the Philadelphia Union on Friday.