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Red Hot, Red Cards, Orange Crush

On a blazing hot day last Saturday (June 22), with the thermometer hitting 100 degrees in the city, DC United led 1-0 at halftime but came apart in the second half to lose 4-1 against the Houston Dynamo.

For the first time since before covid, free t-shirts were given out before the game. It was "Throwback Night", and the t-shirts had our four MLS Cup trophies (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004) on the front. We haven't even made the playoffs (not the hardest task in the world) in years, but it was nice to see original team legends Jaime Moreno and Marco Etcheverry (and recent standout Bill Hamid) signing autographs before the game.

On the less happy side, the field conditions still - how shall we put it - suck. Still torn up from (American) football games in the spring. Rather embarrassing.

Miller started for the second straight game in goal. Dajome, Tubbs, Bartlett and Herrera were on defense; Martin Rodriguez (making his first start of the year), Peltola and Klich were in midfield; and Ted KDP, Murrell, and Benteke were forwards. Benteke appeared to be playing on the left side.

The first half went well. Tubbs showed great effort tracking back and breaking up a breakaway. In the 33rd minute, Tubbs just missed a shot on a corner kick. In the 36th minute, Benteke was chopped down by Houston's Artur in the box. DC survived a VAR check for a foul in the buildup, and Benteke converted the penalty.

In the 44th minute, Tubbs had an easy header back to the keeper, but Dajome came over and they clashed heads. Dajome was OK, but Tubbs was bleeding profusely. Trainers taped the wound but Tubbs was woozy and was subbed off, Akinmboni taking his place. The half ended with the score still 1-0.

The second half started well; Benteke had a great shot that required a great save from Houston goalie Steve Clark. Howevever, Ankinmboni blocked a shot with his outstretched right hand (not intentional, but very obvious) and received a (rather harsh) yellow card. Houston's Sebastian Ferreira converted the penalty in the 51st minute to tie the game at 1-1.

Things got worse very quickly. In a scrum at the top of the box, Ferreira put a second goal into the far corner. It looked like Klich was fouled by Houston's Amine Bassi on his assist, but VAR declined to overturn the goal, making it 2-1 Houston.

Benteke had a good opportunity on a volley in the 63 minute, but slipped on the torn-up field and the ball bounced over the goal. However, in the 66th minute, Benteke was impeded by Houston's Griffin Dorsey and was called for the foul. Benteke shouted at the official as he was getting a yellow card for the foul, which I don't think he ever saw, and immediately got a second yellow and was sent off.

Down to 10 men, DC worked hard to go for an equalizer anyway. In the 73th minute, Dajome made a nice run down the left side into the box and was shouldered off the ball by Houston's Sebastian Kowalczyk. Not a penalty, but Dajome was given a yellow, for diving I guess. The worst call of a match filled with iffy ones. Pirani came in for Klich, and Stroud for Murrell, immediately afterwards. Santos replaced Santos in the 83rd minute.

DC continued to press for an equalizer, but the game basically was over when Akinmboni missed clearing a cross, giving Ferreira a wide open shot in the box, which he converted for his third goal of the night. 3-1 Houston. In fairness, Akinmboni was limping the last part of the game.

In the 94th minute, Akinmboni picked up a second yellow and was sent off, leaving DC with only 9 men. Houston immediately made it 4-1 on a goal from Gabriel Segal. Mercifully, there was not further significant action.

DC travels to play the New York Red Bulls next Saturday (June 29). The next home game is July 3 (a Wednesday) against FC Cincinnati.


The Nest Liner

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