D.C. United pick up a vital 2-1 win over Atlanta United

After going down 1-0 thanks to Julian Gressel's opener, Luciano Acosta and Patrick Nyarko score to snatch a vital win for DC.

D.C. United pick up a vital 2-1 win over Atlanta United
DC United celebrate a win over Atlanta United | Source: Geoff Burke, USA Today
DC United
2 1
Atlanta United
DC United: Hamid; Korb, Birnbaum, Spare, Kemp; Sarvas, Harkes, Le Toux, Acosta (Jeffrey, min. 81), Nyarko (Neagle, min. 69); Ortiz (Brown, min. 62).
Atlanta United: Kann; Mars, Parkhurst, Pirez, Garza; Kratz, Larentowicz (McCann, min. 75), Asa, Almiron, Gressel (Martinez, min. 63); Villalba (Vazquez, min. 75).
SCORE: 0-1, min. 17, Gressel. 1-1, min. 23, Acosta. 2-1, min. 60, Nyarko.
REFEREE: Nima Saghafi (USA). Yellow Card: Larentowicz (min. 62), Neagle (min. 73), Vazquez (min. 79).

After DC United's Ian Harkes misplayed a backpass that saw Atlanta United's Julian Gressel put the away side up 1-0, Luciano Acosta and Patrick Nyarko clawed the capital club back and brought home a huge win for DC United.

This is the second time DC has beaten the expansion side this season. 

Mistakes from both teams lead to goals

In the 17th minute of the first half, Ian Harkes tried to play a ball back to a teammate. The pass was placed rather poorly, and Atlanta's Yamil Asad was able to find Miguel Almiron running to the wing. The Paraguayan then unselfishly played a lovely ball across the six-yard box and found Julian Gressel, who powered the ball into the back of the net. 

It wouldn't take long for the black and red to equalize. Atlanta goalkeeper Alex Kann made a monumental error after Jose Ortiz applied pressure, and Acosta calmly danced through the penalty area and brought DC on level terms with a clinical strike. This ended DC United's nearly 700 minute scoreless streak from open play. 

Taylor Kemp told the Washington Post, "We’ve been struggling lately finding goals, finding results, so this is big for us."

A few saves coming from both goalkeepers kept the score at 1-1 going into the halftime break. 

Hamid, Nyarko help DC cross the finish line

Luciano Acosta and his teammates celebrate their equalizer | Source: Geoff Burke, USA Today
Luciano Acosta and his teammates celebrate their equalizer | Source: Geoff Burke, USA Today

The first half saw both sides attacking and playing well. After the break, however, it was all DC United.

In the fifty-first minute, Patrick Nyarko’s header came off the ground and struck the crossbar. United were knocking on the door to finally get ahead.

Then came the sixtieth minute where Nyarko found himself near the edge of the eighteen-yard box. A cross came in, Nyarko chested it up and fired a volley past Kann and into the right side of the net.

Shortly after DC took the lead, new signing Deshorn Brown came on to replace Jose Ortiz, who is rumored to be heading out of the capital at some point this Summer.

Despite DC’s dominating performance in the second half, Bill Hamid was called to make some critical saves to help out the home side. The American goalkeeper came up with four saves tonight, one coming in the forty-first minute where he had to reach to stop a looping shot from Greg Garza.

The biggest save of them all came at the last kick of the game. Atlanta’s Josef Martinez stood behind a free-kick in the last seconds of stoppage time. However, the Venezuelan’s effort was matched by Hamid and the referee blew his whistle to end the game.

Taylor Kemp praised his fellow teammate. “That was an unbelievable save because that was going in.”

This win sees DC United climb up out of the last place spot in the East and into ninth place. They sit level with Montreal on points at eighteen a piece but the Canadian side has two games in hand. Atlanta remain in seventh with twenty-one points.

Coming up

Next up for the black and red is an away trip to Philadelphia as they take on the Philadelphia Union this Saturday. Atlanta will also play this Saturday as they look to bounce back against the Colorado Rapids