Rolfe’s late penalty lifts DC United over Union 2-1
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Rolfe scored an 84th minute penalty to lift D.C. United to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer on Saturday and extend its Eastern Conference lead over New England to five points.
New York City extended its stretch without a win to 11 matches after a 1-1 draw with Houston, while Orlando City twice rallied to earn a 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew.
Rolfe and Philadelphia’s Zach Pfeffer battled for a service near the left side of the box and the ball deflected off the defender’s arm, resulting in the penalty call. Rolfe made no mistake from the spot, finding the bottom left corner past Union goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.
Things started well for the Union. Just 5 minutes in, Andrew Wenger weaved his way laterally through the top of the 18-yard box until United’s defense broke down. He found Sebastien Le Toux on the right flank alone, and his power right-footed shot beat Bill Hamid easily.
United, though, equalized in first-half stoppage time. Taylor Kemp’s left-footed service came from wide on the left wing and found Chris Pontius at the penalty spot, where Pontius flicked a header into the far upper corner past the diving Brian Sylvestre.
Philadelphia had a golden opportunity to go ahead in the 60th minute, but Fernando Aristeguieta’s left-footed shot from the center of the box was saved in the top left corner by a leaping Hamid.
New England has the chance to close the gap on D.C. United to two points when it hosts Los Angeles on Sunday.
Former Spain international striker David Villa’s first-half penalty kick helped New York City FC to a 1-1 draw at home to the Houston Dynamo as the expansion continued to struggle to find form in its first season.
Villa rolled a well-placed penalty kick into the back of the net in first-half stoppage time after NYC was awarded its first spot kick this season when Raul Rodriguez was whistled for a hand ball on a challenge with Adam Nemec.
Houston took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute when David Horst headed a corner kick into the middle of the box and Will Bruin one-touched it home.
The host’s had several good chances in the closing minutes of the game. Jeb Brovsky’s diving header in the 89th forced a great save by Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric. Patrick Mullins bent a shot just wide in the 91st and two minutes later, Brovsky missed an open shot from a tough angle.
Pedro Ribeiro scored in the 89th minute and Orlando City rallied to a 2-2 draw against 10-man Columbus Crew.
Ribeiro, who missed the past seven games with a hamstring injury, was left alone after gathering a loose ball and shot from distance to score.
Columbus was down a man for 74 minutes, but took a 2-1 lead in the 61st when Kei Kamara headed in his MLS-leading 10th goal of the season.
In the first half, Tony Tchani gave the Crew a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute after heading home Hector Jimenez’s cross.
Columbus’ Michael Parkhurst was given a red card in the 16th minute for a questionable hand ball on the goal line. Orlando City’s Kaka converted his fourth penalty kick of the season to level the game at 1-1. It was Kaka’s third consecutive game with a goal.
Elsewhere, Cristian Techera scored his first goal for Vancouver and the Whitecaps beat Real Salt Lake 2-1.
The 5-foot-2 winger jumped on a mix-up between Salt Lake defender Elias Vasquez and goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the 79th minute and slotted home the winner.
Earlier, Gershon Koffie opened the scoring for Vancouver before Javier Morales equalized for Salt Lake.
Also Saturday, the Portland Timbers beat the Colorado Rapids 2-1, the Chicago Fire thrashed the Montreal Impact 3-0 and Toronto FC had a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.