Aug 4, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; D.C. United midfielder Yamil Asad (22) and Montreal Impact midfielder Saphir Taider (8) battle for the ball during the second half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
D.C. United collected a point on the road Saturday, playing to a 1-1 draw against the Montreal Impact.
Five minutes into the match, United immediately fell back into defense when Impact captain Ignacio Piatti dribbled into the penalty box. Piatti’s cross deflected off United defender Kofi Opare’s foot and over to forward Matteo Mancosu for a quick goal.
After the goal, United woke up and regained the majority of possession during the first half. Shot after shot ricocheted dangerously off the woodwork, including a 38th minute free kick from captain Wayne Rooney.
Rooney struck the ball nearly perfectly from 20 yards out. The curling shot came up inches short, taking a pang off the post and out of danger.
“We were a little unfortunate not to get the three points and the win,” defender Steven Birnbaum said.
The last time United beat Montreal was Aug. 8, 2015, a 1-0 result with just one shot, which came from midfielder Chris Rolfe. But there was not a shortage of shots Saturday for United, who took 19 total with five on target.
D.C. was unable to find the back of the net until the 70th minute, thanks to a play orchestrated by the speedy Luciano Acosta, who laid a ball off for Yamil Asad to score his ninth goal of the season.
Acosta has embraced his role this season as a playmaker rather than the leading goal scorer. The Argentinian lead United last season with five goals. This season, Acosta holds the top spot for assists with nine, which is almost double his assist count from last season (5).
Rooney caused a scare for United in the second half after heading a ball out of danger. The designated player is recovering from a broken nose and went down holding his face. After quickly wiping small drops of blood from beneath his nose, he returned to the pitch for the final minutes.
While the Impact currently hold a spot above the playoff line, United maintains a slimming chance at a place in the postseason. D.C. has five games in hand compared to Montreal and at least two compared to the rest of the Eastern Conference teams.
United play the next three matches at home in an eight-day span, beginning with a match against Orlando City Aug. 12.