After the 12-game home unbeaten streak came to an end last weekend against a formidable Toronto FC side, the Fire coughed up points on home turf once again, settling for a 2-2 draw with DC United at home on Friday night in a back-and-forth affair.
David Arshakyan, the young Armenian forward made his long-awaited start for the Fire after being acquired by the Fire at the end of the primary transfer window. Luis Solignac dropped into the second striker role normally occupied by Michael de Leeuw, who was unavailable (along with John Goossens,) due to injury. Johan Kappelhoff carried on at right back, with Rodrigo Ramos’ mysterious exile continuing for yet another week. Michael Harrington spelled Brandon Vincent at left back.
Both teams felt each other out in the early stages. Giveaways on either side resulted in a few good transition opportunities. The pick of the bunch fell to DCU when former Fire boy Patrick Nyarko found Marcelo Sarvas with a one two in the box. Sean Johnson, however, was quick off of his line to smother the danger. The Fire of old showed up in the 19th minute, when SeanJohn handled a back pass inside the area. Rob Vincent blasted the ball over the wall of Fire players on the goal line off of the ensuing free kick for the opener.
The Fire’s response, however, was swift. Goals from captain Razvan Cocis and David Accam, respectively, ensured the Men in Red entered the half with a 2-1 lead. Cocis put a near-post header on target off of a corner that was too hot for Bill Hamid to handle. Seven minutes later, Arshakyan played a one-two in transition with Accam, whose speed took the closing Steve Birnbaum out of the play. With Bobby Boswell and Taylor Kemp inviting the Ghanaian to shoot, King David fired from the top of the box, putting a shot low and to Hamid’s right that was just beyond the keeper’s reach. DC came back with a couple of good looks to end the half, but the scoreline remained the same.
The second half was sluggish until the final 10 minutes, with DC losing its trademark midfield intensity, and the Fire content to play a slow match with the lead at home. Luciano Acosta’s beauty of a through ball to Lamar Neagle in the 80th minute tested Johnson, but he was once again quick to smother. DC kept pushing, with the Fire willingly collapsing further and further towards their goal. The visitors eventually got a lucky bounce after the Fire were unable to clean up a rebound save from Johnson, with Boswell bumbling the ball across the line in stoppage time. The Men in Red now have 27 points (6-13-9) from 28 matches, and return to action next Friday, when they travel to The Bronx to take on New York City FC.
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