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A week after a video review went against them, D.C. United benefited from two reviews in the first half on Saturday night, as the Black-and-Red defeated the Columbus Crew 3-1 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. The first review took away a Crew goal from Pedro Santos before Luciano Acosta scored his third goal of the season to give United their first home goal since March 16.
A second review gave United a penalty in first-half stoppage time, which was converted by Wayne Rooney for his sixth goal of the campaign. Paul Arriola added the third for the hosts in the second half, with a Bill Hamid own goal accounting for the only tally for the Crew.
Ben Olsen once again stuck with the 3-4-2-1 formation, starting three center backs for the fourth consecutive game. The only change to the starting lineup from last weekend's loss to Minnesota United was the insertion of Russell Canouse, in his return from injury, in place of Chris Durkin.
Video review changed the course of the game three different times during the first half, with all three decisions going in favor of the home team. The Crew thought they had the lead in the 22nd minute when Pedro Santos beat Bill Hamid to the near post. The play started with Leonardo Jara's pass in midfield not connecting with Acosta, who bumped into referee Ted Unkel. One pass to Santos later, and the ball was in the back of the net.
However, Unkel eventually went to check out a replay, and apparently decided that there had been a foul by Wil Trapp when the contact with Acosta happened. That took off the goal, much to the chagrin of the visiting Crew.
United took advantage of the call in their favor, when Acosta scored in the 27th minute, his third goal of the season. A free kick from Rooney was knocked down in the box by Jara, who couldn't get a shot away in traffic. The danger didn't pass, though, and the ball eventually fell to Acosta, who smashed a shot home past Zack Steffen.
The teams traded a couple of half chances until first-half stoppage time when a video review gave United a penalty. A move from the Black-and-Red seemed to almost break down when Acosta tried to lift the ball into the box for Rooney. Trapp leaned in, and cleared away, though Rooney immediately protested the no-call.
At the next stoppage, Unkel went to the board and awarded United a penalty. Rooney stepped up to the spot, almost six months to the day from when Steffen saved Rooney's shootout attempt at the same end. Steffen guessed right once again but had no chance in saving Rooney's unstoppable penalty, giving United the two-goal halftime lead.
Columbus had a couple of chances to get back into the game early in the second half, but could not capitalize on their opportunities. Gyasi Zardes brought a ball down at the back post in the 52nd minute but had a shot saved by Hamid. Hector Jimenez then sent an inviting cross through the box, but it just missed the sliding Federico Higuain.
That missed opportunities cost the Crew a minute later when Arriola scored to give United a three-goal lead. Jara tackled the ball away in midfield and then surged towards goal, holding off a defender. Once in the box, Jara back-heeled the ball for Arriola, whose shot took a deflection off of Waylon Francis, in sneaking past Steffen.
A rare mistake from Hamid did allow the Crew a glimmer of hope in the 75th minute when a corner kick slipped through the keeper's hands. Rising up to catch a corner from Robinho, Hamid wasn't able to secure the corner, and the ball bounced into the goal, getting the Crew back within two goals for the final 15 minutes.
Two minutes later, Rooney almost restored the three-goal lead, when Acosta found him in the box with a cross. Rooney was able to get his header on target, but an excellent save from Steffen denied Rooney another two-goal game this season.
The visitors would hardly challenge the rest of the way, though, giving United their sixth win in 11 games this year. With the victory, D.C. remain tied with the Philadelphia Union atop the Eastern Conference, each with 20 points.