D.C. United Survive TFC Shot Barrage, Take Point In 0-0 Draw

Nick DeLeon, Ulises Segura

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A year ago in Canada, D.C. United split points with Toronto FC in a wild 4-4 draw. On Wednesday night, the result was the same, but obtained in a completely different fashion, in a 0-0 draw at BMO Field. Fielding a lineup with seven changes from the team on Sunday night, the Black-and-Red were outshot 35-3, but kept the Reds from having many good looks at goal. 

With another game just around the corner on Saturday night, Ben Olsen made wholesale changes to his starting lineup against TFC. The only holdovers from the win against Sporting Kansas City were Bill Hamid, Steven Birnbaum, Frederic Brillant, and Russell Canouse. Olsen also opted for another new wrinkle to his formation, going with a 5-3-2. Akeem Ward made his MLS debut, and Quincy Amarikwa got his first start of the season. Making their second starts of the season were Zoltan Steiber, Ulises Segura, Chris McCann, and Jalen Robinson, while Chris Durkin started in place of Junior Moreno.

All that said, United nearly were on the board within a minute, when Stieber had a long-range shot saved by TFC keeper Quentin Westberg. The save resulted in a corner, which Amarikwa stabbed home, but the forward was off when Canouse won the initial header on Stieber's delivery.

That was almost the end of United's offensive contributions in the first half, with the only other shot coming in stoppage time, with Robinson sending a header from a Stieber free kick wide of the goal. 

Otherwise, all the action was in front of United's goal, but the Reds were unable to find a way through Bill Hamid. The keeper made an easy save on Auro in the ninth minute, but produced his finest stop in the 14th. A ball into the box from Alejandro Pozuelo found Jordan Hamilton, but the forward's redirection was parried away by Hamid.

Pozuelo dragged a shot wide in the 24th minute, but it was Hamilton who hit the woodwork in the 33rd minute, the closest the hosts would come to scoring. A ball into the box from Marco Delgado found former United player Nick DeLeon, who headed the ball down towards goal. Hamid got a touch, but the ball popped up to Hamilton, who hit the crossbar with a shot, ending the opportunity.

All told, the hosts took 20 shots in the first 45 minutes on their way to setting a league record for most shots without a goal in a game.

Olsen didn't make any changes at the half, but almost immediately afterward the start of the second half, brought on Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta. The duo helped stem the tide a bit in terms of possession, but had a limited impact going forward for United. 

Just before the two entered the game, Hamid had to make a smart save on Auro, who was the recipient of a corner played on the ground by Pozuelo. Auro had room at the top of the box to hit his shot first time, but Hamid was equal to the effort and pushed it over the goal. 

Delgado had a look from outside the box but had a shot saved by Hamid before TFC head coach Greg Vanney went to his bench in hopes of tipping the game in his favor. On came Jay Chapman and Terrence Boyd to help aid TFC's attack.

But despite continuing to dominate possession and keeping the ball in United's half, the chances just weren't plentiful for the Reds, even if the shots were. And then the rare time that the Black-and-Red got numbers forward, TFC were able to break out through a long ball from Pozuelo to Hamilton.

The striker was in on goal but slowed himself up and allowed Brillant to recover, with the move ending with a weak shot rolled right to Hamid. Down at the other end, Rooney, all alone with the ball, took aim towards goal in the 79th minute but had his shot saved by Westberg.

It looked like there would be only one team who might find the winner late on, but United held strong defensively to pick up their seventh clean sheet of the season. It took a crucial punch from Hamid in traffic during stoppage time to preserve the point, but the Black-and-Red kept TFC from winning, taking a point before heading to take on the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night. 

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