Audi Field has seen plenty of dramatic moments in its short life, and Wednesday night produced another thriller, as D.C. United and the Chicago Fire drew 3-3 in Washington, D.C. Ulises Segura atoned for an early miss to score twice, before Luciano Acosta seemed to score a winner in the 81st minute. But a stoppage-time equalizer split the points between the two Eastern Conference foes, running United's winless streak to four games.
Segura's goals, one on either side of the half, helped United erase an early two-goal deficit. CJ Sapong and Djordje Mihailovic scored in quick succession to give the Fire a two-goal lead by the 14th minute.
There was just one change to the starting lineup from head coach Ben Olsen, after last week's 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution. Chris Odoi-Atsem, who recently beat Hodgkin's lymphoma, got the start at left back, the first time the defender had started in an MLS game since 2017.
Segura failed to hit the target on a good chance in the 7th minute, as Leonardo Jara did well to keep a ball from going out of bounds in the box. That missed chance hurt even more, when the Fire were up two goals less than seven minutes later.
First, the Fire used a pick on a Nico Gaitan free kick in the box to work Sapong open, who made no mistake with a header in the 12th minute to give the visitors the lead.
Two minutes and 33 seconds later, Mihailovic had Chicago in dreamland, thanks to a big deflection off from his shot. The Fire quickly capitalized on a turnover from United deep in their own half, and the midfielder took a speculative shot that bounced fortunately off of Junior Moreno. There was nothing Bill Hamid could do, as the ball rolled into the net for a 2-0 Fire lead.
Hamid did make a huge save on Sapong in the 20th minute, denying the striker a goal on the doorstep from service by Aleksandar Katai. Katai then had his own look at goal six minutes later but was denied by Hamid as well.
Moreno couldn't convert a good look from the top of the box for United, before Wayne Rooney headed a cross from Segura over the frame in the 39th minute.
It looked like United might go into the half down two goals, but a quick play on a turnover in the 43rd minute got the hosts back within one. The Black-and-Red worked to quickly get the ball to Rooney near midfield, and while on his way towards goal, picked out Segura, who finished the play off with a deft first-time finish.
United thought they had the equalizer in first-half stoppage time, but Lucas Rodriguez's goal was called back after a video review for a handball.
The teams exchanged chances to start the second half, but moments after Katai went close for Chicago, Segura had the equalizer for United. Racing onto a pass from Jara, Segura got in behind the Fire's back line and slotted a shot under Kenneth Kronholm for his second goal of the game.
A big miss from defender Francisco Calvo kept United's hopes of three points alive in the 69th minute. After Hamid made a save on a stinging shot from Przemyslaw Frankowski, a second ball into the box allowed Sapong to head across goal, only for Calvo to somehow volley over the goal from just a couple of yards out.
All of that set the stage for Acosta's header in the 81st minute. Jara, who had once again proven capable of aiding United's attack throughout the game, whipped in a cross that found Acosta. Acosta, who famously headed in a dramatic winner at the other end of the field last year against Orlando City, had no issues finding the net for his fourth goal of the season.
But there was still time for the Fire to equalize in stoppage time. A clearance from United stayed alive, allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to send a hopeful ball into the box. This time, Calvo made no mistake, looping a header in to get the teams back on level pegging.
The draw gives United 26 points from 16 games. They are back in action on Saturday, when they host the San Jose Earthquakes.