D.C. United Can't Hold First-Half Lead, Lose 2-1 To NYCFC In Open Cup

D.C. United took a first-half lead in their Round of 16 U.S. Open Cup game against New York City FC at Audi Field on Wednesday night but couldn't make it count, falling 2-1 to exit the cup competition. Alexandru Mitrita scored in the 38th minute, and then Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored the winner in the 41st minute, in the first-ever Open Cup game between the two sides.

United were looking to make the quarterfinals of the cup competition for the first time since 2013, the last time they hoisted the trophy. Wayne Rooney's goal in the 32nd minute gave United a good chance, as Ben Olsen once again fielded a strong lineup a week after the 2-1 triumph against the Philadelphia Union.

Rooney nearly put United up in the first minute when a left-footed shot from the striker bounced off the upright, and Ulises Segura put the rebound over the goal. 

In the 6th minute, D.C. keeper Chris Seitz had to make two saves on two different plays on Mitrita, the second of which Seitz had to push over for a corner. City scored from the resulting corner, but the goal was ruled out for a handball on Heber on the play.

The game leveled out for the next 20 minutes before the teams exchanged chances at either end. Tajouri-Shradi forced a save out of Seitz before Rooney sent a glancing header just wide in the 28th minute. Maxi Moralez then had the best chance in the sequence, but Seitz was able to palm the stinging shot away from danger.

United then took the lead in the 32nd minute, with Rooney scoring his second goal in as many Open Cup games. Bringing down a long pass in the box from Segura, Rooney was able to retain control before bouncing a shot home.

But that lead wouldn't last, as two goals in three minutes put the visitors ahead. In the 38th minute, United didn't put pressure on the ball in midfield, allowing Keaton Parks to lift a ball into space for Mitrita. The Romanian held off a challenge from Leonardo Jara before poking a shot past Seitz.

Then in the 41st minute, Tajouri-Shradi was allowed to run at Steven Birnbaum in space, getting into the box. The winger then got the ball onto his left foot and found the bottom corner of the far post to put City up.

United came out better in the second half than how they finished in the first, but Rooney couldn't capitalize on an opportunity in the 54th minute. Taking in a pass from Acosta, Rooney found space for a shot but couldn't beat Brad Stuver.

Then, still needing a goal, United failed to put pressure on NYC for much of the second half. City limited the amount of possessions United were able to turn into attacking chances, while not creating all that many looks themselves. 

In the 71st minute, Lucas Rodriguez was the recipient of a well-worked pass from Luciano Acosta in the box, but couldn't find a way past Stuver for an equalizer. Seven minutes later, Valentin Castellanos beat Seitz from range, but his shot smashed off the woodwork.

A late corner gave United faint hope of an equalizer, but Rooney's second ball into the box wasn't converted by Segura, who was in an offside position anyway.

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