Coming off a challenging week, and without their captain on the field, D.C. United put an end to a recent poor run of results, beating the LA Galaxy 2-1 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. With Wayne Rooney out sick, and Luciano Acosta on the bench, Paul Arriola and Lucas Rodriguez scored on either side of the half, canceling out a second-half strike from Favio Alvarez.
Bill Hamid also made two superb saves, on Uriel Antuna and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, ensuring that United picked up their first win since a 4-1 romp last month against FC Cincinnati.
Amid all the craziness over the past week in regards to transfers, head coach Ben Olsen reverted back to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, for the first time in six games. Felipe Martin, brought in during the week from a trade, was handed a start right away, as Quincy Amarikwa replaced Rooney as the striker. Ulises Segura got a start in midfield, while Jalen Robinson took over as the right back, in place of Leonardo Jara, who played alongside Felipe.
Possession and shots heavily favored the visitors over the course of 90 minutes, in their first visit to Buzzard Point. But United did well early on in the game, preventing the cross happy Galaxy from completing their attempts, looking for Zlatan.
And in the 28th minute, United took advantage of their first real opportunity of the game, when Arriola scored his fifth goal of the campaign. A goal kick from Hamid was headed forward by Amarikwa, with Segura bringing the ball down, and chipping over the back line. Arriola raced towards the ball and fired off a one-timer that skipped underneath David Bingham for the opener.
Arriola then fired just wide in the 41st minute, before forcing a save out of Bingham in the 44th minute. Rodriguez pounced on that rebound and slotted home, but was ruled offside, negating United's two-goal advantage. Hamid then made a miraculous save on Antuna in first-half stoppage time, bewildering the Mexican international, who was certain that he had leveled the score.
Three minutes into the second half though, the visitors had their goal. A cross into the box found Ibrahimovic, who had a shot blocked by Robinson. Unfortunately for United, the ball fell right to Alvarez, who made no mistake, expertly curling a shot past Hamid, nestling the equalizer into the side netting in the 48th minute.
The game swung in the balance in the 71st minute when Hamid produced his second world-class save of the evening. A free kick from Jonathan Dos Santos fell kindly for Ibrahimovic, who took an MLS record 14 shots in one game. Ibrahimovic's volley was goalbound, until the strong hand of Hamid pushed the shot over the bar, earning a resounding cheer from the home faithful.
That paved the way for Rodriguez's winner, just two minutes later. A shot from just outside the box from Segura forced Bingham into a save, which was pounced on by Arriola. Arriola's follow up was also saved, but the ball popped out to Rodriguez in the middle of the box, who dispatched his shot with ease for his fifth goal of the season in the 73rd minute.
The Galaxy would continue to put the pressure on for another goal, bringing on three attacking substitutes in search for an equalizer. But the visitors only managed to get four of their 28 shots on target over the course of the game, and United successfully saw out three minutes of stoppage time for their 10th win of the season.
United, with 39 points from 26 games, return to action next Saturday when they travel west to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps.