- Ethan Gomberg

SANDY, UT – A night of counter attacks and penalty kicks, probably overshadowed by DC United forward Charlie Davies and a controversial decision, ended in Utah tonight 1-1. The announced attendance of 16, 841 were on hand for important match for both teams.

The match began as a rather tense affair with DC United, surprisingly, with more of the chances. RSL seem to be committing the majority of the fouls. A few anemic corners from both sides seem to be the tone of the first half. A moment excitement entered the match when DC thought they had an early goal but the assistant referee ruled it off-sides. RSL also got into it around the 18th minute when forwards Fabian Espindola and Jean Alexandre were in the box but couldn't get in the net.

Things looked like they were settling in the home side's favor when DC’s Chris Pontius and captain Josh Wolff connected for what looked like a sure goal but RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was there to stop the shot.

After some physicality between RSL midfielder Collen Warner and DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid, Espindola surprised everyone, including Hamid with a quick strike from 35yards out. Hamid was up for the battle and the resulting corners didn't result in a way RSL wanted them too.

RSL continued to apply more pressure and got the offensive upper hand by the 35th minute. The game changer happened in the 35th minute when DC’s Clyde Simms was called for a hand ball in the box. Espindola took the ensuing penalty kick and made it count. RSL went ahead 1-0 at that point. Immediately after the goal, DC United was putting far more pressure going forward and RSL seemed content to wait out the rest of the half.

Starting the 2nd half DC decided it needed more offense and Coach Olsen sent in midfielder Dax McCarty for Simms. DC's commitment was apparent as they seem to control more of the possession in the opening minutes of the half. DC’s Blake Brettschnieder almost had a goal in the 50th minute but the cross bar denied him much to his frustration. Warner too almost had a goal when his shot at angle to Hamid but the DC keeper swat the ball away in some impressive goalkeeping.

DC continued to make changes when they brought in USMNT star Charlie Davies in the 62nd minute for Wolff. RSL also made their first change when Canadian international Will Johnson , recently returned from the Gold Cup, came in for Warner in the 66th minute much to the appreciation of the home crowd.

Johnson's inclusion seemed to help move the RSL offense which was already having some quality possession but DC was still having the best chances on goal. After the match RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said "I can’t recall too many clear-cut chances we had to really put them away. There were a couple half-chances and some good possession, but again we just have to keep working hard and be more dangerous." A nice piece of passing play between Alexandre and Espindola resulted in a free kick from midfielder Andy Williams and RSL. The ball landed right in front of the goal but no RSL player could capitalize.

In the 78th minute Olsen made an interesting move when he sent in former Philadelphia Union player Fred for midfielder Stephen King. Fred is leaving the club this week for Melbourne so this will be his last DC and MLS game.

In the 85th minute came the biggest moment of the game for DC. Davies showed once again his singular MLS skills to get a penalty seemingly out of thin air. RSL defender Chris Wingert seemingly got a clean hit on the ball but referee Vaughn awarded a penalty kick and Davies put it away. Davies’s goal, his 4th penalty kick goal of the season, leveled the score at one. The home crowd showed it's great displeasure at Davies’s apparent dive in the box with a great bit of noise and a projectile bombardment of the star player. When RSL coach Kreis was asked after the game his opinion of the goal, he responded “no comment”.

In the post game Davies didn’t mention much about the foul but his thoughts on the penalty kick itself was revealing. He said “For me now it’s just whenever I step up to the penalty spot I feel like I’m going to score. I knew that Nicky is a good PK stopper so I just wanted to hit it with power right in the corner, which I was able to do.” However Wingert was not so reserved, “It's almost laughable, I don't know what to say. Charlie is a friend of mine … we roomed together in (U.S.) National Team camp. He even looked at me, kind of smiling. He knew. It's a shame we lost two points on that play because it really wasn't even close.”

The game ended shortly after that, 1-1. A bit of a disappointment for RSL, at home with a 50 minute lead disappearing right before the whistle blew. But DC’s numerous near misses really showed that RSL was lucky to walk away with only a draw. Kreis said of the match and preparing for Chicago on Wednesday “I think that we just need to continue to try and improve in every aspect of our game. I just think it would be unfair to pick out one thing and say ‘This is the area of our game that we have to improve on.’ For me, we need to improve in every aspect. I’m not asking for huge improvements, I’m asking for little improvements. The possibilities are there.” RSL continues play on Wednesday in a road trip to Chicago. DC coach Olsen said “I thought that on the day [Real Salt Lake] were probably a better soccer team than we were, but we found a way. It’s a tough place to come and sneak out a result.” Next DC plays at home against Eastern conference rival Houston on Saturday.

Scoring Summary:
RSL -- Fabian Espíndola 4 (penalty kick) 38
DC -- Charlie Davies 7 (penalty kick) 85

DC -- Blake Brettschneider (caution; Tactical Foul) 65


D.C. United -- Bill Hamid; Jed Zayner, Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard; Andy Najar, Stephen King (Fred 78), Clyde Simms (Dax McCarty 46), Chris Pontius; Blake Brettschneider, Josh Wolff (Charlie Davies 62)

Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Robbie Russell 86); Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Collen Warner (Will Johnson 66), Ned Grabavoy; Jean Alexandre, Fabian Espíndola (Artur Aghasyan 83).

Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Elias Bazakos

Attendance: 16,841
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