By AVI CREDITOR
WASHINGTON – Andy Najar scored his first professional goal and assisted on one of Adam Cristman's two goals, as D.C. United defeated FC Dallas, 4-2, in a U.S. Open Cup qualifying game at RFK Stadium.
Najar, a 17-year-old D.C. United Academy product, ran onto a gorgeous cross from Cristman to score a goal that gave United a 3-0 lead in the 51st minute.
"I've been working hard all season, and I just keep working hard to show the talent that God has given me," Najar said through a translator.
When asked if he was amazed that just months ago he was scoring in high school games and now he's scoring professionally, the humble but confident Najar laughed and responded, "Yes, I'm a little surprised."
Najar's night, in which he played in an attacking midfield position more up the field, started off well.
He assisted on Cristman's first goal, in the 4th minute, touching the ball to the striker. Cristman then chipped the ball from the top of the penalty area over Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman, who was well off his line, to give United an early 1-0 edge.
A Hartman blunder led to United's second goal, when he mishandled Cristian Castillo's 39th-minute free kick from about 40 yards out.
Just moments after Najar scored D.C.'s third goal, he nearly scored again on an identical sequence, as a Cristman cross from the right found him in stride about eight yards out. Hartman was able to get his feet on the shot, though, to prevent D.C. from taking a 4-0 lead.
On the ensuing sequence on the other end of the field, a failed clearance gave Bruno Guarda a clear shot on goal from 18 yards out, and he cashed in to give Dallas some life.
A 56th-minute penalty on Rodney Wallace allowed Dax McCarty to bring the Hoops within 3-2, but Cristman took advantage of Hartman being off his line again, by lobbing a header into an empty net two minutes later.
The win marked the first for Curt Onalfo as D.C. United's head coach, although he wasn't on the field to see the game through. He was sent off in the 32nd minute after arguing a foul call with referee Chris Penso.
United will host another U.S. Open Cup play-in game on May 12, when Real Salt Lake will come to town with a spot in the tournament's Round of 16 on the line.