Photo by ISIphotos.com
WASHINGTON — On a night when one of the finest attacking players in MLS history hit a career milestone, a defender ended up stealing the show with a stunning blast of his own.
New York Red Bulls defender Wilman Conde celebrated his 30th birthday with an 88th-minute strike from outside the area to take the spotlight off of Dwayne De Rosario's 100th-career MLS goal and force a 2-2 draw between rivals D.C. United and New York in front of 10,303 at RFK Stadium.
Conde's laser to the upper right-hand corner of the goal from 25 yards out dealt a blow for D.C., which could have jumped to third place with a win and crept within two points of second-place New York with a game in hand all while having the Montreal Impact and Columbus Crew bearing down in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The result did ensure that the Atlantic Cup stayed with D.C., as the teams went 1-1-1 against each other this season, but D.C. kept the trophy by outscoring New York 8-6 in the three games.
De Rosario's 18-yard header in the 68th minute broke a 1-1 tie at the time. The landmark goal, started by a long Nick DeLeon ball from the right that Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette came off his line for but was beaten to by De Rosario at the top of the box, lifted the D.C. captain and Canadian international into exclusive company. He joins Jeff Cunningham, Jaime Moreno, Landon Donovan, Ante Razov, Jason Kreis and Taylor Twellman in MLS' 100 club.
The Red Bulls, who traded De Rosario to D.C. for Dax McCarty last summer, failed to win away from home for the eighth straight game but still walk away with a valuable point. They squandered a 1-0 lead that was taken in the 19th minute off a goal from Joel Lindpere, who finished from a left-sided angle off a sliding toe-poked through ball from Thierry Henry.
DeLeon answered a little more than a minute later for D.C., though, hitting a spinning volley off a feed from De Rosario and staying just even with Heath Pearce inside the Red Bulls box to stay onside and level the score.
Bill Hamid sandwiched Lindpere's goal with two stellar saves to keep the Red Bulls from having an explosive first half. He robbed Tim Cahill in the 7th minute off a header from an Henry free kick, and then he stuffed McCarty in the 25th minute on his attempt from the center of the box after Henry fed him with an overhead kick.
New York had two chances to take the lead back in the 65th minute, with McCarty weaving through the defense and feeding Cahill for a shot that was blocked by a sliding Dejan Jakovic. On the ensuing sequence, Brandon McDonald appeared uncertain and hesitant with a chance to clear from inside the area, and his awkwardly hit ball set up Cahill for a powerful header that went just high of the post.
The Red Bulls hardly threatened until Conde's strike, as he followed up on a loose ball from about 25 yards out and rifled a shot past a helpless Hamid to force the draw.
Here are highlights from the match: