By AVI CREDITOR
WASHINGTON – Chris Pontius scored a goal and assisted on another in a 45-minute appearance as D.C. United held on to upend AC Milan, 3-2, in a friendly at RFK Stadium.
The majority of the 30,367 in attendance figured to see the Italian giants have their way with Major League's Soccer's worst side, and while Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato teamed to generate some inspiring chances, United held the duo scoreless.
Ronaldinho, who played 60 minutes, gave the fans what they paid for even though he didn't score. He received a cross from Pato in the 53rd minute, volleying it over his shoulder and attempting a jaw-dropping bicycle kick inside the penalty area. The shot hit the right post, but the crowd got the "Ohhh!" moment it came to see nonetheless.
"I didn't see the ball," said United keeper Troy Perkins, who played the second half and came up with some key saves to preserve the victory. "If it goes in it's a great finish, but that's what you expect out of him."
Pontius assisted on the opening goal, running onto a long pass from Stephen King at the left side of the 6-yard box. He headed the ball across the box to Luciano Emilio, who tapped it home in the 20th minute.
Ten minutes later, Pontius was on the receiving end of a routine corner kick from Santino Quaranta. He rose inside the area and delivered a fierce header to double United's lead.
"We finished our chances tonight, we made smart runs and we were smart on the ball," said Pontius, who played with confidence from his left midfield position.
Danny Allsopp got credit for United's third goal, hustling on a terrible back pass to Milan keeper Christian Abbiati. The goalie's clearance attempt ricocheted off Allsopp's back heel and into the net in the 61st minute for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
Massimo Oddo tallied both of Milan's goals, one on a 70th-minute penalty kick and another on a deflected shot from 30 yards out four minutes later. United was able to hang on, though, even playing with 10 men for the final 25 minutes. Brandon Barklage suffered what appeared to be a serious left leg injury in the 65th minute after all of D.C.'s subs were inserted in the game, and he was forced to exit, leaving the team shorthanded.
What did you think of D.C. United's performance? Surprised with the result? Disappointed in Milan? Think this can be a turning point for D.C.?
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