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Chicago shocks United in stoppage time to steal 2-1 win


Photo by Jose L. Argueta/


WASHINGTON – For 89 minutes Saturday, D.C. United and the Chicago Fire played a match that belied the desperate circumstances for each side, a lethargic contest seemingly destined to end in a scoreless draw — until it delivered as dramatic a final act as one will see in MLS all season.

After struggling throughout the night to muster much of an attack, United went ahead via a 90th-minute penalty kick from Dwayne De Rosario, only to watch Chicago notch stoppage-time goals from Sebastian Grazzini and Diego Chaves to steal a 2-1 win at RFK Stadium.

"I've never been a part of anything like it — the ups and downs of this game," United midfielder Santino Quaranta said. "It's all kind of a blur, it happened so fast. To walk back in the locker room with no points when you have victory in your grasp, it's demoralizing."

The result kept the Fire's faint playoff hopes alive while dealing a serious blow to United's postseason aspirations. Chicago (8-9-16) is now three points behind the New York Red Bulls (9-8-16) for the final playoff slot with one match remaining for each club, while D.C. (9-12-11) is five points back of New York with two games to play.

From a mental standpoint, though, it's hard to imagine United coming back from Saturday's gut-wrenching loss.

D.C. recorded just one shot on target against the Fire. It came when Quaranta was taken down in the penalty area by Chicago left back Gonzalo Segares and De Rosario converted the spot kick for his league-leading 15th goal of the season.

But the smoke bomb set off by the elated United faithful had not even cleared before Chicago drew even. Segares touched the ball to Grazzini 20 yards from goal, and the Argentine ripped a one-time shot past D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

Then, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, the unthinkable happened. Chicago substitue Orr Barouch looped a pass over the United back line to the streaking Segares, whose centering feed evaded the scrambling Hamid and was tapped by Chaves into an empty net.

"It was an incredible five minutes, first for D.C. and then finally for us," Chaves said. "It was really, really intense."

On Grazzini's tally, United midfielder Clyde Simms turned his back to the ball while leaping toward the shot. The decision did not sit well with De Rosario, who said he "would like to see someone take that in the face or on the body, instead of jumping and turning their back."

"This was our season in a nutshell tonight: giving up bad goals at bad times," De Rosario said. "It's frustrating because you want to see that commitment, you want to see that passion and desire to win every ball, to do whatever it takes to stop a shot or block a ball to stop a play. But that isn't the case, and I don't see that right now."

De Rosario, though, was far from the only United player expressing frustration in the locker room. Hamid sat in stunned silence, declining comment. Several others struggled to put their emotions into words.

Charlie Davies, who did not enter the match until the 79th minute despite his status as one of the league leaders with 11 goals, was left to explain, "I can only do so much with time that I have."

The striker was limited to a similarly brief 14-minute cameo during Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Vancouver.

"I'm a guy that expects to play 90 minutes," Davies said. "I'm fit. I'm healthy. It's disappointing when you want to get the playing time to help the team win and you only get 20, 15 minutes."

While Chicago remains a playoff long-shot even with the win (the Fire must win its finale, hope New York loses and make up a five-strike margin in goal differential), United would have controlled its destiny heading into the season's final two matches had De Rosario's goal stood.

Now, D.C. must win those two games at home and hope for some help. For a team that has lost four in a row and is just 4-4-7 at RFK Stadium this year, that's a tall task.

"The crazy thing about this is that we are still not out of it," coach Ben Olsen said. "So we'll move on. But it's a tough one. I'm not going to sugarcoat it."


  1. So why say it was 5 yards onside if it was half a yard… that’s a huge huge difference. It looked offside in real time, but upon looking at the replay it was close but seemed onside. Props to the ref getting it right. Even in this post you still say he’s 5 yards onside…
    With all the words available to you in the English language, surely you could use the correct ones. Compose your sentence in slow motion if you need to.

  2. i love United, red and black all the way, but this team has lost 4 in a row, 4 games they should have won. they do not deserve the playoff.

    we need some big time changes in the offseason, we need players with the heart of a lion, like the coach. the last two games proves to me that some players have no heart.

  3. They didn’t show the good replay during the broadcast but did on the post-game show in Chicago, and Segares was definitely onside, no doubt. In fact, I don’t think DC was complaining about offside, I think Hamid was arguing that the ball crossed the end line before Segares got to it. This is much harder to tell, but since I couldn’t see it clearly past the end line it probably wasn’t.

  4. Who cares? I want that from my home broadcast team. They call it like they care. Besides, DC dove and embellished in the box 3 or 4 times before it finally paid dividends in the 90th.

  5. The way things are shaping up, D.C. United should rebrand itself as the Washington Democrats! Nobody in all of politics has more of a legendary track record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory than the Democrats, and nobody in all of pro sports is proving to be better at doing the very same thing than D.C. United!

  6. No offense, but, duh. In a league with extreme parity, adding an additional playoff spot will always keep more teams in the mix. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

  7. Wow. As a Chicago fan this is one to remember. Too bad I had to leave RFK for an Amtrak back to Balto in the 90th minute…

    I give Chicago credit for not giving up, having some skilled players in key positions (Grazzini and Pappa in this case), but DC just collapsed shamefully. PLUS we were without defensive pillars Gargan, Gibbs, and Pardo.

    United should have found a way through our piecemeal defense, but could not except with a questionable penalty call.

  8. When the ball leaves Barouchs foot Segares is more than a half yard onside!! Watch it again. Segares starts his run from midfield and easily ran through 5 yards onside. It’s when the ball is played not when he receives the pass. With all this technology surely you can find another replay to watch in slow motion.

  9. Hyperbole much?

    Playoff system still sucks. Wake me up when MLS brass remember what the Supporter Shield is and should be.

    Signed, MLS fans

  10. Those guys were a little ridiculous in their fire bias though. How many times did that dude scream for a yellow card for “diving,” then there was some comment about “DC as a team is known for it.”

    I did find it funny however, as I was definitely cheering for DC’s demise

  11. 5 yards? Watching video on the MLS site, it looks to me like it’s probably onside. But 5 yards? It looked to me like (given the FIFA interpretation of even = onside) than it’s onside. But no-way it’s 5 yards, you’re off by about 4.5 yards.

    As for the goal scorer (Chaves), he is ahead of his man but he can’t be offsides b/c the ball is passed even or (in this case back) from Segares.

  12. You gotta give credit to the Fire for stealing that win away from D.C., but sorry, if you score from a penalty kick in the 89th minute and still manage to lose, maybe you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

    Still, great fight back from the Fire.

  13. Wow . . .

    Now I can hope for another NYRB loss so the Fire can go into their final home game with the *possibility* of a playoff spot.

  14. Amazingly, once again it turns out Garber and the other folks running MLS know more about what is best for MLS than a bunch of random people posting on the internet… who could have guessed???

  15. initially I thought the wildcard addition to the playoff scheme was a bad idea, but now I’ve changed my mind. The race for the final wildcard spot is turning into one hell of a battle that rivals the best relegation fight. This season will likely go out with a bang instead of the usual whimper.

  16. Actually, both Chicago players were onside. Great timed run by Segares and well done to Chavez for not giving up on the play when all the Dc players bitched for the offside. Credit to Barouch with a great ball as well!

  17. pathetic, DCU. absolutely dont deserve a spot in the playoffs…oh and thanks csn for showing the caps game instead of this megahuge match for united…almost glad i didnt have to see it all go down in flames this time

    good season overall i suppose but wow….facepalm

  18. My initial reaction was that it was offside as well, but they never showed a replay and the initial camera angle didn’t show the entire field. So who knows.

  19. “WHERE DID DIEGO GOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Love the chicago broadcasters. Anyone know there names. One of the few MLS local broadcasters that do their job with a passion

  20. Hilarious. Didn’t see a close enough replay to see if the 2nd goal was offside, but the DC defender (22 maybe?) easily could have knocked that cross out if he hadn’t been b!tching for a call.


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