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Fabian Espindola keys D.C. United comeback over Fire


Photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports



Even though he only played 45 minutes on his return from injury, Fabian Espindola’s importance to D.C. United’s attack was evident to see.

Espindola assisted on two of D.C. United’s three second half goals against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night, as D.C. United came back from a goal down to win, 3-1 at RFK Stadium. The win puts D.C. United atop the entire MLS standings for the time being with 28 points and gives Ben Olsen’s side a seven-point gap in the Eastern Conference.

The Fire scored in the first half through Ghanaian striker David Accam, but D.C. United struck three times in the second half to win the game.

Veteran forward Jairo Arrieta scored a brace to bring his season tally to five goals, while young Conor Doyle finished the three-goal outburst with his first goal of the season.

In the 20th minute, a combination with Matt Polster and David Accam led to a very dangerous chance on goal. Accam spun with the ball to move in on D.C. United’s defense, but his shot went narrowly wide, past the outstretched hands of Andrew Dykstra.

A handball from Steve Birnbaum in the 26th minute led to a Fire penalty kick. But Jeff Larentowicz couldn’t bury it as Dykstra saved the shot to the lower left corner.

David Accam found the back of the net soon afterwards, though, with a clean shot to the far post in the 29th minute after a spin move. Harry Shipp played a ball to the corner for Quincy Amarikwa, who slid the ball into the box for Accam to slot home.

While the Fire challenged multiple times in the first half, the visitor’s chances really tapered off in the second half.

Espindola constantly threatened the Fire defense after coming on at the start of the second half, but a solid performance from Jon Busch and the rest of the Fire defense kept the Argentine forward from inflicting damage early on.

In the 60th minute, a D.C. United goal from Jairo Arrieta leveled the score at 1-1. Fabian Espindola whipped in a corner kick that found the head of Arrieta at the back post for the equalizer.

Arrieta found his and D.C.’s second of the night in the 70th minute. Espindola started the attack with a ball into the box to Nick Deleon, who slid it in to the goalscorer in the heart of the penalty area. Arrieta attempted to play the ball back out to Deleon, but it hit the foot of Lovel Palmer and bounced back for the Costa Rican forward to slot home for his fifth goal of the season.

But D.C. United and Espindola weren’t done just yet. Espindola played a driven ball on the ground into the penalty box in the 75th minute to find Conor Doyle for his first of the season. The ball from Espindola traveled from nearly the endline to the middle of the goalmouth where Doyle poked it up and over Busch to make the score 3-1.

The Fire will travel home to face Orlando City at Toyota Park on Saturday night at 8:30. D.C. United will host a surging Toronto FC club on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.


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