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Birnbaum’s late equalizer earns D.C. United tie with Union

Photo by Rafael Suanes/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Rafael Suanes/USA TODAY Sports

After countless minutes worth of pushing for an equalizer, D.C. United found the back of the net in second half stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

With the seconds ticking down in stoppage time, Steve Birnbaum nodded home a cross from open space at the left post to earn a point at home for the Black and Red.

D.C. opened the scoring through an unlikely player as left back Taylor Kemp darted 70 yards through the Union defense to slot a shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

The hosts appeared ready to head into the half with a one-goal advantage, but Tranquillo Barnetta disrupted that plan with a beautifully-struck free kick. One minute into first-half stoppage time, Barnetta sent a swerving free kick into the bottom left part of the net after Bill Hamid guessed wrong as the ball was initially hit.

The Union came out as the better side in the second half and almost took advantage of the wave of pressure right away, but C.J. Sapong failed to finish from close range in the 50th minute.

Three minutes after Sapong’s missed opportunity, Pontius put the visitors in the lead. The attacking move was created by Ilsinho, who took the ball off Luciano Acosta before he sent a short pass in the direction of Pontius. The goal was the ninth of the season and first against D.C. United for Pontius in a Union shirt.

Andre Blake looked to give the Union a vital road victory at the beginning of second-half stoppage time as he made a double save in the middle of the box, but he was unable to prevent Birnbaum’s equalizer from happening due to the lack of marking on the game-tying goal.

The Union face another tough road test in a week’s time as they visit the New England Revolution , while D.C. United hosts the Portland Timbers.


Tranquillo Barnetta played a key role in the Union attack after his equalizer. The Swiss midfielder handed out six key passes in the 2-2 draw.


Steve Birnbaum’s header handed D.C. a glimmer of hope in the Eastern Conference playoff race. A loss would have kept the Black and Red further beneath the red line. Instead, D.C. now have hope thanks to the hard-fought draw.


Patrick Mullins had a chance to put D.C. ahead by two goals in the 42nd minute, but he mistimed the shot and sent the ball well wide of the net. A few minutes later, the Union struck for an equalizer. After that moment, Mullins did make a positive impact in the final third.

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