D.C. United opened the scoring in the 19th minute when left back Marco Hurtado stepped forward, beat a man, and slipped a pass to Cody Albrecht at the top of the box. Albrecht made a slashing right-footed dribble between two players to break into the box alone, then finished low past goalkeeper Nick Straight to give United the lead.
The half saw two other golden chances. In the 26th minute, Columbus midfielder Tom Granot made a neat move at the top of the box and let fly with a 25-yard shot that D.C. United goalkeeper Dakota Niedermeier did well to tip over the top. At the other end, D.C. United's Yaw Amankwa tried a daring 35-yard lob that cleared Straight's fingertips but caromed off the crossbar.
In the second half, the insertion of 15-year-old Kainoa Bailey proved crucial for D.C. United. First, however, United had to dodge a bullet when Crew leading scorer Chris Davis fired wide from a tight angle in the 46th minute, then was taken down by center back Mahamamoudou Kaba in the 50th minute. Although Kaba appeared to be the last defender, and he already had a yellow card, the referee only whistled a foul on the play, and the Crew were unable to convert the resulting free ick.
D.C. United pulled away quickly after that. In the 55th minute, the skillful Bailey created room for himself on the left flank and whipped in a cross that Julian Griggs met with a perfect one-time half-volley past a stranded Straight to make it a 2-0 game. Five minutes later, Bailey - by now joined in the game by fellow 15-year-old Romain Gall - let fly from all of 35 yards and hit the top left corner with one of the absolute goals of the tournament.
Davis had one more chance to add to his goal tally but was stopped by Niedermeier, who was outstanding, in the 67th minute. D.C. United held on from there for the 3-0 win and a chance to defend its title on Thursday morning.
Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United
2010 SUM U-17 Cup - Semifinal
July 27, 2010 -- Carl Lewis Track & Field Complex, Houston
DC -- Cody Albrecht 1 (Marco Hurtado 2) 19
DC -- Julian Griggs 2 (Kainoa Bailey 1) 55
DC -- Kainoa Bailey 1 (unassisted) 60
Columbus Crew -- Nick Straight, Mason Hoge, Dominic Aracri, Max Riehemann, Zachary Mason (Ben Crognale 60), Will Trapp, Alex Ranalli (Brett Hanna 60), Anthony Boerio (Rhodes Moore 36), Tom Granot (Quinn Miller 36), Chris Davis, Raymond Olavarria.
D.C. United -- Dakota Niedermeier, Jordan Manley, Nathaniel Eggleston, Mahamamoudou Kaba (Romain Gall 59), Marco Hurtado, Yaw Amankwa (Patrick Foss 53), Ahmed Ismial (Suliman Dainkeh 28), Tyler Rudy, Julian Griggs, Collin Martin (Kainoa Bailey 36), Cody Albrecht.
DC -- Mahamamoudou Kaba (caution) 21
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial