WASHINGTON — It was a battle of braces, but in the end, D.C. United took the honors, topping the Houston Dynamo 3-2 at RFK Stadium.
United’s Maicon Santos and Houston’s Will Bruin each scored two goals, and D.C. talisman Dwayne De Rosario notched his first goal of the season.
The result gives United back-to-back wins in the league for the first time since June 2009. It also runs their current unbeaten streak to seven games, as they retain second place in the Eastern Conference.
Houston, meanwhile, failed to win for the fourth straight match, as they continued their seven-game season-opening road trip. They have one more away game before they inaugurate BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12.
Just like last week against New York, United got off to a flying start. Maicon Santos scored in the 11th minute. A long ball out of the back from Brandon McDonald found Chris Pontius behind the defense. The attacker touched the ball around on-rushing Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall and found an open Maicon Santos with his cross. The Brazilian made no mistake with the header.
United maintained the pressure in the half, but were unable to add to their lead. Instead, coach Ben Olsen found himself forced to revamp his lineup after a hamstring injury forced center back Emiliano Dudar off. Olsen brought on Marcelo Saragosa and moved to Perry Kitchen to Dudar’s position.
Those shifts became important just after halftime, as Bruin equalized in the 50th minute. Jermaine Taylor took advantage of a slip by former Dynamo midfielder Danny Cruz, and placed a pinpoint cross in the box, which the unmarked Bruin volleyed in from six yards out.
The level score didn’t stand for long, though. Ex-Houston standout De Rosario put United back ahead in the 54th minute. The Canadian international whipped a ball in from the left side that slithered past everyone, including Hall, who was positioned to make a potential save on a header. Instead, the ball curled in off the far post.
OPTA Chalkboard: How D.C. beat Houston
Just five minutes later, Bruin made the Dudar-less backline pay again. He pounced on a loose ball outside the United box and fired a dipping shot on frame. Goalkeeper Joe Willis, who has been rock steady during United’s unbeaten run, let the ball slip under him, and the Dynamo were level again. It was Bruin’s 5th goal all-time against D.C.
But Maicon Santos was not to be outdone by Bruin. In the 70th minute, he rose highest to meet a Daniel Woolard cross. Hall could only manage to get half a hand on the ball as it flew into the goal, giving United the three points on the night.
United (4-2-3) have a short turnaround before traveling cross country to take on Western Conference leaders San Jose on Wednesday night.
Houston (2-2-2) continue their road show on May 9 against New York.
Houston Dynamo (2-2-2) vs. D.C. United (4-2-3)
April 28, 2012 – RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. - Attendance: 13,975
D.C. – Maicon Santos 5 (Chris Pontius, Brandon McDonald) 11
HOU – Will Bruin 3 (Jermaine Taylor) 50
D.C. – Dwayne De Rosario 1 (Daniel Woolard) 54
HOU – Will Bruin 4 (Corey Ashe) 59
D.C. – Maicon Santos 6 (Daniel Woolard) 70
Houston Dynamo – Tally Hall; Andre Hainault (Brad Davis 72), Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Taylor; Je-Vaughn Watson (Calen Carr 59), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Corey Ashe (Kofi Sarkodie 82); Brian Ching, Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Macoumba Kandji, Cam Weaver
D.C. United – Joe Willis; Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar (Marcelo Saragosa 45), Daniel Woolard; Danny Cruz (Andy Najar 65), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon, Dwayne De Rosario; Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 83)
Substitutes not used: Hamdi Salihi, Chris Korb, Branko Boskovic, Bill Hamid
Misconduct Summary D.C. – Danny Cruz (caution) 32; Dwayne De Rosario (caution) 63 HOU – Corey Ashe (caution) 64; Calen Carr (93)
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Craig Lowry
Fourth official: Edvin Jurisevic