Last season DC United started out slowly, not registering their first win until game 6. This season, having drawn their first game against Sporting Kansas City, and losing heavily to NYC FC in the Bronx, without scoring a single goal, the hope was that they could get off the mark against a Columbus Crew team who were also seeking their first win of the season. At the end of the game, Columbus were the team that went away with the 3 points, while United were left with no goals scored and an apparent hamstring injury to their starting forward Patrick Mullins.
The game started with hope for United as Luciano Acosta was fit to play for the first time since his permanent transfer from Boca Juniors in the off season, but it was Columbus who showed the most hunger.
That said, unlike in the game against Kansas, Nick DeLeon was able to make some space down the right flank, and bomb forwards, as the heavens opened, the rain began to pour down, and the crowd pushed backwards into the covered areas.
Try as they might, even with Acosta’s jinxing between defenders, nothing was getting through to trouble Zack Steffen in the Columbus goal
Then, in the 28th minute, Mullins went down with the aforementioned hamstring pull, and was replaced by José Guillermo Ortiz.
But still, it was Columbus that pushed forward and attacked more.
When United did break, the Columbus defenders were there to intercept and break up the attack.
With Steffen ready to mop up anything that did get through (United only managed 3 shots on goal the entire game)
In the 38th minute Steve Birnbaum fouled Ola Kamara in the box, and Federico Higuain converted from the spot to give Columbus the lead they deserved.
United attempted a response...
..but were unable to find a path to goal.
The half ended with Columbus on the attack once more.
In the second half Ortiz managed a shot on goal, early on, but again, it didn’t make the back of the net.
New signing, Ian Harkes, watched by his father, US men’s national team, and former DC United legend John Harkes, made his home debut, generally impressed.
...as, in flashes, did Acosta.
But Columbus were every bit a match, and more.
In the 66th minute Birnbaum once again fouled Kamara, and this time it was Kamara who stepped up and slotted the ball past Bill Hamid, despite Hamid once again diving the right way.
After that, United continued to be stymied at every turn
Sebastien Le Toux, who’d come on in the 60th minute for his debut, was unable to provide any spark for the team.
Harkes managed to get in a shot...
...but again, Steffen was there to stop it.
As the game drew to a conclusion, Ortiz had a few chances, but nothing that worried Steffen.
...and the match ended with Steffen gathering the ball from the last of United’s 6 corners as Lamar Neagle attempted to at least get the first goal of the season for United.
So United went into the national break with one point from 3 games, and with the unwanted record of being the only team in the league yet to get off the mark with regard to goal scoring.