WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A game was seemingly finally going D.C. United's way. They were dominating throughout, and even had a goal to show for their solid play. To top it off, they went into halftime with the lead, a position they had not lost from this season the three times it had happened.
But, out of nowhere, all was lost for United. Two quick goals midway through the second half for Houston doomed United to their 18th loss of the season. Geoff Cameron's header in the 70th minute complimented an own goal from Devon McTavish minutes earlier, before substitute Dominic Oduro sealed the victory with a goal in stoppage time.
The game between the two worst teams in the league turned out to be a lively contest, as neither side seemed afraid of going for the match, presumably due to both being out of the playoff race. In the first half, United went ahead with Andy Najar's fifth goal of the season, which tied the club record for rookies. Unfazed however, Houston bounced back in the second half to score thrice in picking up their second win away from home this season.
"There was a lot of fortune in the first goal," Houston manager Dominic Kinnear told Goal.com after the match. "But it gave us a bit of confidence, and the momentum swayed from one way to another."
After suffering a disappointing loss on Wednesday night in Kansas City, in which Houston led at one point 3-1, Kinnear was happy with the way in which his team was able to fight back from the deficit in the second half of the game, and gave the players all the credit for winning the match.
"It all comes from them [the players]," Kinnear said to Goal.com. "They are the ones that win the games, and we just give directions from the sidelines."
In addition to the action on the field, there was also an incident on the sideline between Kinnear and United manager Ben Olsen, which each manager explained away at the end of the game as a misunderstanding of the fourth official.
"The fourth official overreacted," Kinnear said after the match. "We were shaking hands because there was a little thing about fouls. And we were like 'hey, no problem.' So I went to shake his [Olsen's] hand, and the fourth official overreacted."
Olsen added in his post game press conference that, "He [Kinnear] came over towards me to shake hands, so I got thrown out. That's what happens when you shake hands with people."
D.C. United was thrown out of a winning position just as suddenly.
"Out of nowhere," stated team captain Santino Quaranta after the match when he was asked when the game changed in Houston's favor. "We gave up a goal, and that's when it changed."
Olsen agreed with his captain's assessment of the game itself.
"Disappointing, huh?" Olsen stated in the post game press conference. "That sums it up."
In a season of despair as a team, there continues to be a bright spot for United in the form of Najar. The 17-year-old scored his fifth goal of the season in league play tonight, giving United the lead midway through the first half. His play did not escape the eye of Olsen, who was full of praise for the youngster after the game.
When asked to compare Najar to some of the other youngsters to come through United, such as Bobby Convey, Santino Quaranta, and Freddy Adu, Olsen simply said, "[He's] number one."
Olsen went on that add that, "A kid like Andy could step into a World Cup venue and play the way he plays. He just doesn't care where he is at, he just loves to play the game, and he plays in the proper way. Not just the goals, but all the other little stuff. The way he tackles, the way he runs up and down the field, is wonderful to watch. He's been a huge bright spot this year."
At the end of the day for United though, it was another case of points lost, in a season that has long since been lost itself.
"It was a 'here we go again' thing. Guys putting their heads down, and we didn't bounce back," Quaranta told reporters after the match. "Same story all year. I don't know what else to say."
Follow Steven Streff as he chronicles D.C. United's fall from grace in MLS on Twitter @streffsoccer
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