Own Goals Send Red Bulls-United Showdown to 1-1 Draw
The New York Red Bulls and D.C. United surrendered an own goal apiece, ending the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal in a 1-1 draw in Saturday's first playoff match at RFK Stadium in five years.
The series shifts to the Red Bull Arena Wednesday with both teams needing a victory to advance.
New York defender Roy Miller allowed an own goal in the 61st minute after swatting Perry Kitchen's kick directly into the top corner of the goal to give United a 1-0 lead.
However, the game was tied after four minutes when DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid fell into his own net holding the ball after blocking a header by Heath Pearce. The goalkeeper argued that he was fouled on the play, but the equalizer stood.
Things also got interesting when Andy Najar, United's youngest player, lost his cool in the 71st minute and threw the ball at referee Jair Marrufo, who immediately issued a second yellow card.
Najar was whistled and cautioned for a foul on Joel Lindpere. Unhappy with the call, Najar then tossed the ball right at Marrufo.
However, the Red Bulls failed to capitalize against a 10-man United side, which remains unbeaten in 17 straight home matches.
United almost took the lead when Chris Pontius snuck inside the six-yard box and struck a shot directly into the chest of goalkeeper Luis Robles in the 75th minute.
Earlier, it was confirmed that power was restored at Red Bull Arena, ensuring that the second leg will take place as scheduled.
As the No. 3 seed in the East, the Red Bulls were initially set to host No. 2 D.C. United but the league decided to exchange venues for the two legs due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy which left RBA without power for nearly all of last week.
"Red Bull Arena has regained full power and clean-up efforts in and around the facility are already underway," the Red Bulls said in a statement. "The maintenance crew and stadium staff have been very resourceful and ingenuous in assuring that the stadium operations will be completely on-line for that one special evening on Wednesday."
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