[U.S. OPEN CUP] Like Tristan Bowen at Los Angeles, D.C. United's Andy Najar, another academy product, is growing in confidence with each game. Four days after he scored his first MLS goal, Najar came off the bench in overtime and scored the winning goal that gave D.C. United a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake and a berth in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Luciano Emilio and Will Johnson exchanged penalty kicks in regulation time to set the stage for Najar, who came into the match after the first 15-minute period of overtime. To score the winner he burst between Tony Beltran and Johnson to prod a shot past keeper Kyle Reynish, who was one of numerous reserves and backups given starting assignments for this match.
The 17-year-old Honduran native also scored in D.C. United's other Open Cup play-in game against FC Dallas in April.
When a shot by left back Jordan Graye rebounded off Reynish, Chris Pontius biked it, and Collen Warner’s handball yielded the penalty kick and a caution. Emilio shot low to put United up, 1-0, in the 75th minute.
Six minutes later, another handball provided RSL a chance to reply. Another sub who often starts league matches, Fabian Espindola, launched a cross that Barry Rice was adjudged to have blocked with his hand. Johnson neatly converted as keeper Troy Perkins lunged to the wrong side.
Real nearly tied the match again after Najar’s goal, but Perkins saved from Johnson, and Rice knocked two balls out of danger from near the goal line as United moved into the round of 16.
The teams play a league match at RFK on Saturday.
Former U.S. U-17 star Luis Gil made his debut for RSL as a sub.
June 2 in Washington, D.C.
D.C. United 2, Real Salt Lake 1 (OT). Goals: Luciano Emilio pen. 75, Najar 107; Johnson pen. 81.
D.C. United – Perkins; Graye, James, Rice, McTavish; Khumalo (Najar, 106), King, Morsink, Castillo (Pontius, 63); Luciano Emilio (Cristman, 90), Moreno (Quaranta, 63).
Real Salt Lake – Reynish; Russell, Borchers, McKenzie, Schuler (Espindola, 63); Beltran, Grabavoy (Morales, 63), Warner, Alexandre (Gil, 91), Johnson; Campos (Saborio, 63)
Referee: Mark Kadlecik.