[MLS SPOTLIGHT] New England pumped some air on the embers of its playoff hopes by beating D.C. United, 1-0, Wednesday at RFK Stadium on a goal by rookie Stephen McCarthy.
On a free kick served into the penalty area by Chris Tierney in the 73rd minute, McCarthy glanced a header past keeper Bill Hamid to reward a fine night of play by keeper Matt Reis, who stymied United several times with excellent saves. A squandered penalty kick also helped the Revs end a nine-game winless streak.
Reis thwarted Charlie Davies and Dwayne De Rosario in the early minutes before centerback Ryan Cochrane, who had returned to the squad after sitting out a suspension last weekend, needed to be replaced midway through the first half. Darrius Barnes took his spot.
A handball foul called on Pat Phelan provided D.C. with a penalty kick just before halftime. Davies could have tied for the league lead in goals with nine had he converted but he skied his kick over the crossbar.
De Rosario shot just past the post in the 70th minute and a few minutes later McCarthy’s second goal of the season provided a 1-0 lead that Reis preserved in the 81st minute with a leg save on De Rosario from close range. The latter chance was set up by Fred, who is leaving MLS this week to join Australian club Melbourne Heart.
Brandon McDonald, acquired in a trade with San Jose in late June, played the full 90 minutes at centerback for United, which brought on another recent acquisition – midfielder Austin da Luz – in the 71st minute.
Despite the win, New England (4-9-7) sits seventh in the Eastern Conference, four points behind D.C. United (5-6-8) and in 15th place overall among the 18 league teams.