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MLS: DC United 1 New York 1

DC United and the New York Red Bulls played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their MLS Eastern Conference semi-final on Saturday.

Own goals from Roy Miller and Bill Hamid provided the goalmouth action as United’s Honduran winger Andy Najar was sent off midway through the second half.

Initially, United were scheduled to host the second leg but complications from Hurricane Sandy meant they welcomed the Red Bulls to a sold-out Robert F Kennedy Memorial Stadium for the first leg.

DC looked comfortable at home and dominated the early proceedings. A flutter of half-chances to the hosts resulted in a penalty half an hour into the match.

Branko Boskovic controlled a long ball deftly and flicked it forward where it hit Connor Lade’s arm, with referee Jair Marrufo pointing to the spot.

But Chris Pontius, who scored 12 goals during the regular season, hit his penalty poorly and goalkeeper Luis Robles saved.

At half-time, New York substituted former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez due to calf tightness. Roy Miller replaced him and the switch hurt the Red Bulls. On the hour mark, off a Chris Korb cross, Miller got in front of Nick DeLeon and put the ball into his own net.

Five minutes later, the Red Bulls equalised courtesy of another own goal. Lade headed a corner toward goal at the far post. With a high arc, the ball looked a simple catch for Hamid but the goalkeeper tripped as he came down and bundled the ball over his line.

The drama continued at a quick pace with a moment of madness from Najar in the 70th minute.

He snuffed out a Red Bull counterattack illegally and Marrufo showed him a yellow card, but the 19-year-old threw the ball at the referee, leaving Marrufo with no alternative than to issue a second yellow.

Red Bull Arena, now with restored power, will host the second leg on Wednesday.

Sun 4 November, 2012
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