WASHINGTON, D.C. – When Minnesota United acquired Colombian striker Angelo Rodriguez in July as its second designated player ever, it labeled him a difference-maker and a goal-scorer.
On Wednesday night in Washington, Rodriguez scored his first goal for the Loons, but it didn’t make a difference as D.C. roared back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat United 2-1.
After a scoreless first half, Rodriguez provided a breakthrough in the 47th minute. Making his fifth appearance for the team since the summer signing, he took on Kofi Opare on the left side of the box and had his first shot blocked. He collected the deflection and calmly slotted the ball home with his right foot.
“I was a bit discouraged for not having scored, but I knew the goal was coming,” Rodriguez said through a translator after the game. “But it doesn’t matter if your team doesn’t get the three points.”
Rodriguez’s goal provided a highlight, but D.C. had an answer, tying the score in the 65th minute on Ulises Segura’s ball through traffic and then taking a lead 4 minutes later on a tap-in by Darron Mattocks.
“The disappointment was that the goals were soft from our point of view,” manager Adrian Heath said. “We concede too many of them, and we’re not nasty enough at times.”
It’s a third straight loss and sixth consecutive game conceding two or more goals for the Loons, who arrived in D.C. after a long break with an unfamiliar starting lineup.
The Loons (9-16-2) hadn’t played a match since Aug. 25 and were missing some key starters. Center backs Francisco Calvo and Michael Boxall were suspended, and Rasmus Schuller and Romario Ibarra hadn’t returned from international duty. New addition Fernando Bob, a defensive midfielder signed from Brazilian side Ponte Preta, made his MLS debut. He was joined in the starting lineup by Maximiano and Wyatt Omsberg.
“We were a little tired at first,” defender Brent Kallman said. “Not playing a game in a while, it was a little bit of a shock. But the guys that came in did pretty well. The plan worked and we had a really good shape most of the game.”
One of the biggest additions to the lineup was captain Darwin Quintero, back from missing two games because of a calf injury. He looked dangerous in central midfield all night and nearly opened the scoring with a curling shot in the 32nd minute.
“He’s massive for us, because he can change the game at any minute,” Kallman said. “We’re really glad to have him back. Hopefully he’s feeling good after this one and we can have him back on Saturday.”
After taking a lead, D.C. kept United playing defense instead of pushing for an equalizer. D.C. finished with 61 percent of possession.
“We say it over and over again, but you can’t afford to give away goals like that if you want to win, especially on the road,” Kallman said.