Washington, D.C. – D.C. United bounced back from a disappointing outing on Sunday to cruise to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium on Wednesday.
United was held to a 1-1 home draw with the Philadelphia Union last time out, a draw that saw three red cards, a missed penalty kick from Dwayne De Rosario and an on-field scuffle between teammates Chris Korb and Brandon McDonald in the waning moments.
But judging by Wednesday's performance, it is safe to say that the demons from Sunday's draw have been exorcised as De Rosario notched a goal and an assist and Korb connected with McDonald for what turned out to be the game-winner.
De Rosario opened the scoring in the 19th minute before Daniel Paladini and Lionard Pajoy exchanged goals just before halftime.
McDonald scored quickly after the restart to put D.C. in the driver's seat, while Gonzalo Segares kept Chicago in the match with a goal in the 75th minute.
It proved to be nothing but a consolation goal as Long Tan wrapped up the scoring in the dying minutes with his first goal of the season.
The result sees D.C. (12-8-4) tighten the gap in the Eastern Conference table, improving to 40 points on the season to move to within five points of first place. Chicago (12-8-5) sees its three-game winning run come to a halt.
The home side was in firm control of the match and eventually grabbed the lead in the 19th minute when Chris Pontius' angled ball to the back post was not dealt with by Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. De Rosario was arriving to capitalize on the gaffe, easily slotting the ball into the back of the net.
United looked to be heading into the halftime on the back of the Canadian's strike, but Chicago pulled one back in the 44th minute when Paladini capped a fine passage of play around the box by slipping a shot past Bill Hamid.
D.C. still went into halftime with a one-goal lead though, answering quickly through its newest player. Andy Najar's deep cross moments later was met by Pajoy, whose powerful header eluded Johnson and restored United's lead.
Ben Olsen's side didn't skip a beat after the restart, bagging a goal in the 51st minute to extend the lead.
Korb collected a corner-kick clearance and delivered an inch-perfect cross to the back post where McDonald was waiting to send a looping header over Johnson and into the back of the net.
Chicago refused to go away, cutting the deficit to one goal 15 minutes from time when Pavel Pardo's set-piece delivery was headed past Hamid by Segares.
But that goal was all for naught as Tan capped United's night by slotting De Rosario's pass just inside the far post. Johnson got a hand to the shot and should have done better, but it was a goal that summed up a poor night at the office for the Chicago 'keeper.