WASHINGTON – D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls each had a second-half own goal and finished in a 1-1 draw in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday.
The series opener was switched to Washington because of Superstorm Sandy. The second leg between second-seeded D.C. United and third-seeded New York will be played on Nov. 7 in New Jersey.
Back in the MLS playoffs for the first time since 2007, D.C. United took the lead in the 61st minute on an own goal by second-half substitute Roy Miller as the defender inadvertently cleared a Chris Korb cross in the back of his net.
Four minutes later, the Red Bulls tied it after D.C. United goalie Bill Hamid knocked the ball into his net while trying to save a deflection after a Thierry Henry corner kick.
The Eastern Conference rivals split the regular season meetings 1-1-1.
D.C. United was forced to play the final 19 minutes with just 10 men after defender Andy Najar picked up his second yellow card, resulting in a red card, for throwing the ball at referee Jair Marrufo after committing a foul.
The best chance for D.C. United in the first half came after Red Bulls defender Connor Lade was called for a hand ball in the penalty box. Forward Chris Pontius stepped up to take the penalty kick, but his 33rd-minute attempt was saved by Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles.
Pontius was again denied a goal in the 75th minute by Robles, this time from point-blank range.
D.C. United has not won a home playoff game in regulation in five straight attempts dating back to 2004.
Notes: D.C. United has defeated New York in each of the previous three playoff matchups – 1996, 2004, 2006. … New York defeated D.C. United 3-2 on June 24 in the lone meeting at Red Bull Arena this season.
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