In the 61st minute, the crowd finally found reason to celebrate. Moments after Hamid’s save on Joel Lindpere at the other end, United took the lead when Miller redirected Chris Korb’s cross into his own net.
But the euphoria was short-lived. Four minutes later, Red Bulls defender Heath Pearce lobbed a header toward the D.C. goalmouth. As Hamid rose to collect, he collided with New York’s Markus Holgersson, fell to the turf, and allowed the ball to cross the goal line by a hair.
“He decided to bump me right before my jump,” Hamid said of Holgersson. “I guess that’s not a foul. I thought it was going to be a call. I thought it was going to be a clear call.”
While Pontius and Lionard Pajoy had chances to give 10-man United an unlikely winner after Najar’s red card, D.C. was resigned to its fate. If United are going to advance, they’ll need to do so with a triumph away from the comforts of home.
“The guys battled down a man,” Olsen said. “I’m proud of the group. I really am. We could have lost that one in the end, but we dug in and we held on to the tie. Ultimately, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t win, though, because I think we played well enough to get the result.”
NOTE: MLS commissioner Don Garber told reporters pregame that the second leg at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., has been confirmed as a go for Wednesday.