Own goal sinks D.C. United against woeful Toronto

D.C. United defender Daniel Woolard knocked the ball into his own net in the 41st minute, giving Toronto FC its first victory since March 9 with a 2-1 win Saturday night.

Robert Earnshaw scored on a header in the 30th minute after United went ahead 1-0. Then Woolard inadvertently headed the ball into the back of his own net to give Toronto the go-ahead goal.

Toronto (2-7-5) snapped an 11-match winless streak (0-6-5) with its best offensive performance of the season on the road. The club had scored just three times in six previous games away from BMO Field.

“It takes a lot of character to come away from home against a team that’s in a spot very similar to us,” first-year Toronto coach Ryan Nelsen said. The performances have been there for weeks instead we just haven’t seen games out. This was probably not our best performance but we got three points.”

Coming into the game, Toronto had squandered its share of solid performance, having given up five goals after the 89th minute.

Although Toronto had just one win in seven previous trips to RFK Stadium, Nelsen is no stranger to the nation’s capital. He played for United from 2001-05 and captained the club to its fourth and most recent MLS Cup win in 2004.

“It’s fantastic to win,” Nelsen said about his second career coaching win. “It’s fantastic to come back and just to see the stadium, see old friends, the fans. I’ve just got so many pleasant memories at D.C. United. It’s such a great club.”

Dwayne De Rosario had given United (1-11-3) just its second lead of the season in the 19th minute with a goal on a penalty kick.

Steven Caldwell found Earnshaw with a long diagonal pass from just inside Toronto’s side of midfield to get things going for Toronto. Earnshaw won the header past Brandon McDonald and his shot went past United goalie Bill Hamid before going in off the left goal post.

Luis Silva sent in a cross from another free kick 11 minutes later only to connect with Woolard, whose header wrong-footed Hamid to give Toronto the lead.

“I just put the ball in a good spot and we got a deflection and it was an own goal,” Silva said. “We watched video of D.C. and we saw that they struggled at set pieces and I just had to put the ball into a good spot.”

In the 17th minute, Toronto defender Gale Agbossoumonde brought down Nick DeLeon just inside the 18-yard box after a 60- yard run down the left side of the field.

De Rosario’s second goal of the season snapped a 314-minute scoreless drought over five games for United. D.C. had not scored since a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on May 19.

De Rosario’s goal was the 102nd of his MLS career and moved him past Taylor Twellman into sixth place on the all-time list.

After making last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, United (1-11-3) extended its club-record winless streak to 13 games (0-10-3) and remains in last place in the league standings.

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