D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls drew 1-1 in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Own goals from Roy Miller and Bill Hamid provided the goalmouth action, and Andy Najar was ejected midway through the second half.
Initially, United was scheduled to host the second leg. However, complications from Hurricane Sandy meant that the clubs switched time slots.
D.C. looked far more comfortable at home in front of a sold-out RFK Stadium and dominated the early proceedings. A flutter of chances finally came to something half an hour into the match. Branko Boskovic brought down a long ball deftly and flicked the ball forward. It hit Conor Lade's arm, and the referee whistled for a penalty.
Chris Pontius scored 12 goals during the season, but he hit his penalty poorly and Luis Robles saved. Pontius had scored all three of his MLS PKs prior.
At halftime, New York substituted Rafael Marquez out due to calf tightness. Roy Miller replaced him. The switch hurt New York fairly swiftly. On the hour mark, off a Chris Korb cross, Miller got in front of Nick DeLeon and put the ball into his own net.
Minutes later, the Red Bulls equalized. Lade headed a corner back toward goal at the far post. With a high arc, the ball looked a simple catch for Bill Hamid. Instead, the goalkeeper tripped as he came down and bundled the ball over his line.
Neither D.C. or New York had scored an own goal during the regular season.
The drama continued at a quick pace. In the 70th minute, Andy Najar snuffed out a Red Bull counterattack illegally. As Jair Marrufo showed the 19-year-old a yellow card, Najar threw the ball at the referee. Marrufo ejected Najar.
Red Bull Arena, now with restored power, will host the second leg on Wednesday.
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