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D.C. United D.C. United Vs. Houston Dynamo: Houston Penalty Cancels Out Pontius Strike

D.C. United won't like the scoreline at halftime, but they'll have no choice but to accept it. The Black-and-Red and Houston Dynamo are level at a goal apiece after 45 minutes at RFK Stadium.

D.C. United took the lead in the 31st minute with a beautiful right-footed strike from 25 yards away by Chris Pontius, who took a pass from Josh Wolff, took two strides, and sent the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of Tally Hall's net. The goal was a fitting capstone to the sustained United pressure that had kept the ball in Houston's half since essentially the opening kick-off. Charlie Davies, making his return to the starting lineup, shot wide of Hall's right post in the 7th minute and put a beautiful centering ball from Wolff wide of Hall's left post in the 16th minute. Pontius could easily have two goals right now, but he sent a free kick just wide of Hall's right post in the 13th minute. Just before halftime, Dax McCarty had a shot cleared off the line by Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie, while Davies had a diving point-blank header deflected over the bar after a great reaction save by Hall.

In what some might call karmic justice for last week's controversial equalizing penalty won by Davies against Real Salt Lake, Houston equalized with the help of a soft penalty won by veteran Brian Ching. The former U.S. international dribbled deep into United's penalty area, where he went down after a very slight touch by United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who had raced off his line to half his progress. Referee Mark Kadlecik awarded the visitors a penalty, which was dispatched low to Hamid's left by Brad Davis in the 41st minute.