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New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United: United lose advantage as Bill Hamid own goal evens tie

United went up 1-0 before a Bill Hamid own goal and an Andy Najar red card changed the course of the match, and possibly the Eastern Conference semifinal tie.

Patrick McDermott

D.C. United threw away a 1-0 lead in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal Saturday night at RFK Stadium, as a Bill Hamid own goal and an Andy Najar red card gave the New York Red Bulls a slight edge heading into Wednesday's second leg in Harrison, N.J.

United took the 1-0 lead their early play deserved in the 61st minute when Chris Korb's dangerous ball into the penalty area was turned into New York's net by Roy Miller.

But United's advantage was lost just four minutes later when a New York corner was headed back toward Bill Hamid's goal. The United goalkeeper went to claim the ball, but he couldn't keep a hold on it, somehow managing to fumble the ball over the goal line to even the tie.

Things went from bad to worse in the 71st minute, as Andy Najar was sent off for throwing the ball in frustration at referee Jair Marrufo as the Honduran international was about to be carded for a foul on Joel Lindpere. The ejection means that Najar will miss Wednesday's second leg, leaving United without their best wing player for the biggest match of the season.

Wednesday's second leg at Red Bull Arena is set to kick off shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday night and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.