Even without Messi, the announced sell-out crowd of 19,215 entertained, if not satisfied. Both sides scored a total of four goals in the 18th minute of the second half, with United needing two comebacks against the league’s second-worst side.
Two teenagers scored for Miami in the 59th and 68th minutes, but the goals were scored by Taxi Fountas in the 65th minute and Nigel Roberta in the 77th minute. The final goal was scored and assisted by a substitute who made his first touch (Ruan).
“To be honest, I feel like I lost because I think I could have won.” [gotten] Three points,” said captain Christian Benteke.
After missing chances in the first half and losing defensive grip in the second half, United fought back twice to take a point from a heated game.
“It’s a shame because we felt we were the better team,” manager Wayne Rooney said. “We created better chances. But I think that will be an important point for us at the end of the season, so I’m happy that we didn’t get discouraged and kept pushing forward and got something out of the game. “
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United (8-9-6) have failed to strengthen their postseason prospects against a Miami side (5-13-3) who have not won 10 straight games (0-7-3). Visitors can’t wait to see Messi and, more importantly, former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, as well as former Barcelona and Argentina coach Gerardo Martino.
Martino, who won the MLS title with Atlanta in 2018, was watching Saturday’s game from his suite and will take over next Saturday’s game against St. Louis. Caretaker manager Javier Morales started with three teenagers and a 20-year-old, with an injured 18-year-old in the first half.
United had some chances in the first half. Benteke, the leading scorer, and Fountas, the hero of the midweek victory over FC Dallas, were the main culprits.
“The game plan worked exactly as we wanted it to,” Rooney said. “We were behind them and created chances, but I think we were careless in the final third. …We have to take them.”
United paid the price early in the second half. In the 59th minute, Robert Taylor slid the ball down the left side of the box for 18-year-old Benjamin Kremaschi for a brilliant 17 yards on the far side.
United responded six minutes later. A long ball from Luis O’Brien was delivered to Yamir Assad before Cristian Dajomé scored on the backheel. He matched it to Fountas, who pulled the ball out of a defender and scored the sixth with an 18-yard shot to the right.
Miami attacked again in the 68th minute, when 19-year-old Noah Allen drove an angled free-kick into the box. Three players failed to make contact and goalkeeper Tyler Miller froze for a moment. The ball slid into the far corner for Allen’s first goal of his career.
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United equalized once again after another Miami goal was ruled out for offside. Ruan and Roberta just came in, the former crossing and the latter charging into the top of the 6-yard box for a running finish. The Dutch forward scored his first goal of the year after returning from a three-month injury absence on Tuesday.
In the 88th minute, Drake Callender saved a Benteke shot with great reflexes and Benteke threatened twice in stoppage time.
“We are all frustrated that we weren’t able to finish the game with a win,” said midfielder Russell Canuse. “I felt a sense of loss in that sense. I’m proud of the efforts of the players to get back into the game and we had every chance to win the game.”
Here’s what else you should know about United’s draw.
A one-game suspension was issued after a D.C. player exceeded the league’s yellow card standards for the season in three straight games. Defender Donovan Pines received a caution in the 90th minute.
Defender Victor Parsson returned to the lineup after missing three games due to family reasons.
Defender Stephen Birnbaum did not play despite his health.
“It’s a decision purely based on the game and how I felt tonight,” Rooney said.
United have sent scouts to South American countries such as Brazil and Uruguay, as well as the Concacaf Gold Cup, to look for potential signings during the transfer window, which runs until 2 August.
The club don’t have a lot of money to spend but are looking for depth in a left wingback and central midfielder to fill O’Brien’s roster slot. O’Brien’s loan from Premier League club Nottingham Forest expires on 16 July. Despite weeks of negotiations, United have failed to extend the deal.
A source familiar with the team’s plans said ideally United would replace the hard-working O’Brien with a more attacking midfielder.
Next Saturday, United will visit New England (10-4-7) before taking a five-week break from their regular-season schedule to compete in the League’s Cup, which includes all MLS and Liga MX clubs.