Captain Bobby Boswell popped up with a 92nd-minute equaliser as Ben Olsen's DC United side claimed a 2-2 draw at Chicago Fire to edge into the top six of the MLS Eastern Conference.
The capital club's play-off hopes looked set to suffer a dent until Boswell headed home in stoppage time at the end of a goalmouth scramble, the defender netting his first league goal of the season.
United earlier took the lead in unusual circumstances after 19 minutes. The Fire were penalised for an intentional backpass to goalkeeper Sean Johnson, giving the visitors a free-kick six yards out. Luciano Acosta rolled the ball to Rob Vincent, who placed his shot over the heads of the Chicago defenders massed on the line.
However, the hosts swiftly drew level courtesy of Razvan Cocis' near-post header from a corner.
And the Fire led by the half-hour as David Accam escaped the attention of his marker on the edge of the penalty area and drilled low into Bill Hamid's bottom right-hand corner.
Johnson denied Lamar Neagle with 10 minutes remaining as United went in search of a leveler that duly arrived late on courtesy of Boswell.
The skipper found himself in the right place at the right time to nod home after an acrobatic save from Johnson fell invitingly for him.