DC United has had lopsided victories before. 4-0 against the Vancouver Whitecaps at home earlier this season was a rather impressive offensive display.
This wasn't the Whitecaps.
United sent a clear message to the league tonight with a 4-1 victory over one of the best defensive teams in the league. Real Salt Lake were just one goal behind the Los Angeles Galaxy for fewest Goals Allowed in MLS this year. Well, they were this morning at least. They're not anymore.
All the talk will of course be about the Dwayne De Rosario hat trick, but there was so much more going on tonight. The attack was clicking. We haven't seen that kind of clicking since, what, 2007? The assists from Andy Najar and Josh Wolff were both brilliant. Everyone was on the same page.
How could things have changed so rapidly? This was a different team from the team we saw on Wednesday. That team looked like it would fall disappointingly one point short of the playoffs. This team suddenly has me checking the standings to see that D.C. is just four points out of first place in the Eastern Conference with at least one game in hand over everyone in front of them. If United plays like this every week, that's absolutely a realistic goal.
But will they? Can they? That's the question that will define the remainder of this up and down but always entertaining season. The remaining schedule isn't easy, but its conquerable for a team with our talent playing at its peak. It starts Thursday night when United pays a visit to the Philadelphia Union. This game wasn't televised locally, but that one will be televised for the entire country to see.
Tonight's game wasn't just about elevating United in the standings though. It was about winning decisively at home - showing the faithful fans at RFK Stadium that they will be rewarded for their undying support. The atmosphere at RFK tonight was the liveliest its been since the home opener, since Wolffy removed his shirt and jumped into the stands, since Charlie Davies scored his first two MLS goals and announced to the world that he was back. Well United is back. And this team has officially come full circle. Now its time for United to prove that the potential they showed that night six months ago will not be wasted. That potential will guide them to the playoffs. Maybe farther.
Full recap here. Player ratings tomorrow.