D.C. United 4, Real Salt Lake 1 - Player Ratings

Andy Najar was awesome last night, but his performance was eclipsed by someone even awesomer.

The following is a comprehensive list of the only things that would have made last night's victory for D.C. United over Real Salt Lake better:

  • If Andy Najar also scored a hat trick
  • If we kept the clean sheet
  • If the match was played in United's brand new soccer specific stadium on the southeast D.C. waterfront
  • If Branko Boskovic returned to action
  • If Jason Kreis formally announced that he has officially handed the title of Hott Young Coach off to Ben Olsen
  • If Dwayne De Rosario celebrated one of his three goals by diving

That was the most fun a United game has been in years. But it wasn't MLS Cup. It was just another regular season game, and no matter how truly United dominated, those three points were no more valuable than any other points.

We're not done. The celebration ends tonight. The work starts again tomorrow.

The debate about whether or not Dwayne De Rosario turned in the best performance in team history (league history?) is well underway in the Matche Review thread. I don't know, but it would be hard for anyone to top that performance. He just couldn't miss. It was like he must've eaten an extra helping of porridge or something. If De Rosario had just the single assist to Najar, he might have still earned Man Of The Match honors, and a Five rating. But then he went ahead and scored three of the prettiest goals this team has scored all year. And if that's not grounds for us to do something we've never done before on B&RU, I don't know what is.

 

Similarly, I probably would have given Andy Najar a Five for scoring the opening goal. Or at least after seeing his backflip. But then Najar went ahead and placed a perfect cross right on DeRo's forehead for the second goal of the night. This was a masterful performance from the 18-year old, one to further cast aside any doubts that his rookie season was a one-time thing.

An underrated moment in last night's win was the assist from Josh Wolff on DeRo's second goal. I've made this reference often on here, but in soccer as in basketball, it's important to feed the hot hand. DeRo was hot as hot can be last night, and Wolff's spinning assist was akin to a behind-the-back pass. Then all DeRo had to do was be DeRo. Wolff proved in this match that he deserves to be the forward starting next to DeRo, not Davies. Chemistry, you know.

Olsen said in the post-match press conference that Stephen King "had probably the best game I’ve seen him play." To put it a different way, he out-Beckermanned Kyle Beckerman. King was disruptive in defense, and tidy in possession. His work rate, positioning, and intelligent movement was what was missing from Wednesday night's disappointing result, in which Chivas USA came back from two goals down.

Perry Kitchen stood out to me above all other defenders in this match. No one could attempt a run down RSL's left flank without Kitchen immediately being on him. Bill Hamid was also perfect on goal, smothering everything within reach, allowing no rebounds, distributing with care, fist-pumping on camera in celebration of the third goal of the night.

 

Even though the goal was meaningless and very well could have been offside, we can't entirely let Brandon McDonald and Ethan White off the hook for allowing Alvaro Saborio to get behind them and dirty up the otherwise clean sheet. The two strong center backs were excellent in all other ways though, once again dominating every aerial ball sent into Hamid's penalty box.

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