Chris Pontius saw the field today for the first time since September
D.C. United continued to show improvement in the 2012 preseason with a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake earlier today in Arizona, thus completing the second leg of the training camp. The team will return to D.C. later this week before wrapping up the preseason in Charleston at the Carolina Challenge Cup starting next weekend.
Supplemental draft pick Lance Rozeboom scored the lone goal for United in the second half, and he didn't even need any help to do it. The rookie won the ball on his own in the midfield and placed a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Rozeboom's goal knotted the score at 1-1. United had to play from behind once again after RSL pulled ahead in the 33rd minute from a familiar spot. For the second game in a row, United's opponent scored off a free kick, and for the third game in a row, our first team gave up a goal in the first half. Ned Grabavoy's free kick found the head of Jamison Olave at the corner of the six yard box and the big back easily put it into the goal behind Joe Willis.
United's 0-1-3 preseason record isn't concerning. It's freakin' preseason. But our starters haven't scored a single time yet, while giving up three first half goals to our opponents' starters. That might be just a slight bit concerning.
Today, United used the following starting lineup.
The diamond 4-4-2 lineup used by United in this match was quite a change from what we saw against Sporting Kansas City. That match featured Perry Kitchen and Marcelo Saragosa together in the bottom of a bucket midfield. This one had Stephen King further up the field, in a role that I reckon we'd normally see occupied by Branko Boskovic when the Montenegran is match fit. Neither was very effective on the scoreboard.
Judging from the @realsaltlake and @DCUmatchday Twitter feeds, the teams had a fairly even number of chances in the first, but only one team capitalized. Andy Najar and Danny Cruz were each consistent threats on the wings, and United actually had a goal from Maicon Santos disallowed for offside, followed by King striking the post late in the half. So it wasn't all bad.
The second half saw United earning more quality scoring chances than their opponents. Here's the lineup that was on the field.
Rozeboom's goal was far from the only serious opportunity for D.C. The Brazilian teenager Alfredo Martins was active in creating chances for himself, while fellow trialist Ryan Richter had a few shots as well. It was also nice to see Chris Korb getting a run on the left, further proving that Ben Olsen knows what he's doing with this roster (and that he reads B&RU).
The best news of the day though was the appearance of two new names in the lineup. Two names that we hadn't seen yet this preseason. Chris Pontius and Ethan White each managed 30 minutes of playing time after returning from injury, increasing the possibility that each will be ready to play on Mar. 10.