It wasn't always pretty - in fact, there were a couple vaguely shambolic moments from the defense - but a win is a win, and a road win is even better. Throw in the fact that it's against an Eastern Conference rival, and I'll drink to that. Never mind that D.C. United is now sitting third in the Eastern Conference.
What They're Saying About It
Shatzer: Ben Olsen's substitutes made a real mark on this game, with Josh Wolff creating chances from the moment he stepped on the field, to Chris Pontius giving us the win shortly thereafter with his patented cut-to-the-right-foot-from-the-left-wing-and-curl-the-ball-around-the-goalie-and-into-the-far-post move. Otherwise known as the Pontius Special. And while I was shaking my head muttering "too many games without Andy Najar" just before Pontius' goal, Olsen's decisions proved effective.
Salazar: "In practice we've been working on it the past week," Pontius said of his move to forward. "I'm comfortable up there, I like it up there. My first instinct is to always go forward and score goals and that is your job as a forward, so it suits me well."
Goff: The triumph was most gratifying for Pontius, a midfielder whose return from a broken leg late last season hadn't gone as well as hoped this spring. He labored as a starter in the first two matches, then relinquished his job to rookie Nick DeLeon. "It's been tough for me coming off the bench," said Pontius, who had appeared as a substitute in the previous three matches. "Ideally, I want to start, but you've got to realize where you're at sometimes with your body."
A surprisingly optimistic Hund: Do we declare the off-season defensive bolstering a success yet? LA abomination aside, United haven't given up more than a goal per game. But more impressive is that they are conceding far fewer good chances and seem generally less susceptible to the complete breakdowns and massive brain-fartery that have haunted them over the past handful of seasons. Defending set pieces, another long-term Achilles heel, also seems better. It's a long haul yet, but the start has been encouraging.
Webb: United now will have a better-than-ever opportunity to finally break their 86-game streak of not winning back-to-back league matches when they host the expansion Montreal Impact at RFK Stadium on Wednesday evening.
What I'm Saying About It
As cliche as it is to say, this is a game we would have found a way to lose last year (or any of the last four years, really). But the defense held (if only just), and the attack kept possession (52-48) while probing for the game-winner. Brandon McDonald and Joe Willis led the defense, Perry Kitchen snuffed out attacks before they started, Nick DeLeon ran and worked and battled, and Chris Pontius put on his finishing boots to claim all three points for the Black-and-Red. The Capitalinos out-battled New England, winning the duels stat 37-34, and fired more shots than the Revs (22-20, 7 on-goal for each).
The team really does seem to be growing into itself. Kitchen played his best game yet as a d-mid for United, constantly making himself available as an outlet for his teammates. Chris Pontius went all "I'm Chris Pontius!" Ben Olsen made all the right substitutions. Dwayne De Rosario showed no signs of giving up or slowing down, even late on. Hamdi Salihi, despite his obvious frustration at not finding the net, kept doing the hard work and helping in possession, while his strike partner Maicon Santos might just be in the best form of his MLS career.
The boys in black will have to keep the momentum going, as we've got a quick turnaround coming up, with Montreal coming to town Wednesday before Thierry Henry and the Metroscum visit for a nationally televised contest Sunday. Should be fun.