"Did I mention? I'm Chris Pontius!!" "You may have said something about that!"
I'm fairly well convinced that that is the most fun a person can have legally in the rain.
A hat trick from the Party Boy, more of Maicon F. Santos, Nick DeLeon continuing to steal headlines with his outrageous, fantastic hair. Oh yeah, and we threw the Metros down the well. So all is well in United-land.
What They're Saying About It
Shatzer: United out-worked the Red Bulls. They were clinical and decisive when going at goal, full of hustle and precision. On more than one occasion, a United player single-handedly created a goal while being defended by three New York players, once from Maicon Santos, and once from Pontius himself. Nick DeLeon added another goal off a deflection and the 4-1 rout was on.
Salazar: On a night where D.C. United's attack exploded in a 4-1 victory over the visiting New York Red Bulls, it was the Black-and-Red's defense that had the most thorough impact on Sunday night's Atlantic Cup clash at RFK. Operating against a Red Bull offense that had scored fifteen times in its previous four matches, D.C.'s back line was simply dominant. New York managed just four shots on goal, and three of those efforts came with United comfortably ahead in the second half.
Goff: In each of his three recent appearances, Pontius has served on the front line - a departure from his usual place on the left wing. "He still doesn't know how to play forward - that's the scary thing," Olsen said. "He's still new at the position, and some of the movements can get a lot better, but three goals isn't too bad."
Stouffer: But D.C. was dominant on the ball from the outset. Cornrow-haired Nick DeLeon was all over the left wing, Dwayne De Rosario and Perry Kitchen were everywhere in the midfield, and Emiliano Dudar was unmistakable in his return to the defense, which was competent throughout. That makes for a pretty effective strategy for keeping the ball away from Henry, who still eventually got his goal, and Cooper, who wasn't sharp. Daniel Woolard's containment of Dane Richards on the wing was also effective while long range efforts straight at Joe Willis aren't high percentage shots. There simply weren't a lot of nervy moments in the box at that end of the field.
Davis: Chris Pontius just keeps looking better and better, recovering ever more of the touch and confidence after returning from last year's tibia break. Sunday's hat trick for the United forward comes as a deserving reward.
Hund: Four goals is nice, but more impressive for me is the defensive performance. Henry and Cooper came into this game averaging more than a goal a game - each! They got very few good looks tonight, and most of those from distance. True, Henry managed to pad his goal tally, but he did so from a set piece when the match was all but won. The difference between having Russell on the back stick rather than Korb was telling when the crosses came flying in (28 according to mlssoccer.com's stats, vs. just 12 for United), but the effect of the return of Dudar can't be ignored either. Metrobull crosses and long balls turned into lost causes, his range of distribution was excellent, and he made a number of nice reads on the deck, stepping up to cut out potentially dangerous passes.
Webb: After the break, Red Bull made two substitutions straight away and started to apply desperate pressure on United. United's defense lead by the return of Argentine defender Emiliano Dudar was up to the challenge and thwarted all attempts to bring Red Bull back into the match. Goalkeeper Joe Willis made back-to-back saves on long range efforts from Henry and Kenny Cooper to keep the Black-and-Red in total control.
What I'm Saying About It
After the New England game, I characterized CP13's game-winning Pontius Special as him going all "I'm Chris Pontius!" That leaves me somewhat short of ways to describe this performance, wherein he stripped Thierry Henry to score his first, slammed home a poacher's goal for the second, and ran through the Metro defense like so many traffic cones for his third. Plus his work when United were out of possession. Just a ridiculously good performance from the Pretty Pretty Princess last night - we may even see Martin bust out the six rating for this one.
I asked it on Filibuster last week, and his performance bears repeating here: How important is Emiliano Dudar to D.C. United? Without him on Wednesday - and granted, with a bit of a makeshift back line - United allowed the expansion Montreal Impact to lash 12 shots, while his return to the lineup saw MLS' highest-scoring team shoot only 11 times. Wednesday night, we saw a bad offense nevertheless send wave after wave of attack at the Black-and-Red, while on Sunday, the defense never looked particularly harried, even against the likes of Henry, Cooper and Richards (Ballouchy deliberately omitted). Due respect for another fantastic performance from obvious rookie of the year shoo-in Nick DeLeon, but I stand by my contention that Dudar has been the team's MVP so far. We're going to have to start talking about him in the Newcomer of the Year, MLS Best XI and Defender of the Year conversations if he keeps this form going.
You can't ask for much more than an absolute throttling of your biggest rival, allowing you to overtake them in the standings, on national television. I guess it could have been not in the rain, but as my raincoat continues to dry this morning, I'm not complaining. That was awesome.