In his Reax feature on Monday, AMT proposed that I might break out the Six rating for Chris Pontius after his hat trick against the New York Red Bulls. Sorry, but even unanimously winning the MLS Player Of The Week award isn't necessarily enough to garner a Six. That rating was created specifically to reward Dwayne De Rosario for the greatest single-game performance that I've seen from any D.C. United player in the five seasons
Its quite a shame that Maicon Santos finished this game without an assist. He worked hard enough to earn one. Or more. Watch the highlights and you'll see him involved in three of the four goals that United scored on Sunday. He literally fought off three Red Bulls players to create the second goal of the match, helped create the turnover that led to Nick DeLeon's goal, and provided his normally unreal work ethic up top to free Pontius' run for the fourth. DeLeon also put in the requisite work to win the game, and managed to escape with a goal to show for it.
This blog hasn't given enough credit to the back line for this game so far though. Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper entered the match tied atop the MLS Golden Boot race, and they were the only reason that most analysts didn't see United running away with the match like it did. But with Emiliano Dudar back in the lineup, improving the team as always, United were the first to hold the Red Bulls to just a single goal in over a month. Dudar's positive influence on Brandon McDonald and Robbie Russell was clearly evident, as the group was able to ensure that Henry and Cooper couldn't get a clean shot off in the box.
I've read tons of extremely positive reviews of the game that Perry Kitchen played in central defensive midfield for United. Its well deserved, as he did a great job of shielding the back line from Henry's attacks. Goals scored and goals allowed weigh heavily into this forum though, and Kitchen gave up the foul that led to Henry's free kick goal, so he gets penalized just a bit. Same goes for goalkeeper Joe Willis, who wasn't able to keep a clean sheet, but did an otherwise great job with his positioning. Willis continually impresses me with the frequency of easy saves that he makes. He's just ALWAYS in the right spot for the opponents to shoot the ball right at him.
That's it. No one below a Four.