D.C. United Reax: So This Is What First Place Feels Like

This is what first place feels like

Three games, nine points, first place.

That's what every home stand should look like for D.C. United. Ben Olsen has made a point of stressing the "Take Back RFK" message to his team, and they've taken it to heart. United is now undefeated in D.C. since the season opening loss to Sporting Kansas City.

Now we just have to hope that that streak will continue two hours south to Richmond also.

Here's what the local media are saying about United's 3-1 win over the New England Revolution.

Floyd: "I wasn’t worried," defender Brandon McDonald said. "It was weird because last year, they get two goals, we’re going to lose this game 5-2. This year, our guys have been so good at just keeping themselves composed and knowing it’s going to come." ... Despite his team’s position atop the table, coach Ben Olsen still was far from satisfied, pointing to a lack of sharpness on the ball and the defensive breakdowns that led to goals by New England’s Saer Sene and A.J. Soares. Whether it was an impressive performance from United was debatable. The notch in the win column, though, was not.

Stouffer: But the roar at the final whistle from the 14,627 in attendance on Saturday was loud, deliberate and reminiscent of United’s best days. A salute for more than just a 3-2 win over the New England Revolution after a two-goal lead had been relinquished, it acknowledged the franchise’s return to first place in the Eastern Conference this late in the season for the first time since 2009. It heralded United’s first three-game winning streak since 2008. It provided the backdrop for a team that, while it has the next three weeks off from league play, expects to be in title contention when the marathon MLS season concludes in the fall.

Tenorio: This is the new-look United. One that has the luxury of bringing on its most effective goal scorer this season when a two-goal lead evaporates in a five-minute span in the second half, and then to see him score just five minutes later to provide the final margin in D.C.’s 3-2 win.

Hund: I’ll admit it, I’m stunned at how effective Maicon Santos has been. Not only the goals, but his general hold-up and connective play – amply demonstrated by his beating two men with a clever drag-back, playing De Rosario into space, and getting on the end of the return ball to win the match. Much like De Rosario in midfield, Santos makes the team function better. Hamdi Salihi may make better runs and be a more reliable (if marginally less spectacular) finisher, but Santos combines better with those around him, can win balls in the air, and provides a dash of the unexpected, both with the ball at his feet and with his shooting from range.

Darr: The roller coaster ride that is Branko Boskovic continued tonight. Boskovic got an assist on United's first goal, and put in solid service from all set pieces. That said, he looked tired very early, and was sluggish in the attack. It will be very interesting, moving forward, how Boskovic is handled.

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