The first time that D.C. United faced the New York Red Bulls, Chris Pontius scored three goals. On Sunday, he scored two. If he only scores one when they play again on Aug. 29, Imma be pissed. I think it's safe to say at this point that Pontius' conversion from being a midfielder to being a forward is nearing completion. He's always been one of the most accurate shooters in the league, and now he's also making the right runs to get into the right position to score.
Bill Hamid, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, and Robbie Russell all made some good plays in this game. And yet they also gave up three goals. That number certainly could have been higher though given the way the Red Bulls kept us under pressure while dominating possession throughout the majority of the match. None of the defenders deserve blame on either of the first two New York goals, as they were both just really well struck balls by Brandon Barklage. The defenders do deserve some blame though for the disparity in possession. The Long Balls To No One In Particular simply MUST stop. We the fans have been saying it for months
These player ratings aren't always easy. These guys make it awfully tough on me sometimes! Take Dwayne De Rosario and Danny Cruz for example. If this match was only 30 seconds long, they would have each earned Fives for their roles in Pontius' first goal. De Rosario put the ball through to Cruz so that it stopped just ahead of the end line, and then Cruz sent in a precise cross to Pontius at the near post. They each then proceeded to do very little of consequence for the remainder of the match, the exception of which was De Rosario repeatedly being offside when United has trying to find the tying goal.
Surprisingly though, where this match was lost was in the midfield. United had trouble coping with New York's tactics, rendering Perry Kitchen ineffective. The Red Bulls effectively exploited gaps throughout our midfield, gaps that Kitchen wasn't able to close as succinctly as usual. This wasn't the Kitchen we've gotten used to seeing, and perhaps the saddest development of this match was that many of us were left longing for Dax McCarty.