I'll admit it. Even after D.C. United scored on the Montreal Impact just before half time, I was still a little bit worried about this team. The fact that Chris Pontius has scored four goals in his last three games is quite an impressive stat. The stat becomes slightly less impressive though when you consider that he was the only United player who was scoring. Fortunately that changed in the second half. Pontius is on a tear that shows no sign of stopping. Start him at forward and he scores. Move him to right midfield and he scores again. Send him back to his former spot on the left and yeah, he'll just score some more. The list of players that I'd trade Pontius for right now is very short. Its Chris Wondolowski. And that's about it.
Pontius single-handedly created and converted the first goal for United. It's great to see a United player capable of doing that. The other two goals weren't quite as individual, and that's great too. Robbie Russell played a fine match as our right back, and nodded in the goal early in the second half on a well-drawn set piece. It was his first and hopefully not last goal for D.C. Hamdi Salihi also added his fifth goal of the season while coming in off the bench. He took advantage of a tired Montreal back line to set up the chance, and was opportunistic in finishing it.
If we were to look at this game in isolation though and name the two best players on the field, we wouldn't name any of the above goal scorers. We'd name Dejan Jakovic and Andy Najar. Jakovic turned in the exact level of performance we've been hoping to see him achieve in recent years, keeping the Impact far far away from United's goal, holding them to only one decent scoring chance in the match. Najar combined the work rate that we're used to seeing from a different right midfielder with the ball skills and attacking prowess we've gotten used to seeing from him since his rookie year. Najar won't find his name on the score sheet, but he earned the free kick that led to Russell's goal, earned a corner kick or two earlier, and never quit for a second. United may miss him a bit while Najar is in London with the Honduran Olympic team, but he'll be back.
The D.C. central midfield was much improved from last week's effort against the New York Red Bulls. Some of that is due to the increased time that Branko Boskovic had on the field, as he added yet another set piece assist to his tally. The rest was due to a return to form of Perry Kitchen. He did well at controlling his area and shielding the back line. Felipe Martins was the only player that looked potentially dangerous for the Impact, and Kitchen kept him off the board for all of his 45 minutes, as his day was thankfully ended early by Jesse Marsch for whatever reason.