Bliss, pure bliss. High scoring thrillers are fun; gritty defensive wins are rewarding; but every so often you need a good ol' fashioned blowout. It's been a while since we've seen United truly take off the reigns and attack in unrelenting waves. Granted we had a man advantage, that tends to help, but a truly dominating performance like is one has been long overdue. Wins like this can be deceptive, but they can also serve as a platform for the offense to truly get going. Let's hope it's the latter.
Bill Hamid: 7
It only took Hamid 23 minutes to remind us he's one of the best goalkeepers in this league. After being hung out to dry by a meek Sean Franklin back pass, Hamid stole the ball off of Fabian Castillo's foot to keep Dallas from doubling their lead. Taking the ball off the foot of an attacker in a 1-v-1 situation is one of the hardest skills for a keeper to execute, but Hamid's wingspan and timing made it look easy. Welcome back, Bill.
Sean Franklin: 5.5
Franklin's cheeky goal saved what was a terrible outing up to that point. Faced with the notoriously quick Fabian Castillo, Franklin showed no respect for the Colombian's skills, getting burned several times before United went a man up. If you're a fullback faced with a faster opponent, using the body to block off open space is a must. When Boswell had to slide over and challenge the advancing Castillo, he put his body in front of Castillo and sheparded the ball out of play, which was the perfect defense for the situation. Castillo's very talented, but he's also a known commodity at this point in the league. Why wasn't Franklin more prepared for this matchup?
Another 90 minutes of imperious defending from Boswell, with a goal to boot. Fending off attackers becomes a lot easier when the other team literally plays without a striker, but Boswell still stepped up effectively and kept Dallas from mustering any sort of attack. The goal, aside for generally being awesome, also started the onslaught that was to come. Now, let's get down to business and open the floor to theories about the meaning of that celebration.
Jeff Parke: 6
Rarely will you see the game ratings of the two center backs so far apart but thus was the nature of the match. Beginning with the sketchy back pass, Parke struggled early with Dallas' talented attack. However, Parke soon settled down and eased into the general rhythm of the United side.
This is the third straight game where the Spaniard has not only put in a solid performance, but also has shown decent service in the final third. He can get a little too eager to whip in a ball sometimes, but I've been generally pleased with his adaptation to the league. Perhaps the most important thing, however, is the absence of red card-worthy tackles, so kudos for that Cristian.
Perry Kitchen: 6.5
Perry bossed the midfield while a man up but was also partially responsible for the Mauro Diaz goal. Davy Arnaud shares some of the blame because it was his man originally. But Perry needed to read the play quicker when he saw Diaz peel off of Arnaud. Handling the creative midfielders that are abundant in MLS is Perry's most important job, so it's important that he learns to be sharper on plays like this. On a positive note, it's immensely encouraging that Perry's distribution is almost taken for granted now -- his improvement on that front has been astounding.
Davy Arnaud: 6.5
"It wasn't pretty but it was effective" is quickly becoming the motto of Arnaud's season. Industrious, hard-working, with just enough quality on the ball, I find myself growing more and more appreciative of his efforts in the middle of the park. Luis Silva is back and I steadfastly maintain the United should try a three-man center midfield, but until then Arnaud should keep his starting spot.
Chris Rolfe: 7.5
Ah, the benefits of getting Chris Rolfe on the ball. Every time the hair-band clad playmaker found the ball, he created positive plays, linking most notably with Fabian Espindola but also other members of the attack. His defensive work continues to be a lovely surprise, and one that will keep him in the starting lineup even when United plays on the counter. I love LEWIS NEAL! but right now Rolfe is doing what he can do with infinitely better results in the attacking third.
Nick DeLeon: 7
One of the major positives so far this season has been the emergence of Nick DeLeon's offensive versatility. Whether it be in possession, on the counter, cutting in side, taking it to the byline and crossing, or dropping into the center midfield to overload the defense, Nick has been everywhere. Having players that can adapt to different circumstances in a game is vital to success and Nick's progression as a diverse attacker proves just that.
Eddie was having one of his worst performances of the season before his assist. Yes, the missed touches were problematic but more worrisome was his baffling refusal to attack any balls in the box. EJ's best attribute as a player is aerial prowess, so his sudden caution in the air is disappointing. The assist was beautiful, but next time it has to be EJ putting his head amongst the boots to score.
Fabian Espindola: 9
Truly outstanding performance. Fabian continues to be the main spark of United's attack, running at defenders with reckless abandon and finishing clinically. Fabian is one of the streakiest players in the league, so EJ needs to start scoring in case "bad Espindola" appears, but in the meantime let's enjoy his brilliance.
Conor Doyle: 6.5
Doyle finally got the longer outing that I've been clamoring for and didn't do too badly. His header caused the rebound that Boswell thrashed home, and he spent the rest of the game combining intelligently with his teammates. Doyle isn't a supreme talent, but he is a smart player, who knows how to keep the ball moving and play with his teammates.
Chris Korb: 5
Rusty, but good to see him back on the field.
Luis Silva: 5.5
Looked a little sharper than Korb but also missed an opportunity to send Rolfe through on goal. Ben Olsen's decisions when it comes to playing Luis Silva in the coming games will be fascinating. Davy Arnaud has been good in the middle but will Olsen opt for Luis Silva's passing skills? I doubt it, but Olsen may go to Silva if feels United can overwhelm their opponent.