It didn't take long for D.C. United to figure out what Nick DeLeon is good at, and how he can be effective. DeLeon's speed and awareness enabled him to make a smart run past Sean Franklin and collect a through ball from the midfield. And DeLeon's finish couldn't possibly have been any better. He hit it with the inside of his right foot, curving the ball around Josh Saunders and straight to the right side of the post. Does all that add up to a starting role for DeLeon in the near future? Maybe not quite yet, but he's a great asset to have coming off the bench.
The assist on DeLeon's goal came from the foot of Marcelo Saragosa, who made the central defensive midfield role his own. Saragosa was active in breaking up several plays from the LA Galaxy, and may have earned an even higher rating here if he hadn't given David Beckham a free kick opportunity in an absolutely perfect spot on the field in the first half.
Joe Willis made five saves for United, but didn't quite look like he's ready to steal the starting job. He continues to show poise and some real key shot-stopping ability, but aside from the three goals, which were barely his fault, he also was beat to the near post (but just wide) on the Beckham free kick I just mentioned above, and missed a punch on a cross.
The lineup and tactics failed them more than anything, but we didn't see enough from Andy Najar and Chris Pontius in this one. Chest identified in the Scouting Report that those two could really attack the LA back four, but they really didn't have the opportunity to do so. We didn't see any of the patented cut-ins from either side, and without coincidence, we only had one shot on target all game.
Giving up three goals without any huge mistakes from the goalkeeper understandably leads me to place the entire back line down here at the bottom. There was plenty of blame to go around on the first goal especially, with Chris Korb giving Mike Magee too much room to cross, Todd Dunivant finding open space behind Robbie Russell, Dejan Jakovic totally losing his mark on the goal-scorer Robbie Keane, and Brandon McDonald being caught in between the two levels of attack, unable to do anything of consequence to stop any of the touches.
The second goal started with Korb making a bad pass and ended with McDonald once again making the wrong decision on his positioning. On Marcelo Sarvas' goal, I question Emiliano Dudar. You would think that if Dudar knew just one thing about MLS when coming to the U.S., it would be not to let David Beckham hit an open cross. Well that's what he did, and the game suddenly became out reach.