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D.C. United Vs. FC Dallas: United Offense Explodes In 4-1 Victory

Maicon Santos gave a performance that his teammates knew he was capable of.
Maicon Santos gave a performance that his teammates knew he was capable of.

With a team that's young, inexperienced, and not used to playing together, mistakes are going to happen. But how does the team react to those mistakes?

Some mistakes are team-based. Like Chris Korb's errant pass to Branko Boskovic against the LA Galaxy. Clearly both of them thought that was going to go differently. Other mistakes are individualistic. Like Emiliano Dudar failing to connect on a fairly simple clearance attempt tonight.

Mistakes happen. It's how you react that matters.

And it's how you respond. In LA, the goal that resulted from Korb's poor pass was a dagger for D.C. United. Down 2-0, hopes of getting back in that match were erased.

How did United respond tonight?

They responded with attitude. With energy. With composure. They responded by finishing their chances. And the chances were plentiful, due in part to an FC Dallas defense and midfield that wasn't all there. But due in greater part to a United offense that was somehow for some reason by the grace of God and Ben Olsen alike... finally clicking.

This chemistry. Where did it come from? Won't you please stay awhile?

As you might expect, Olsen downplayed the result a bit in his press conference. "In the second half, I thought we were pretty good," was his summation. If this is pretty good, I can't wait to see what this team looks like when they're playing great.

Olsen was quick to note as well that Dallas was missing George John, their top central defender, and reminded us also that a match against the Seattle Sounders is just a week away. To some that might sound like a warning - a reason not to celebrate too heavily this weekend. Plenty of work to do still, yeah? To the rest of us though, that just sounds like a challenge. And suddenly we get the sense that this team is capable of accepting that challenge. Bring it on.

You or I might disagree, but Olsen specifically opened his press conference by calling goalkeeper Joe Willis the man of the match. "Joe came up huge early," Olsen said. "Without Joe Willis, this game could've been 2-0. If you don't make those two big saves early, the game is done."

That's a fair point, and Dwayne De Rosario brought up the fact too that it's great for this team to have two or three excellent goalkeepers.

But it's hard to overlook the performances of the goalscorers tonight. Maicon Santos went off for two goals and an assist. Nick DeLeon added another goal to his tally and assisted to Danny Cruz as well. They worked hard all night, and it definitely paid off.

What really resonated with me though was the way that the players lit up in the locker room when discussing Santos. They knew what we didn't. They knew that Santos was capable of this performance. They were just waiting for it to come. They were excited for him, and excited to be a part of such a significant victory. Perhaps even the start of something special.

The atmosphere in the locker room was jovial - hip hop music playing loudly, chatting, horsing around. Perry Kitchen and Chris Korb were poking Cruz in the groin with a pipe while he was trying to do an interview with Sebastian Salazar. Those are signs of a team full of players that like each other. Those are signs of a team with chemistry.

Those are signs of a team that knows how to respond to adversity.

Mistakes happen. It's how you react that matters.