If I gave ratings to coaches, you know that we'd be seeing Ben Olsen's name up here. Instead though, we can just rejoice in his most impactful substitute Chris Pontius. The match appeared to be heading towards a stalemate draw when CP13 entered, but he had other plans for D.C. United. Pontius scored the game-winner, getting in behind the defense and beating a converted midfielder forced into a CB position one-on-one with his patented finishing move.
Last week, I compared his first touch to Rachel McAdams. Possibly due to the unfavorable turf at Foxboro, Nick DeLeon's touch wasn't quite as amazing as advertised against the New England Revolution. So Kristen Wiig maybe? Regardless of that, DeLeon added another two assists to his point total, and showed Kelyn Rowe who the real leader in the Rookie Of The Year competition is. DeLeon is proving that he will continue his trend of creating at least one goal every other week.
The first goal for United came again from the established partnership of Dwayne De Rosario and Maicon Santos. Most attempted bicycle kicks seem to miss the mark badly, but of course De Rosario would manage to put the ball across the mouth of goal, and of course Santos knew exactly when and where to look for it. Each player made some mistakes, gave up a few turnovers, or missed a few chances later in the match, but the tying goal was crucial to securing three points for this team. We'd be thinking of United differently today without that bicycle kick.
Saer Sene beat Robbie Russell pretty badly for the Revolution's early goal, but the big veteran back settled down from that point on, and turned away many chances for the home team. United may have actually improved when Russell shifted into the middle, and without some improvements to our injury report, he might find himself there again on Wednesday night.
Russell wasn't the only player to blame for New England's goal though, Brandon McDonald picked a poor position in his defense of Jose Moreno in the middle of the box and allowed too easy a score for the Columbian. McDonald was the weak link in the defense in my opinion, although he did well to make sure that Sene didn't get any uncontested chances.
Danny Cruz turned in another hard-working performance on the right wing and was involved in a few scoring opportunities for United, including one shot from outside the box that forced a diving save from Matt Reis in the first half. But far too many of New England's chances came from their left wing, and Cruz could have done better to slow those chances before they developed.
I'm really starting to worry that I might have to add a new verb named after Hamdi Salihi to our vocabulary list on the left sidebar. The definition would be "to take a weak shot from distance after wasting the better options that were available earlier in the play." Salhi's confidence has sunk to Ngwenya-like levels as he tries to force chances that aren't there. Luckily, Salihi does still work hard off the ball, so he isn't a complete loss up top. But D.C. isn't paying him for what he does without the ball. Sooner or later, the goal-scorer is going to have to start scoring goals.