Well that was fun, wasn't it? After finding the net only once in three games - a meaningless goal after we were three down at L.A. - the D.C. United attack blew the roof off of RFK Stadium against FC Dallas on Friday night, running out 4-1 winners. There's plenty to be said about the win, so let's see what's out there.
What They're Saying
Shatzer: 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.
Goff: DeLeon and Danny Cruz, United's second-choice flank players at the start of the season, were lively and influential. De Rosario, in the hub of the attack, had his finest outing of the spring with two assists. And Joe Willis, starting in place of the injured Bill Hamid, made two outstanding saves in the early stages.
Salazar: Work is the perfect way to describe what has come to be expected of United's wide midfielders. Against Vancouver, Cruz and DeLeon drastically changed D.C.'s defensive posture. Pressing high against the Whitecaps' back four, the duo made Vancouver's defense look uncomfortable throughout the match. The same happened on Friday night, but for a very different reason. With United dominating possession for the first time this season, service found its way wide as D.C.'s central players distributed with aplomb.
Hund: Hamid, Najar, and Pontius have a real job on their hands to fight their way back into the starting lineup. Willis, as he was last year, has been excellent in net. Dallas had four tremendous chances in the first half, put them all on frame, but only got one past him. He was alert to through balls and had excellent control of his box on crosses and long balls. Cruz and DeLeon, the supposed backup wingers, both had excellent games, each recording a goal, with DeLeon picking up an assist on Cruz' goal.
Webb: United now will face another tough Western Conference foe when they welcome the Seattle Sounders to RFK Stadium next Saturday evening at 7:30 pm. United will have an opportunity to win back-t0-back league matches for the first time since the middle of the 2009 season, a streak that has reached 84 matches.
My take on the win after the jump.
What I'm Saying
A couple early game-saving blocks. A wonderstrike. A brain fart (and probable missed call). A near-post strike. A sliding finish. A counter-attack header. Did NBC Sports get their money's worth or what?
This game, despite the lopsided scoreline, was nothing if not entertaining. And it showed us a bit of what this team is capable of. Dwayne De Rosario was back to his old tricks, dishing out two assists. Maicon Santos was a man possessed. Nick DeLeon and Danny Cruz showed us that Ben Olsen's side really is two deep through the midfield. Daniel Woolard made us forget ol' what's his name who opened the season at left fullback (it couldn't have been the same guy). All in all, Friday was a great night for us fans of D.C. United.
Tactically, the game went nearly perfectly after a rocky first 15 minutes or so, during which Joe Willis saved the game twice. Once United's back four got their legs under them, though, they were nigh impenetrable (save, of course, one moment's combination of a badly mis-hit ball, a very probable offside, and a lethal finisher). United bossed possession for long stretches until they scored Goal Number 3 and went into counter-attack mode. Even better, though, we actually made use of the possession, putting the Dallas defense under pressure and forging 17 shots, 9 on-goal.
In short, this is the D.C. United we've been waiting for. But the work is far from over for the Black-and-Red, as Seattle brings David Estrada and his four goals in three games to RFK in five days' time. The Sounders are coming off their first loss of the season, dropping a home game to San Jose 0-1 - so they'll be hungry, and dangerous. United will have to play as well as they did against Dallas, or better, to get the result we all want. Our boys in black have shown that they're capable of it - all that remains is to get on the field and do it. Again.