We set the over/under on Dwayne De Rosario goals against Toronto FC in May at 2.5. If you took the under, you cashed, but you were definitely sweating. De Rosario scored two goals in the first half for D.C. United, continuing his streak of punishing former teams. The veteran's first goal was headed with power off a free kick, and the second goal was due to a nice run to simply finish off a great cross. That wasn't it though. De Rosario's high work rate was evident all over the field. This was an MVP caliber performance from the defending MVP.
By my count, D.C. United has 16 field players who are good enough to be regular starters. In 2010, that number was probably six. Chris Korb was added to that list this week. The versatile second-year-player is giving Ben Olsen real difficult decisions, and that's a good thing for fans to hear. Korb has been playing well enough to start either on the left or the right side of the back line. Without this development, seeing three center backs going down to injury would have been even more painful for the team. Korb has played all 90 minutes in four straight games now for United, and it won't be easy for Olsen to tell him to take a seat after he's been such a constant force in defense. But his perfectly-weighted pass inches around a Toronto defender, out of the reach of Milos Kocic, and straight to the foot of De Rosario was even more impressive.
But Korb's play wasn't actually the most impressive of the match though. That title goes to Andy Najar, who combined with Hamdi Salihi for the critical third goal, just when it appeared that the match may have been starting to slip away. Running at opponents and cutting to the end line has become a new trademark move for Najar, and the low cross to the on-rushing Salihi right at the six-yard line was really nice. On a day that De Rosario scored twice, its unthinkable to imagine that Najar may have actually been our Man Of The Match, but its true. His performance on the right flank on Saturday night was the kind of improvement from his 2010 Rookie Of The Year form that we've been waiting to see. Salihi also showed once again why he unquestionably deserves a designated player contract. He always seems to know just where to be.
For the second time in a week, Branko Boskovic played like a designated player. Even if he's not scoring goals or creating them from the run of play, Boskovic is making a real impact. His service on set pieces has been great, and this time it led directly to a De Rosario goal, finally getting that doughnut off the Montenegran's MLS stat sheet. The other big asset that Boskovic brings is that he frees up DeRo from the dirty work in the midfield, allowing him to get forward at will.
Brandon McDonald was the leader of the defense that held Toronto to just four shots on goal, with Bill Hamid being truly tested only once or twice. McDonald was however the most culpable on the Danny Koevermans goal, losing his mark and allowing an easy header. Other than that one letdown, the defense was steady as usual, and has maintained a 0.5 goals against average with Hamid rightfully back in the lineup. Keep that up, with three designated players in form, and this team is headed for greatness.