We've been talking all year about some of the similarities between the veteran Dwayne De Rosario and the rookie Nick DeLeon. This was mostly inspired by the question of who can be the playmaker for D.C. United if De Rosario is ever absent. The likeliest answer is DeLeon.
The pair combined for two goals tonight in an entertaining 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium. The first goal - a swift finish by DeLeon of a well-placed lob from De Rosario - was the fifth of the rookie's MLS career. The second goal - a flying header by De Rosario off a long and accurate DeLeon cross - was the veteran's 100th.
Linking these two players seems entirely appropriate, as they each offer similar skills. They both work hard, they both score, and they can both create goals via assists as well. And afterall, DeLeon is only 95 goals behind. For the rookie's sake, hopefully he can match the veteran's longevity too.
The captain and his deputy. The assassin and his protege.
Feed the bear? Yeah, and feed his cub too.This game wasn't all roses for D.C. though. It should have been, or at least could have been, but it wasn't. Wilman Conde stole that from us, and to a lesser degree, so did referee Ricardo Salazar. Conde erased two points from our ledger with a rocket into the upper corner of Bill Hamid's net in the dying minutes of the match. It's hard to place any blame on any player when you give up a goal like that. All Salazar did was wave off a potential penalty kick when De Rosario was yanked down in the New York box from behind.
There's no reason to wallow about lost points though. The fact is that United went nose-to-nose with the team favored to win the Eastern Conference, and came minutes away from escaping on top. Does anyone feel that D.C. doesn't deserve to be fourth in the standings? That D.C. can't beat any team on any day?
I believe that they can. I'm not so sure that they can do it on any field though. And I'm not so sure that they can do it every day without a letdown. Maybe we'll find out how to solve both of those issues this weekend. A win in Rio Tinto would sure go a long way towards ensuring United's stature among the east's elite.