Today I write with no other purpose than to join my fellow D.C. United fans in praise of the Black-and-Red and their 4-1 dismantling of league-leading FC Dallas on Saturday night. For once, The Last Word won't focus on what this game means for the future or how it fits into the story arc of the season. There will be time for that later, as well as analysis of what went less-than-perfect for the good guys against Dallas. For now, however, let's merely revel one last time in the team's most complete victory since the 2012 season.
- Steven Goff, via washingtonpost.com: "With Espindola posting two goals and an assist in a 25-minute span, United (3-2-2) extended its unbeaten streak to five and equaled last year's win total. The match turned in the 39th minute when defender Zach Loyd was sent off for a second yellow card. At the time, Dallas (5-2-1) was ahead, thanks to Mauro Diaz's 13th-minute goal. "Early, we looked a little hazy," Coach Ben Olsen said. "Without the red card, we're in a little bit of trouble.""
- Ryan Bacic: "Looks like D.C. United has figured out how to play a man-up. A week after squandering a 90th-minute lead with a man-advantage in Columbus, the Black and Red thoroughly punished 10-man FC Dallas Saturday, 4-1, in a relentless offensive showing. By the time Michel added insult to injury time, in fact--earning his side's second red card of the night in the 92nd minute--it had long been over at RFK."
- Pablo Maurer, via mlssoccer.com: "D.C. United entered their matchup against FC Dallas on Saturday evening riding a four-game unbeaten streak. Dallas entered the match as winners of four of their last five. Something had to give. In a matchup of two of Major League Soccer's hottest teams, it would be United who emerged victorious on Saturday evening with a 4-1 victory. D.C. rode a Fabian Espindola brace and tallies from Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin to victory..."
- Ben Olsen, via dcunited.com: "It is not easy to break teams down when they sit back and Fabi [Espindola is] a guy that can unlock that, and he did a great job tonight. I thought [Chris] Rolfe and Nick DeLeon both really helped out in the midfield in creating problems for them. I thought Eddie put in a good shift until he had to come out."
- Ben Olsen, via dcunited.com: On the five-game unbeaten streak. "Yeah, it is a good group. And, as I said before, they are hungry. I think a lot of these guys have something to prove, for one reason or the other. I have something to prove and our staff has something to prove, so hopefully we can continue on this run."
- Ben Olsen, via washingtonpost.com: "It's been a while since I could sit and enjoy the last five, 10 minutes."
- Bobby Boswell, via washingtonpost.com: "We were a team that was so hungry because we felt like we lost three points last week, and we didn't want it to happen again this week."
- Fabian Espindola, via dcunited.com: "I feel good about our strength in trying to keep the ball and trying to get better. Sometimes you're not going to score, but at least you can try to play--that's what I want, and tonight, we won."
- Chris Rolfe, via dcunited.com: On the team coming together. "Tonight it looked good. Even when we were even strength, we had great possession and great movement. We weren't really getting the good kicks that we wanted, but that will come. It's a matter of guys being more comfortable, aggressive and a little greedier."
- Sean Franklin, via dcunited.com: "We're unbeaten in our last five games and some of those games we should have won. Right now, our team has all the confidence in the world and we're excited for this win tonight, but it is a long season and hopefully it will be a successful one."
- All hail the D.C. United goalkeepers! Despite returning from injury and getting injected back into a hot squad, Bill Hamid showed his remarkable shot-stopping abilities against Dallas. It was fantastic to see the team's #1 keeper back on the field, and it must also be noted that Andrew Dykstra is making sure #1 stays sharp because of his superb play this season (and the fact he continues to lead Major League Soccer with the best goals against average, 0.33, of any keeper).
- All hail the D.C. United defense! They may be a newly formed foursome, but Christian, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, and Sean Franklin have become a tough riddle to solve in short order. In seven matches this season, they've only conceded eight goals (and three of those were in the first match), for a goals against rate of 1.14 per game (6th best in the league). They also are providing offensive production and leadership for this squad as was evident against the Hoops. And, it was nice to see he-of-the-short-shinguards, Chris Korb, back on the field as well.
- All hail the D.C. United midfield! Playing like they did on Saturday night, this is a midfield creating real and ongoing headaches for opponents. Perry Kitchen and Davy Arnaud have formed a superb partnership in the center of the field, while Nick DeLeon and Chris Rolfe are consistently dangerous from the flanks. It was also heartening to witness midfielder/forward Luis Silva get some minutes returning from injury Saturday night as well.
- All hail the D.C. United attack! Fabian Espindola had a monster game Saturday night, and it doesn't come as a surprise. Was there a better offseason acquisition in MLS this year (perhaps notwithstanding Toronto's 6-million-dollar men)? Eddie Johnson's sublime cross on Espindola's first goal, the strike late in first-half stoppage time which opened the floodgates for the Black-and-Red, showed why he will almost certainly be plying his skills on the biggest of stages in a few weeks in Brazil. And a hail to Conor Doyle as well for his extended shift against Dallas that saw him force Chris Seitz into a superb save which set up Boswell for his goal.
- All hail, Ben Olsen and the technical staff! He said they would improve, and the improvement is evident. He said the goals would come, and they have. He said the defense would settle down, and it has. He said they would work on specific tactical issues in training, and then those issues have gotten better.
- All hail, D.C. United fans! For all those fans who persevered through 2010 and 2013, for those fans who have come back to the team this season, and for those new fans who have just joined the fold--let's all rise together to salute D.C. United's performance on Saturday night!
The Last Word:
All hail, D.C. United!
ALL HAIL, D.C. UNITED!!
So say we all!
So say you?