Successful counterattacks are among the most exciting moments in soccer. On Saturday against Montreal, D.C. United produced two picture perfect counterattacks to lead the team to victory. Unfortunately, United was only able to turn one of those counters into goals; however, both are worth a second look.
Defense to Offense
Bill Hamid blocked Justin Mapp's right footed shot with 57:42 on the clock. Sean Franklin corralled the rebound and passed it up the field. Nick DeLeon dropped the ball back to Davy Arnaud who switched the ball up the field. Chris Rolfe settled the ball and then chipped it over the top to Jairo Arrieta. The forward pushed the ball past Evan Bush, and the ball hit the back of the net at 57:56. (watch Arrieta's goal here)
The one-two touch passing gets the ball quickly up the field, catching the Montreal midfielders too far into DC's half of the field to cut off a counterattack. Once the ball finds Rolfe at midfield, DC's attackers are still outnumbered by Montreal's defenders; however, Rolfe knows how to manipulate space. While Callum Mallace is closing him down from the right, Hassoun Camara is rooted to the ground ten yards in front of Rolfe.
Arrieta makes his run behind Camara, and Rolfe plays the ball into space. With Camara taken out of the equation, Arrieta only has to beat Bakary Soumare in a foot race to the ball. Arrieta scored the first goal of the season for United to put them on top.
Pontius Runs Into Space
A few minutes after Arrieta's opener, United nearly scored another beautiful goal. This time, Arrieta played the ball into space for Chris Pontius, and Party Boy was one-on-one with Bush. The technique on display from Arrieta was second-to-none, and the Costa Rican punished Montreal for the space they left available for exploiting.
Hamid's long free kick was won by Pontius as he jumped between Montreal defenders Laurent Ciman and Donny Toia. Pontius also won the second ball and headed it into the path of Arrieta.
Arrieta took one touch to bring the ball under control. In doing so, he forced Ciman and Soumare to play him. Pontius continued his run into the open space behind Soumare, and Toia did not make the run with him. Arrieta saw Pontius's run and chipped the ball over the head of Soumare. While Pontius didn't end up scoring the chance, the quick strike counterattack once against nearly worked to United's advantage.
United's next match is against the New York Red Bulls. During their match against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, the Red Bulls showed their inability to handle Sporting's counterattacks, so expect United to find success here in New York.