D.C. United had to haul butt Thursday morning over a six hour flight (though most of those in Wednesday's loss to the Portland Timbers stayed in D.C.) and got back at it facing a Philadelphia Union team with some confidence after beating D.C. and the New York Red Bulls recently. And the game wasn't pretty but ultimately the Black and Red walked away victors 2-1. And with that, let's score the performances, shall we?
Bill Hamid - 7
Didn't have to do cartwheels like on Wednesday, was hung out to dry on the goal, had a small, subtle shove on Fernando Aristeguieta after grabbing a ball at the top of the box that as porn like in its message sending.
Taylor Kemp - 5
A little slow to get back on the goal, defense was better but not great, but he had room to try and interact with the midfielders. Crossing was pretty good, was the de facto corner kick taker for much of the night before a groin strain felled him for the night.
Steve Birnbaum - 6
Boy, that was some play on the goal the Union scored, wasn't it? Birnbaum proceeded to try and do whatever he could to make up for it. He was tied for the team lead in shots on the night (new #WhiteRonaldo?), a Fabinho clearance saved a goal from him, and his 14 clearances doubled more than the Union had as a team. Please be a beast without the giveaway next time please, sir.
Bobby Boswell - 6.5
Wednesday's offensive-minded sub was Saturday's defensive starter, and passing accuracy was solid, short of the early hiccup he and Birnbaum contained Aristeguieta as best as he could. Quiet consistency.
Sean Franklin - 5
Felt great to have first choice (well, for this team) fullback in, didn't it? More poise, more willingness to come up and/or work with the midfielders to build attack. Crossing was a touch off, though passing was a touch better than Kemp, so a pleasant ying and yang of sorts.
Chris Pontius - 5.5
Had the goal, also had a legitimate chance of having his night end early for fouling Sebastien Le Toux while the latter was coming in on a breakaway. He was subbed off 10 minutes later presumably to avoid seeing a repeat of it. By the way, really choice header Party Boy.
Perry Kitchen - 7
Led the team in tackles, completed 46 of 48 passes on the night, arguably the best player of the first half, got the pass to Kemp that led to the first half goal, and I think you heard a scarce mention of Cristian Maidana's name all night. To paraphrase Teri Hatcher, Kitchen-fever is real, and it's spectacular.
Davy Arnaud - 4.5
Led the team in key passes on the night, a surprise considering how off his passing was, or at least off for him. Maybe he was in his head following whatever this was:
Nick DeLeon - 6
First game in two and a half weeks, and a passing accuracy number over 90 and connecting on all your long balls ain't a bad way to go. Like a lot of things with Nick, he couldn't seem to put it together in the final third, and his crosses had something to be desired, like a D.C. United player on the other end for starters. But am cautiously optimistic.
Chris Rolfe - 5.5
Converted the PK, struck the free kick off the foul nicely, but otherwise weirdly wasn't that much of a factor again otherwise. Oh, and may have the week off if his kick out retaliation is deemed to be malicious. Starting to feel less comfortable about the #RolfeForAllStar campaign I irrationally tried to start.
Conor Doyle - 5
Folks are going to jump on Doyle for not scoring I presume, but I saw a guy who was trying to involve his teammates when he could and serving weirdly as a target forward in other moments. Of the three games in recent memory, this one might have been his best.
Jairo Arrieta (Sub) - 4.5
Came on for Doyle in the 65th, tried to draw a PK of his own to no avail. Sample size and all, but passing accuracy was lowest on the team, including Hamid, and was dispossessed the most of anyone on the team in just 25 minutes. Another offside call to pad the total, so let's take a look:
Arrieta in 2015 has 23 offside calls and three goals in 12 games.
In 2013, Lionard Pajoy had 23 offside calls and two goals in 20 games.
Chris Korb (Sub) - 5
Came on for Kemp in the 73rd, passing was OK, defense fine, about what one could expect really.
Miguel Aguilar (Sub) - 5
A mildly curious sub, coming on for Pontius in the 75th instead of the first game in a couple of weeks DeLeon (Pontius and Ben Olsen shared a moment as the former was coming off, the substance of which remains unknown). Didn't have a lot to do, didn't mess up, moving on.
Man of the Match
Easy, Francis Wesley. Dude was all over the field Saturday night, was a beast in training, got a proper tifo treatment, and ensured the Black and Red walked away winners. Kudos to you sir.