D.C. United was looking to defeat their longtime rival the New York Red Bulls any way they could Sunday; a torrential storm and standing water on many parts of the field caused a delay, and playing conditions at times were, well, interesting. While the team spotted the Metros a two-goal lead, they rallied for a 2-2 draw that extended their unbeaten streak to four (albeit three draws), and gave them three consecutive regular season games where they scored at least twice for the first time in two years.
Let's look at your votes and chime in with some of our own.
Bill Hamid - 6 | Community: 6.01
Two goals allowed, including the second Metros goal to Felipe which he'll want to have back (something we seem to be saying a bit lately), on three shots on goal, and Sacha Kljestan came close to burning him for a third. I'm not overly worried, though after coming back from injury and putting in shutouts in 3 of his first 4 starts, he's had 1 in his last 7. Something must be up, no?
Sean Franklin - 5.5 | Community: 5.3
Three clearances, three recoveries, two tackles and two interceptions defensively, but almost corkscrewed himself into the ground when Mike Grella got the ball in DC's end (and Bradley Wright-Phillips converted), and might have thrown Hamid off a little on the charge out to Felipe. Definitely an off-night for him.
Steve Birnbaum - 7 | Community: 7.3
Assisted on the goal (if nothing else, Lloyd Sam's corner taking has bettered Birnbaum's air game, and yes, I know Kemp sent in the corner on the goal), and had 5 interceptions and won 3 of 6 aerials (add a successful one in his own end). Hard to tell whether it was he or Boswell that let BWP come in behind them, but at least he made up for it.
Bobby Boswell (Captain) - 6.5 | Community: 6.3
4 interceptions and 6 clearances to go with a recovery and blocked shot, and won only 2 of 5 aerials. Quiet offensively as is his proclivity, and had an okay game.
Taylor Kemp - 6.5 | Community: 6.6
What kind of weird world do we live in where Taylor Kemp is tied for the team lead in shots? This one, Sunday, in a storm. Had 2 clearances, 3 recoveries and a tackle defensively, had the 4(!) shots, one on goal, sent in the corner for the tying goal, but that aside, his passing was lumping crosses in, 18 in fact, and the weather killed a large portion of them.
Marcelo Sarvas - 7.5 | Community: 7.2
Converted the PK (1 of 2 shots he took Sunday, both on target) that he took from Sam (to prevent familiarity with Luis Robles). Despite a 26 of 40 accuracy, he kept feeding the outside mids deep into the Metros end. Had 7 interceptions, 9 recoveries, a clearance and a blocked shot, and generally ran his ass off all night.
Lloyd Sam - 6.5 (off 80') | Community: 6.9
Double agent Sam drew the penalty kick on Kemar Lawrence, had 9 of 17 passing and 3 chance creators, and was one of only two starters to not record a shot. Had a tackle and recovery defensively, and gets the chance to do this all over again in New Jersey in a couple of weeks.
Jared Jeffrey - 6 (off 65') | Community: 5.6
An interception, a clearance and a recovery defensively (and made Sacha Kljestan look like a child, admittedly not a large leap), 11 of 16 passing, though one was a key pass. Fairly quiet night for him but was preoccupied.
Luciano Acosta - 6 | Community: 7.06
14 of 20 passing, including 4 key passes, and 4 shots (1 on goal). Had fewer touches on the ball than last week, but everyone did. 2 tackles, an interception, 4 recoveries and a well-earned yellow card. May have been his most loyal tribute to the recently departed Fabian Espindola, staying mostly on the left side, but continues to develop rapport with Mullins in the middle, and continues to be encouraging.
Patrick Nyarko - 5.5 | Community: 5.98
14 of 19 passing (2 key passes), including 8 of 9 in the attacking third. Had five clearances to go with an interception, tackle and clearance. Would have given a 6, but I couldn't in good conscience overlook this:
Patrick Mullins - 7.5 (off 84') (MOTM) | Community: 7.58 (MOTM)
Scored the tying goal, and his header to Sam in the box minutes before eventually wound up being the first goal. Three shots, two on goal, a key pass (albeit on a 52% accuracy number), but needs to work on his aerials some, as FourFourTwo has him not winning any of the 7 he had a chance on. Mullins has 2 goals and an assist in 316 starting minutes (4 games). Alvaro Saborio has 1 goal and 2 assists in 632 starting minutes (8 games). Not saying, just saying.
Nick DeLeon - 6 (on 65') | Community: 6.4
Had two shots (one which Robles got some fingers on) to go with 6 of 7 passing, one of which was a key pass. What if, in pulling him out of the 8 spot where he's spent most of his time this year, he's gotten better? Weird, thought, I know.
Lamar Neagle - 5.5 (on 80') | Community: 5.8
1 for 5 passing (though it was a chance creator) and an interception, however the chance creator and Neagle's other 8 touches had very little impact.
Kennedy Igboananike - Inc. (on 84') | Community: 5.6
5 touches on the ball, 1 shot, 2 of 2 passing, a failed cross, and a short corner that ended the game essentially.
Red Bulls MOTM:
Of the 76 voters, BWP edges out Kljestan:
It's hard to believe, as Jonathan Yardley noted on the ESPN broadcast, that it's been two months since Ben Olsen went into the 4-1-4-1 that eventually saw the departure of Espindola, the introduction of Mullins & Sam, the return of Nyarko from injury, Sarvas continuing the CDM work, and Jeffrey's incorporation into the lineup next to Acosta, who has played both centrally while drifting to the left. The last two months, have been a process, but one of encouragment:
- In those 9 games, the team has scored 15 goals. In the previous 15 games? 11.
- In those 9 games, the team has taken almost 15 shots per game (14.77), with more than 5 (5.11) on goal, In the previous 15? 14 shots per, 4 on goal.
The overarching point to some and the reassuring one to others being that the team has improved in most areas, and there is still room for improvement. Whether they can do it with the games they have left remains to be seen.