Satisfaction | a DC United Match Reaction

Well, that was satisfying. Let’s get right to the talking points, shall we?

  • Four goals is nice, but more impressive for me is the defensive performance. Henry and Cooper came into this game averaging more than a goal a game – each! They got very few good looks tonight, and most of those from distance. True, Henry managed to pad his goal tally, but he did so from a set piece when the match was all but won. The difference between having Russell on the back stick rather than Korb was telling when the crosses came flying in (28 according to’s stats, vs. just 12 for United), but the effect of the return of Dudar can’t be ignored either[1]. Metrobull crosses and long balls turned into lost causes, his range of distribution was excellent, and he made a number of nice reads on the deck, stepping up to cut out potentially dangerous passes.

  • Is Pontius the answer up top? It’s long been my contention that Pontius is Dempsey-like in that his best position is debatable (and, of course, the positions he plays are the same). It’s hard to argue with results. Salihi may be pulling down the DP coin, but he’s yet to bag a goal. In significantly fewer minutes, Pontius has four playing as a forward. His movement and ability on the dribble make him a better foil for Santos as well. I’m not going to argue that signing Salihi was a mistake (yet). I still think he has a role to play and will figure things out as he adapts to the league. When the other strikers hit a barren patch, he’ll get his chance, and it’s a luxury to have a proven, veteran goal-scorer in reserve.

  • I’m not so certain about Boskovic though. He just doesn’t fit the high-energy approach that Olsen favors. And I find it telling that in a situation that seemed tailor made for Boskovic’s talents (late-game lead, time to slow things down and play possession), Olsen called on King to spell De Rosario.

  • Imagine, if you will, another night and a ref less tolerant of the physical stuff or more easily intimidated by the names on the shirts (Henry…cough, cough)[2]. I could easily see the first and third goals never being allowed to happen and United suffering a couple of marginal PK calls. Kudos to Geiger for letting them play.

  • McDonald is often wasteful in possession, defaulting to the aimless long ball[3]. Though that worked out in our favor once tonight, I’d like to see more of the technical pairing of Jakovic (striding out of defense with the ball at his feet) with Dudar (prompting the attack with searching balls sprayed to the flanks). That assumes, of course, that Jakovic can manage a stretch of games without suffering an injury.

Quick hits?

  • After an off-night in midweek where it looked like he might be hitting a bit of a rookie wall, DeLeon bounced back with another good performance (and another goal).

  • Still not convinced by Woolard, but he was only exposed a few times against Richards, who could probably finish the 40m twice before Woolard crossed the line once.

  • Once again, it’s hard to fault Cruz for effort and defensive tracking, but with the ball at his feet…sigh. Can we somehow fuse the best of Cruz and Najar?

After the next match we’ll be more than a quarter of the way into the season. United sits second in the Eastern Conference, in solid playoff position, but a quick glance at the table shows that everybody behind United (save Montreal) have games in hand. Still, six games unbeaten, a firm beat-down of the big rival, and letting in less than a goal a game (and conceding few good chances to boot, not just riding their luck)? I’ll take that.

Vamos United!

  1. And makes you really rue that he couldn’t play midweek. Corradi wouldn’t have won nearly as many aerial duels with Dudar on the pitch.  ↩

  2. Interestingly, I needed to rely on a Polish-language stream for a little bit of this match (don’t ask), and I heard repeated mention of what sounded like “weenie sack.” I can only imagine that the announcer was discussing the suspended Rafa Marquez.  ↩

  3. Otherwise known as the Burch Special.  ↩


  1. That was highly satisfying on so many levels - the pressing was consistently good, the team shape was solid, Pontius was a terror, and the DPs are put on notice.

    It was hard not to engage in some early-season schadenfreude at the expense of Hans Backe, though. The lineup he ran out there would've had a hard time with the tricky fluidity of a good U14 team, forget about DeRo, Party Boy, DeLeon et al. Crazy. When one structures one's entire roster around the presence of such titans of leadership as Marquez and Conde ... hahahahhahaaaaaaa omg its so hard to breathe ... NYRB as a punch line is seldom disappointing.

  2. True enough. The haplessness of the Red Bulls' defense was reminiscent of Onalfo's United.

  3. I wrote on Thursday that as a season ticket holder, Wednesday’s game was a disappointment. Apparently, the team was also disappointed and chose to prove they are worthy against the Red Bulls. That being said, last night’s game was a gem.

    Pontius was an absolute terror and I loved the team’s energy level and commitment to the basics of consistent pressure on the ball, quality possession and good defensive shape. I couldn’t help but notice Dudar calling out Dax for the dive which produced Henry’s free kick that resulted in New York’s lone goal. Dax was like aw shucks buddy and Dudar was having none of it and gave him an ear full, then he turned on the ref after the ball was in the net. It’s nice to have a center back that makes the opposing players think twice when they venture into his area. Dudar also intercepted quite a few passes headed towards Cooper and he was very consistent with his positioning. Nick Deleon has won his job, Cruz is bringing energy and pace to the game and Santos has definitely found a home. Woolard is slowly winning me over and I do respect him. He handled Richards adequately considering Richards has got to be one of the faster wings in the league. Russell is solid and dependable. When was the last time we could describe the back four that way? It was a great team effort and DC United earned some respect last night. To that I say, Bravo!

    Fullback, did you get to see the District Ultras matador and slain bull sign? It was an instant classic.

    Vamos United!

  4. No, I missed the sign. Anybody get pix?

  5. Go to

    pictures 14 and 15.

  6. Worth checking out the rest of the pics as well. Thanks, Dave!