Saturday was a special night for D.C. United and Ben Olsen as the manager was inducted into the United Hall of Tradition. Olsen was honored for his time as a player, with a great video shown before the match started. District Ultras did their part, making a phenomenal tifo in honor of Olsen, as seen here.
United did their best to get a win for their coach, but even Olsen admitted after the game that it took New England scoring first to wake the team up. Once the team woke up, United took over the game and dominated for long stretches.
United deserved the three points, especially after Bill Hamid's heroics in the final ten minutes. It seems like United can never make winning easy on themselves by putting teams away late. They had a few chances, but ultimately couldn't find a third goal.
GK Bill Hamid - 8.5
On other nights, Hamid would have walked away with Man of the Match, and he probably should have Saturday. Olsen said Hamid deserved the honor as he preserved the win for United. Hamid had two massive saves in the final ten minutes, and commanded the box well all night.
DEF Chris Korb - 5.5
Korb didn't play bad, but he was directly responsible for the goal as he left his man, Kelyn Rowe, to help out and in turn left Rowe wide open and all alone in on Hamid. Korb did have a few giveaways early in the second half, but at that point who wasn't giving the ball away?
DEF Dejan Jakovic - 4.5
Jakovic was beat in a one-on-one situation by Imbongo in pretty embarrassing fashion. He also struggled with his passing for different parts of the night.
DEF Brandon McDonald - 8
McDonald was massive on Saturday night. There are no two ways about that. He helped clean up more than a few messes, including two opportunities the Revs had that looked like sure one-on-one chances against Hamid. McDonald was also another candidate for MotM.
DEF/MID Andy Najar - 8
Najar at Right Back works. Let's get that out of the way right now. He provides another dimension in the attack and is so dangerous going forward. I wouldn't be surprised to see more of Najar at Right Back in future, he's just so dangerous there.
MID Perry Kitchen - 6.5
Kitchen was a little quiet Saturday. He did solid work on the defensive end, but he didn't get forward or get on the ball as much. I think Boskovic dominating the possession and setting the tempo allowed Kitchen to focus mainly on his defensive duties.
MID Branko Boskovic - 7
"He's just not a 90-minute player." - Ben Olsen on Boskovic after the game.
It's a sad truth that Boskovic just cannot go 90 minutes, but it's a reality everyone will have to live with now. He was, however, very effective in his 56 minutes. He put in a few dangerous free kicks and got the assist on United's first goal from Pontius.
MID Nick DeLeon - 6.5
DeLeon didn't stand out Saturday, but that's okay. He's being overshadowed when Najar makes his deep runs from his right back spot or cuts into the middle of the park. However, DeLeon did some of the gritty defensive duties that needed to be done whenever Najar would get too far forward.
MID Chris Pontius - 9 (Man of the Match)
People would like to say that Pontius is now the Dwayne De Rosario-type player now that DeRo is hurt. Hell, even media members badgered Olsen to make the comparison. Olsen said it perfectly when he said that "No one can replace Dwayne, we need Chris to be Chris." Pontius is a dynamic player in his own right, and to make the comparison to De Ro is cheap, easy, and unfair. Pontius isn't the distributor that De Rosario is, but he could become that guy. Until then, let's focus on the awesome display of skill Pontius put on Saturday, netting a goal and adding an assist.
FWD Lionard Pajoy - 3
This may seem like a harsh number, but it really is not. Pajoy offered nothing positive last night and he, understandably, had zero chemistry with Maicon Santos. He didn't hold the ball up well, mostly because anytime the ball was near him he was offside.
FWD Maicon Santos - 5.5
Santos looked rusty, but he was the more impressive of the two forwards. At the end of the day, he is the more talented of the two and it showed. His positional awareness was better, as was his hold up play.
MID Lewis Neal - 7
Many, including myself, questioned the decision to bring Neal on for Boskovic. We were all wrong. Neal scored the game-winning goal after Pontius set him up perfectly.
FWD Hamdi Salihi - 5.5
Salihi got his most extensive run-out in about a month after being an unused sub for three straight matches. Salihi was a mixed bag on the night, but seeing him out there was encouraging.
DEF Robbie Russell - Incomplete
Russell saw his first game action since he was injured at Houston. An encouraging sign to see him out there.
Ben Olsen's Hall of Tradition Video: