WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 7: Nick DeLeon #18 of D.C. United controls the ball against Zach Scott #20 of the Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium on April 7, 2012 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
Dejan Jakovic and Chris Pontius were stars while the rest of the team struggled to get on track against the Seattle Sounders.
Maybe there's something in the water in the Pacific Northwest. Two weeks after playing a 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps, D.C. United was held at home by the Seattle Sounders in a similarly rugged match. When United midfielder Danny Cruz was asked if Seattle was the most physical team the Black-And-Red had played in 2012, he responded, "Vancouver's right up there."
United learned a hard lesson in 2011 about dropping points at home, only winning four of their 17 matches and it was hard to blame any fans who walked away frustrated that United was unable to duplicate its sparkling performance from March 30's 4-1 win over FC Dallas.
""I think Seattle right now is a better team than Dallas. I will say that," United head coach Ben Olsen said after Saturday's match. "I thought they were pretty charged up physically, they were ready to go. They're coming off a loss [to San Jose], and I think they came in here with a real defensive mentality that they were going to make it tough for us to play - and they did that, but we still had chances."
On to the ratings.
GK Joe Willis--3/5: Didn't have to make any spectacular saves, but did very well when it came to cutting off crosses into the box. Got a last-second assist from the crossbar when Marc Burch's header was denied.
D Robbie Russell--3/5: Quiet night for him. Was subbed out in the 74th minute after picking up a knock on his ankle.
D Dejan Jakovic--4/5: My Man of the Match, though he did receive a soft yellow-card with half-an-hour gone and was very lucky not to be sent off when he slammed the ball down in frustration in the second half after another decision went against him. Those incidents aside, Jakovic (a replacement for the suspended Brandon McDonald, did a beautiful job against proven MLS goalscorer Fredy Montero.
D Daniel Woolard--3/5: Got forward well, but rarely had any luck with his end product.
M Danny Cruz--2/5: Not his best night. Too many giveaways in midfield, and often picked the wrong pass.
M Perry Kitchen--3/5: Like Russell and Woolard, solid at the back, less effective going forward. No complaints here.
M Nick DeLeon--3/5: Showed his usual impressive skill, but was not quite as in tune with the rest of his teammates as against Dallas. At one point in the second half, Dwayne De Rosario gave him the universal sign for "C'mon Rook" (a palms-up shrug) after a mistimed overlapping run.
F Hamdi Salihi--3/5: Had a very good first-half chance that hit the top of the bar from close range and showed flashes of what he can do. Didn't get much help from his midfielders.
F Dwayne De Rosario--3/5: Held his own in a real hammer-and-tongs midfield battle, but anyone who came to see fireworks from him went away disappointed.
F Maicon Santos--2/5: Also suffered from lack of service and his frustration showed.
M Chris Pontius (on for Cruz, 58th minute)--4/5: Brought an immediate spark to United's midfield and had the Black-And-Red's best scoring chance from open play soon after he came on.
M Branko Boskovic (on for Salihi, 72nd minute)--3/5: Didn't get enough minutes to influence the match, which is sort of a problem considering the money he's on.
D Chris Korb (on for Russell, 74th minute)--3/5: Enjoyed a quiet last 15 minutes on the right as D.C. United piled on the pressure at the other end (with the notable exception of Burch's last-ditch effort).