D.C. United Player Grades Vs. Seattle Sounders: Andy Najar Shines In Return To Lineup

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 4: Andy Najar #14 of D.C. United controls the ball against Patrick Ianni #4 of the Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium on May 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

Sam Chamberlain grades D.C. United's performance after their 2-1 win over Seattle Wednesday night.

It wasn't perfect, and it wasn't always pretty, but D.C. United's 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders Wednesday night at RFK Stadium offered plenty of excitement and arrested United's slide down the Eastern Conference standings. So in that sense, it was just about as much as you could ask for.

On to the ratings:

Starters

Bill Hamid--4/5: Deserved a clean sheet after making a couple of fantastic saves to deny Alvaro Fernandez on apparently certain goals.

Perry Kitchen--4/5: Looked very comfortable at the right back position and was even able to venture forth a couple of times to service Andy Najar in midfield.

Ethan White--3/5: Got better as the game went along, but very nearly made a cataclysmic error in the opening minutes of the game when he dawdled over a clearing attempt and allowed Fredy Montero to swipe the ball off his foot.

Dejan Jakovic--3/5: Would have been given a four if not for his clumsy tackle on Montero which led to him giving away a penalty. Otherwise was very active and quick to back up his counterparts.

Daniel Woolard--3/5: Played the full 90 minutes, and didn't do a whole lot wrong. He was helped, however, by the fact that Seattle played a very narrow 4-1-3-2 formation and didn't test out United on the wings very often.

Andy Najar--4/5: My man of the match, though he didn't have the best start to the evening. He kept trying to cut inside from the right wing in the early going, which played into the hands of Seattle's congestion-oriented defense. But Najar adjusted admirably, and it's no accident that both D.C. United goals came off passes that Najar made to wide areas of the field. 

Chris Pontius--3/5: Showed good skill down the left wing and was a legitimate threat early on in this game. Had to leave early in the second half after picking up a knock, though he gave his assurances that he would be ready for Dallas on Saturday

Dax McCarty--3/5: "We flattened him out," Ben Olsen said in explaining McCarty's improved performance Wednesday night. "We had him play more side-to-side with Clyde [Simms]." Olsen's tweaking worked very well, as McCarty was less of a disruptive influence on United's attack and more focused on simply retaining possession.

Clyde Simms--3/5: Performed his duties just as admirably as McCarty did, though he also came off very late after picking up a knock. He'll need to be examined ahead of Saturday's game to see if he'll be able to go.

Josh Wolff--4/5: Amazing what a player can do when the service is there from midfield. Wolff did a fantastic job of holding the ball up for his strike partner and got the goal his efforts deserved.

Charlie Davies--4/5: Gave a tireless effort up top last night, chasing balls all over the park. Showed great physical strength to shrug off Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to get to Najar's ball and set up Wolff's goal. Could have easily had a hat trick if he hadn't just missed a couple of other dangerous balls through the six-yard area.

Substitutes

Santino Quaranta (on for Pontius, 49th minte)--3/5: Did very well to get the ball forward and drive United's counterattacks after Seattle's goal, though as ever, his service from the wings leaves something to be desired.

Fred (on for Najar, 77th minute)--3/5: Did excellent work to kill the game off by holding the ball up along the left wing. Provided a great closing kick of energy to the team.

Stephen King (on for Simms, 82nd minute)--3/5: Got some much needed first-team action and did his job well.

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