D.C. United needed 3 points. It's too early to have called this a must-win game, but it was a necessary game. United made a statement to the league tonight with their 4-1 win over FC Dallas. United without their star Goalkeeper Bill Hamid and uncertainty on the back line held strong and came away with a dominating performance.
After the game, United Coach Ben Olsen was very proud of the team, and said it was "A good win for the home fans." Of course, the adjustments he made at halftime will make fans forget what was a very controversial 1-1 halftime score. Olsen said regardless if FC Dallas first goal was offsides or not, the team got "too cute" after the first goal and needed to execute what they practiced all week -- and they did, scoring three goals in the second half.
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale with 1 being the worst, and 10 being the best. I'll award half points as well.
GK Joe Willis - 9 (Man of the Match)
Listen, I know Nick De Leon was deemed the man of the match, but if Ben Olsen says Willis was the Man of the Match, who am I to disagree? "This game, without Willis, would have been 2-0 early on and would have been much different going forward." Olsen is right, of course, and Willis made three huge saves in the first 20 minutes, and made another key stop in the second half. Willis commanded the back well and stopped what easily could have been 3-4 FC Dallas goals. The goal wasn't on him, it was a one-on-one.
D Robbie Russell - 5.5
Russell didn't have a bad game, but he didn't stand out either. He did well to help shut down Brek Shea when he switched over to the left side after about 10 minutes. Shea was able to get a cross or two in. Overall, it's tough to find a criticism, but it's also tough to find many compliments. Still probably the best defender on the back line.
D Brandon McDonald - 4
McDonald got a yellow in the first half after a rough tackle. It easily could have been a red. He was shaky and was a little up the field when Dudar made his mistake. He did clear a few balls out of the back to redeem this performance, a little.
D Emiliano Dudar - 2.5
I mean, it can't be anything higher. It just can't. That was an inexcusable play. Dudar could have scored all four goals and I likely wouldn't give him more than a five. The goal was disappointing at best, shockingly awful at worst. He looked shaky at times outside of that play.
D Daniel Woolard - 4
Woolard was able to get up the field at times, but Shea got by him early on. Again, like Russell he didn't have a bad game, but unlike Russell, he didn't have to deal with Shea for the majority of the game.
M Danny Cruz - 7.5
Danny Cruz put in a heck of a game today. Oh, Ben Olsen said what about him? Oh that's right Olsen said "Danny [Cruz] is just a pain in the ass. I'd hate to play against him." Cruz did some solid work on both the offensive and defensive end tonight. Cruz got his first goal of the season from his childhood friend Nick DeLeon. He gets the hockey assist on Maicon Santos' second goal.
M Perry Kitchen - 6
Again, I'll defer to Ben Olsen "Perry [Kitchen] I was really proud of tonight, he had a hell of a week. He was dead after 10 minutes." Kitchen, who just returned from the U.S.' failed U-23 Olympic Qualifying bid, returned and went a full 90 minutes and helped control the center of the midfield.
M Nick DeLeon - 8.5
Well, Nick, that's one hell of a way to have your first start at home go, isn't it? A goal and an assist in his first start in front of the home crowd. His goal was the second of the season, and was the eventual game-winner. DeLeon wowed the crowd in the first half with some skill on the ball -- once beating Brek Shea to the end line and then putting in a cross. However, he did the majority of his work in the second half.
F Hamdi Salihi - 3.5
Tough sledding so far for the Albanian International. Olsen said after the game "I thought he [Hamdi Salihi] had his best game." Olsen also mentioned how he's come in and worked hard, and while he has yet to score, he thinks people are overreacting thanks to his great scoring record overseas.
F Dwayne De Rosario - 7.5
De Rosario was the focal point of the offense in the first half. He had a shot from 30 yards out hit the crossbar, and later earned a corner off a deflection. While Santos got the first goal, De Rosario opened up the middle of the field with those two possessions. In the second half, De Rosario rewarded Santos with a pinpoint cross that found him in the center of the box and he headed home for his second goal.
F Maicon Santos - 9
Willis is the man of the match, but Maicon Santos is a very, very close second. Santos had his first two goals as a member of United and added an assist. Santos held the ball well, and Olsen applauded him for that "Santos, if he wants to hold the ball up, he's a big boy and will do it." His first goal was phenomenal, and the second was nothing to sneeze at either.
Branko Boskovic, Stephen King and Chris Pontius - Incomplete
All three came on after the game was out of hand. Boskovic was the only one of the three on before the second yellow.