D.C. United continued their unbeaten streak, as it now stands at six straight games, with a 4-1 win over arch-rival New York Red Bulls. United bounced back from an uninspiring 1-1 draw at home against Montreal on Wednesday. United now sit in second place in the Eastern conference at 12 points (3-2-3), well behind first-place Sporting Kansas City (21 points).
Despite the elements, United's offense took full advantage of the Red Bulls hapless defense. Chris Pontius netted his first career hat-trick. The Party Boy had two first-half goals, and completed his hat-trick in the second half with a wonderful piece of individual skill. The other goal, United's third, was scored by Nick DeLeon, after a lucky no-call on Dwayne De Rosario for a push to setup the goal and a deflection to beat the keeper.
GK Joe Willis - 7.5
If you go back and watch Thierry Henry's goal, you'll see there's almost zero chance Willis had of making that save. There are maybe 10 keepers, if that, that could have stopped that. Willis was a little sloppy in his handling, but he braved the elements and could have easily given up another goal or two.
DEF Daniel Woolard - 6.5
Woolard was solid, but unspectacular. Don't get me wrong, he did nothing wrong, but he didn't stand out. New York didn't spend a lot of time attacking down the wings, so while Woolard didn't stand out, he did a good job covering.
DEF Emiliano Dudar - 6
Dudar had no fault on the goal, but didn't play a flawless game. Dudar failed to step up on two of Henry's bombs from distance, which put pressure on Willis. Dudar also took a shot from midfield, which seems unnecessary -- at best. Dudar was also "credited" with a yellow card for dissent after a Perry Kitchen yellow card. Despite that, Coach Ben Olsen mentioned that this was his best game of the season.
DEF Brandon McDonald - 7.5
Or as I like to call him, Simon Phoenix. McDonald was rock solid tonight. He had a few clearances and did well defending corners. He was calm and collected tonight, and didn't let his emotions get the better of him.
DEF Robbie Russell - 7.5
Russell was phenomenal tonight, he shut down New York's left flank and helped out in the center when he could. On one occasion, Thierry Henry held up Robbie Russell, but Russell made sure to get a foot in the way to deflect Henry's shot out.
MID Perry Kitchen - 6
Kitchen was responsible for the foul that led to New York's only goal, and picked up a yellow to boot. That was a massive error, and on another night when the offense wasn't clicking that could have been even bigger. As it was, the rest of Kitchen's night was very sturdy. Kitchen did well to help shut down the center of the pitch and be the link between the offense and defense.
MID Danny Cruz - 6.5
Cruz easily could have had two goals tonight and an assist. However, he ended the night with blanks in the goal and assist columns. However, he didn't finish with a goose egg in the fouls committed column, where he finished with a team-high four. He had a few reckless tackles, one in particular in the first half where he was lucky not to get a yellow card. Cruz was all over the place on offense and defense, and effort is one thing you could never question about him.
MID Nick DeLeon - 8.5
It is very, very early in the season -- however, I don't think it is too early to say DeLeon is running away with the rookie of the year award. He added another goal tonight (giving him three on the season, plus three assists), it took a lucky bounce, but it went in. DeLeon could have had another, but put a shot in to the side netting.
MID Dwayne De Rosario - 8
I'll let Ben Olsen perfectly describe DeRo's night, "Dwayne doesn’t care. Of course, you always want goals and assists; we all have egos. But ultimately, you’ll see a smile on his face in there. He doesn’t care, he wants to win." DeRo was seeing double-teams all night and did well to track back and get the ball deep, while also trying to set up his teammates. DeRo will score goals, but for now, he's opening up tons of room for his teammates.
FWD Maicon Santos - 7.5
I was prepared to give Santos an 8.5 for his game tonight, however, after watching the video from Henry's free-kick goal -- Santos ducked out of the way of the ball and it went right over him. I don't want to take a free-kick in the face from Thierry Henry either, but I'm also not getting paid to. The way Santos beat three Red Bull defenders to the end line and put in a cross that set up Pontius' second goal was magic.
FWD Chris Pontius - 10 (Man of the Match)
Why did Pontius get a 10? Reason #1. Reason #2. Reason #3. Pontius also could have earned a penalty in the 77th minute when he was taken down in the box. "He still doesn’t know how to play forward though. And that’s a scary thing," said Olsen on Pontius' night. Even Thierry Henry was quick to heap praise on Pontius, saying "[Chris] Pontius is a great player; he did what he had to do." Asked what he thought about that, Pontius just said "wow, that's awesome, he's one of the top players in the world."
MID Stephen King - 5.5
United were still able to attack after DeRo came out for King, but King is not DeRo. The offensive attack was a little disjointed when King was in, but that was also due to both teams winding down for the last twenty minutes.
FWD Hamdi Salihi - 4
He was SO close to getting his first goal in the black-and-red. However, he looked lost out on the pitch. Perry Kitchen played a long ball up to him and he misjudged the ball and ran in the wrong direction. This game encapsulates Salihi's season perfectly. A moment of near-brilliance amidst disappointment.
MID Lewis Neal - INCOMPLETE
He was on the field for three minutes. That was three minutes more than one designated player (Boskovic), and twelve minutes less than the other (Salihi). So there's that.